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Limitations of wireless

By ltheodoru ·
My experience with wireless is that it is best for small environments and applications such as Web browsing and email. As the network manager for a school system, I need to come up with arguments for our building renovations committee for why replacing planned wired network drops with wireless is not acceptable. The main database app requires 100 mbps as a minimum requirement for attendance, grades, etc. We have one wireless business classroom and the students have to work on Access databases on their local hard drives instead of the server. The state does not recommend using wireless for doing on line testing. Do you have any other limitations?

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Not necessarily

by JamesRL In reply to Limitations of wireless

I will play Devil's advocate here but bear with me.

No database requires a certain bandwidth. Only experience has shown that a certain bandwidth is needed given the number of users and the nature of the applications. Certain before 100mbps nets were common, we had large scale applications on 1/10th of that bandwidth. If your wireless business classroom can't run the access app via wireless, it could be the number of users on one access point, rather than the base technology, that is the problem.

I am less than comfortable about bridging long distances for a business application, but its quite possible to build a hybrid network where you use Cat 5 wire to bring wireless access points into the classroom and use wireless cards on the students workstations to communicate to the access point. You may need more than one access point to accomodate the number of students in each class.

You obviously want to rule out wireless in some electrically noisy environments like machine shops or beside classrooms where they teach arc welding.

James

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I just recently went through this with a College.

by faradhi In reply to Limitations of wireless

When we ran the numbers about 9 months ago, It was actually cheaper to run the lines over wireless. This is because:
A)You still have to run cable to the Access Point, B)Security is still problematic at best.
C)Management systems are expensive. You will need a system so that you can make changes without accessing each individual access point.
D)To get the speed that was acceptable, we would need a large number of access points.

I opposed the use of wireless on the administration network. However I have found that it is easier to say "Sure I can do that, It will cost $XXX,XXX." and let them say no then opposing it from the beginning. I think that if you run the numbers that the cost will all the arguing you need.

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VPN client

by Andrew06 In reply to I just recently went thro ...

If you setup the wireless access points with passwords and leave the WEP/WPA-PSK options as none, so its basically open, you could then require that each laptop needs a suitable VPN client to be authorised through the domain controller.

If you covered the school with access points running off each switch or hub, then you could provide access to any student with that VPN Client and not have to worry about security.

That would then improve security and they couldn't access the network without the VPN client

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On the subject of databases

by ltheodoru In reply to VPN client

Yes, the minimum requirement for our student database is 100 mbps. Not only does it state it in the documentation, but I have seen it run on 10 mbps. You could go to lunch while the Foxpro tables are being loaded. The teachers have a 10 minute home room and need the database to load quickly so they can do attendance.

On the subject of running numbers, that would work. If I could show that in order to meet requirements it would be just as costly to put in wireless as it would be to hardwire, then I could make a good case for not doing it. Of course, we have always planned to put in enough wireless access points to make it available throughout the school, but it was never intended to replace the hard wiring.

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