General discussion


Hot Spot

By bratbuster ·
Hello, I am thinking about changing equipment at one site where we are using multiple Wireless access points. Using the onboard routers of the wireless routers has proven to be problematic. So I want to use the wireless routers as AP only. Seems that the high volume of traffic is taking the built-in routers down. There may be as many as 50 users on a system. More likely 20 to 30 at a time. I think streaming and just the fact that so many people are using we enabled phone, ipods and a host of other devices is proving to be a bit much. This is a public site and we have five access points. One of which is purely office function. I was looking at adding a RV042 as the router for one possible two access points. We do have five static IP's to work with. Four for the public use. I like the idea of load balancing. I was also looking at RVS4000. Not sure which one of these units would better handle the High Volume use. Restarts with existing equipment are a problem. I did purchase an ASA 5505 last year. Just purchased a book to learn this unit............Thought that it might be better used in the office environment. If I could route all the static IP's through the ASA without Giving up security for the office and allow each Static IP through this on its on pool...that might be another option. This site has limited funds so a stack of larger routers or Appliances at this time is not an option. Need your advice.

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General advice

by robo_dev In reply to Hot Spot

First of all, if you want a stable and fast WLAN environment, my advice would be to look at Cisco APs. These are very full-featured, rock-solid reliable, and have lots of capabilities you may not have considered (POE power over ethernet, built in Authentication Server, etc). Even at home I have a Cisco AP1231 and an old AP350.

Part of what you are describing is a simple multiple VLAN wired network, which you could do with a Cisco switch, and extend the VLANs into the WLAN as well.

I am not a sales rep for Cisco, I just have 'been there, done that'. Cisco gear has very robust management and monitoring capability, so when things go wrong, you can figure it out. for example, you can actually do packet-capture within a Cisco Access Point. If there is a difficult authentication issue, you can solve it by looking at a packet trace.

The more recent trend are 'WLAN controllers' which allow true centrally-managed and controlled Access Points. Instead of making each AP a complete web-server and configurable device, it becomes a 'dumb interface' and all the heavy lifting is done by the WLAN controller in the wiring closet (which also supplies POE) Adding more APs is easier than adding smoke detectors.

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Thank you

by bratbuster In reply to General advice

Thank you,
Makes sense. That???s kind of the way I was headed with AP's. It???s a very harsh environment because there are allot of trees. It???s been a project just getting enough signal throughout the park. Now I need stability.

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Looks Great

by bratbuster In reply to General advice

But at this time its way beyond being an option due to price. That???s why I was wondering if having and separate router would at least handle the traffic better on offload some of the work from the self contained wireless routers to possible stabilize things.

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Don't forget that WLANs are mac-layer bridges

by robo_dev In reply to Looks Great

My guess is that the speed issues are not the wired LAN, but have more to do with the WLAN. Remember the WLAN is like using a hub. Each user is fighting for a share of the same bandwidth on the single WiFi radio in the AP or router.

For all intents and purposes, when you start getting more than ten users per AP, the pattern is full with respect to bandwidth. You need to add more Access Points and, most importantly, they need to work together both from a network standpoint and a Wireless standpoint.

I do not work for Cisco, I swear, but.... a couple of things that really help with some of the 'enterprise grade' APs, is that they do things like broadcast rate limiting and radio frequency coordination. These two features are very important, since WLAN bandwidth is very limited, and you waste it by forwarding a bunch of broadcast traffic.

Frequency coordination: remember that most WLAN routers and APs all come from the factory set to channel 6, the most busy channel, so if you add more APs, set them to channel 1 and channel 11, which are non-overlapping channels. The automatic 'Frequency Coordination' feature does the same works by having the AP search for the least congested channel when it boots up, thereby automatically setting the radio to a clear channel.

I would use a program like WireShark to do some analysis to see where most of the traffic is.

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I hear what you are saying.....

by bratbuster In reply to Don't forget that WLANs a ...

I have manually set all the radios to different channels to keep from overlapping in the past.
Really 10 users per AP....
Thanks for the link I downloaded and ran Wireshark...reminds me abit of PRTG Network monitor...but doesn't slow my pc to a crawl....
I just noticed that there are new files at the bountiful website allowing me to move from vxworks to linux....would be nice to have staple AP's....
Not sure if thats going to help, but they put them there for a reason I would suspect.
I have six at one site alone.
Because of the fact I can't run wires, I have another four 02 storms used for wireless bridging only.
I tried repeating and that has seemed to be somewhat of a nightmare.
I really appreciate your advice and have been looking at alot of cisco product. Going to have to learn CL ....
Thanks again...

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