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Midsize home network, is this the best configuration for 8 wifi access poin

By rj08 ·
Hello,
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

I am building a small business-home network (with a high-speed cable modem connection, and 8 wifi access points). I have one static external ip, in order to do remote maintenance and troubleshooting to the network; and I have basic wep security for the wifi access points.

Basically I want/plan to have a router connecting to the outside internet, then the eight wifi access point connecting to this router and receiving dhcp ip from parent router.
I disabled lan dhcp on the wifi access points, and enabled dhcp on the belkin backbone router. I gave static lan IPs to the access points. I have one dedicated pc connected to the belkin router to automatedly troubleshoot the network and refresh wifi access point when needed.
Is this a good configuration for general internet usage?


In my trial run, with two wifi access points, (linksys and netgear) connecting to a belkin router, I get some network instability.
-2 questions
1--Sometimes, I am unable to log into the google/yahoo website, and I have to try several page refresh of the site to complete the page load (other times I am completely unable to load up the website, even though I am able to successfully ping yahoo, at this time, I am having at least 25% ping packet loss). Is this DNS info getting confused? What could be the cause?

-2--I am writing scripts that does some trouble shooting and simulates logging into the router and refresh the router. But I am interested in automating network command line tracert /ping/pathping etc. But I am not sure of the command syntax to issue a command line, that checks connection to the outside internet and arbitrarily choose the gateway in between. For example, when I have some pack loss, I would like to automatedly check internet connectivity to yahoo, then from main troubleshoot pc (the one connected belkin router), try ping routing to yahoo from each access point router. Do you know some of the complex command line syntax to do this?

Please feel free to offer any extra observation. Is pretty late in the night, I hope my words weren't to jumbled up. Thanks for your help.
-rj

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All Answers

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I think you'll find

by ComputerCookie In reply to Midsize home network, is ...

that the limit of 10 (ten) nodes on a workgroup means what it says.

Either remove one of the PC's or obtain a modem/wifi router to remove at least one of the nodes, you don't mention printers and you may still have to ensure one PC is shutdown to ensurer you get an IP for your remote session.

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best network practice, with 8 wifi access point?

by rj08 In reply to I think you'll find

thanks for response. also, the access points are connected to the belkin router with cable. also, no network printer or filesharing is involved/required since the network services an apartment building and free wifi for basic browsing.
--tell me more... i didn't configure a workgroup, is this one of my options or a required setting?
--i intend on the belkin (parent) router to dish out up to 253 ip address using 255.255.255.0 subnet and basic ips 192.168.1.x? would this configuration suffice, or should i prefer the approach 10.0.0.1?
--your help is appreciated.
--rj08

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Eight Access Points????

by robo_dev In reply to Midsize home network, is ...

So your house is approximately 45,000 square feet??

There are three non-overlapping channels with 802.11b or g (1, 6, and 11).

Having too many access points that are within range of each other will create significant interference issues and result in almost unusable throughput.

The effective range of an access point is typically enough to provide coverage for a standard two-story plus-basement house. This can vary a bit depending on the brand of equipment and what sort of antenna is being used.

If the structure were very large, or had lots of obstacles like elevators or lots of steel structure, then it might be appropriate to have a second or third AP, on another non-overlapping channel. So one AP would be on channel 1, a second one on channel 6, and third one on channel 11.

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using the european channels

by rj08 In reply to Eight Access Points????

currently, the production environment with 8 access points, includes the European channels (other than 1,6,11) are being used (some advance frequency adjustment were done for these channels).

the regular US wifi client adapters shouldn't have a problem using the channels...right?


but, the test environment (that I originally mentioned, a belkin router, and two wifi access point, netgear and linksys) with default channels 6, 11, has unreliability issues; it is fixed after I reboot the access points; but reoccurs after a couple hours of internet surfing.

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wifi health exposure

by i.imail1234 In reply to Eight Access Points????

Just wondering, I can't seem to find best practice for
defining or limiting wifi health hazards. Basically, what
transmit power is decidedly harmful to human health? I
often read of precautions about burning out the wifi box
but that's it? I am concerned about having too many wifi
box in too small proximity. I know the basic, 30 meters
(90 feet) for b/g protocol; but, if 2 access points exist at
same location, on channel 1 and 6, and but near humans,
will it be bad for health condition.
lastly, dd-wrt version 24 changed transmit power to
70mw from version 23, 28mw, is this safe?
any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance.
-rj08

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Access Points or Routers?

by robo_dev In reply to Midsize home network, is ...

