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Author Topic: Setting up WiFi for a small hotel-like building
Snaggy

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Icon 5 posted July 15, 2006 14:31      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There is a charitable lodge in a nearby community, and I'm thinking about donating some WiFi equipment to it. They currently have high speed internet, but no WiFi, so the guests have to come down to an Internet room to use the computers. Most of the guests have cancer-related illnesses, so I thought the WiFi access might be handy for those who don't feel like, or can't easily leave their room.

I haven't seen the building yet, but I've read there are about 30 rooms. Has anyone ever set up a building for WiFi, and do you have any specific advice as to equipment? I'm hoping to get off-the-shelf stuff, and devices that they can maintain easily in case they need to reconfigure after I am gone.

So, is there a particular wireless router and perhaps repeaters you would recommend?

Thanks in advance.

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted July 15, 2006 14:40      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I really like my linksys WAP54G as an access point. It's been rock solid reliable for about 2 years now.
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Luke Skywalker
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Icon 1 posted July 15, 2006 16:12      Profile for Luke Skywalker     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I know on campus, they mostly put one router per large room, this being a classroom to fit 50 ppl. Somtimes 2 for large lecture rooms, or high computer-use rooms (eg computer labs). Look up specs for range and pwr, and judge how many ppl per router will be used to not affect bandwidth.

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted July 15, 2006 16:34      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Watch out for conflicting channels. I don't know anything about it, I'm afraid, but I've heard this problem mentioned.
Posts: 1085 | From: London, UK (Powys, UK in hols) | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted July 15, 2006 22:16      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you don't know anything about it, why post a comment? The conflicting channels is an obvious problem. If you have to cover an area large enough to require more than one access point, then you should set them up on different channels. But anyone who has ever set up a home network knows that - when everyone on the block buys the same brand of device, they all end up on the same channel by default.
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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted July 15, 2006 23:46      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quantumfluff,

It is a sort of a problem...

Yes too many devices that are not alike will cause a loss of signal. Accepted use is 1 6 and 11. and try to keep each from overlapping.

That said, there are some that will create a "cell" using the same channel.

There are some Cisco WAP's that have auto channel switching to keep them from creating interference.

--------------------
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Has one of us confessed?
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maximile

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Icon 1 posted July 16, 2006 05:31      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by quantumfluff:
If you don't know anything about it, why post a comment? The conflicting channels is an obvious problem.

Ouch... I was just trying to be helpful. I didn't realise that it was an obvious problem. I just knew that it causes problems on campus here, and that while I can't provide details of how to avoid it, I could at least alert Snaggy to the problem in case he was unaware of it.
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Geordie

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Icon 1 posted July 16, 2006 08:29      Profile for Geordie     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CommanderShroom:
Yes too many devices that are not alike will cause a loss of signal. Accepted use is 1 6 and 11. and try to keep each from overlapping.

That said, there are some that will create a "cell" using the same channel.

There are some Cisco WAP's that have auto channel switching to keep them from creating interference.

I have never had much luck with the Cisco auto channel switching (the non-predicatable nature of the distribution after a power failure really sucks for example).

Not that it matters in a deployment the size that Snaggy is talking about, but the best thing I have found is to use a repeating grid of the following channels:
code:
10  08  11  07
05 01 04 02
11 07 10 08
04 02 05 01

If you are deploying to multiple floors in a building I've found that the best bet is to just try to intuit how to modify the grid when you overlay them.

A lot of this depends upon what you see in a site survey though. You need to start with one access point and then take some signal measurements in a few areas. That will tell you what kind of density you need and where to position the units. Different construction materials can make a huge difference. For example in my 230 year old stone house, I can barely get a signal 30 feet away from my primary access point.

Generally unless you absolutely must use them, I recommend staying away from repeaters since each one more than halves the connection speed (and it is cumulative).

Unfortunately I can't suggest any specific hardware, because most of the deployments I have done were with enterprise class systems (except for the client who on the first day of the project presented me with 700 Apple Airports...). Personally I have gone through quite a few access points, and I have been reasonably happy with the linksys in the low to medium price point. On the other hand when a power surge took out my last one, I used the which one is cheapest after rebate method. The resulting $20 Netgear has been fine too.

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Geordie

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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted July 16, 2006 17:10      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I haven't had any luck with the Ciscos either. But honestly thought it had more to do with the rest of our topology, than the WAP's themselves.

Unfortunately it appears that proper WiFi is still a bit of an IT voodoo trick. There are more ways to do a job than there are people in the field.

But draw out the hotel, figure out what channels can go where without overlap. And just about any major company router *should* be able to do the job.

--------------------
Does he know our big secret?
Has one of us confessed?
'Bout the wires circuits and motors
Buried in our chest

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 16, 2006 18:11      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you're serious and want to do the right thing, get some kind of company rep. involved. I'm sure they wouldn't mind a bit of good PR! Setting up WiFi beyond a handful of points is the kind of thing that whole IT depts handle, not individuals. Personally, I do like the professional APs for the management abilities. I think I may go with HP 420s at some point, even though I kind of like the Cisco 1100 I've been playing with. (BTW, do keep in mind that points like these aren't the cheap stuff you may be familiar with...we're talking $400 per, not $40 per.)

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