If you are using a Wireless router as an AP, make sure that the uplink for these devices is a LAN port on the device, not the WAN port.

A wireless router is not the same as an AP.

If you were to use the WAN port, then you're introducing another router into the equation which is not needed. You're creating issues with NAT, DNS forwarding, etc etc.

An Access Point is a mac-layer bridge...a pure layer2 device like a hub or a switch.
The device IP address is only needed for configuration.

You can operate a wireless router as an AP by disabling DHCP AND using one of it's LAN ports to connect it to your router.

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how best to troubleshoot root cause, w router / access point configuration

by rj08 In reply to Access Points or Routers?

the test environment (that I originally mentioned, a belkin router, and two wifi access point, netgear and linksys) with default channels 6, 11, are wifi access points (utilizing lan port).

the production environment, are eight wireless routers, using the wan port.

in either case, how best to pinpoint the connectivity issues?

also, would fixes to either environment, include adding statics routes?
thanks for your help.

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Assuming that your current design is using a flat network

by robo_dev In reply to how best to troubleshoot ...

Then your configuration should be simple and stable. APs are mac-layer bridges, so static routes are not required.

Connectivity issues tend to be things like workstations having 802.1x enabled, the ports on the APs mis-negotiating with the switch (connecting at 100/half duplex instead of 100/full) or other issues such as wlan adapters or APs hunting back and forth between 802.11b and 802.11g. Don't rule out interference from bluetooth, 2.4ghz phones, or the neighbor's wifi.

Having eight wifi routers on the network is a recipe for a non-functional network. With the routers in there you are adding a hop at best and possibly adding a NAT step at the worst

The routers are designed to work as firewalls, and they do not have DHCP forwarders, especially not ones that would allow a WAN dhcp server to give addresses to LAN clients.

European channel standards will give you one more non-overlapping channel, but that would only make four APs practical, unless this is an enormous structure with more than 1000 feet between APs on overlapping channels.

With a small network, whether it's wired or wireless, it should be as flat as possible.

Soho wireless routers do not work well as lan-to-lan routers. They cannot work as DHCP forwarders, typically do a marginal job as a DNS forwarder, and typically cannot support static routes.

Static routes do not help because you have to contend with DHCP, which is broadcast based and can only work properly on a flat network with a single broadcast domain. And unless your workstations are all UNIX based, Microsoft networking becomes horribly complex if you start splitting workgroups across mutliple subnets.

If you really need to segment your network into different LANs, then you would need to do that with a wired ethernet switch that supports VLANs and also supports features like DHCP relay and so forth. From a cost and complexity standpoint, that does not make any sense.

I apologize if I sound terse, but my job for more than four years was designing and deploying wlan infrastructure in offices, warehouses, and factories....

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thanks for input. remainning: many webpage reload before page finally loads

by rj08 In reply to Assuming that your curren ...

Thanks for responses.
yes it is a flat network, if a flat network means, one lan gateway has the same subnet with all the lan IPs for the whole network.

troubleshooting:
I wrote a scripts doing pinging of www.yahoo.com and the gateway 192.168.1.10. They both would return successfully, but browsing websites were impossible.

Finally, the issues is turning out to be linked to ip forwarding and triggering. I enabled and configured port forwarding and triggering on the netgear router and included http/ftp/etc.. ports; and now I am getting better results. Now the website browsing can get corrected after I reload the browser. But, some browsers don't respond fully, (on mac leopard) firefox, safari works, but ie5.2 doesn't pull up www.msn.com. On win xp, firefox requires over 4 reloads and in the span of 5 minutes, before the site fully loads (mind you, not speed issue, since the page improperly loads, i.e., page fully loads but empty).

problems that remain (for my test environment);
1, to fix it so that the page loads up on first try; do i have to do more port forwarding?
2, configure linksys access point for ip forwarding/triggering, (linksys is more complicated than negear); any advanced warning on the linksys advance routing configuration?
3, pick up a good lan-to-lan router, i have eyed linksys 4 port gigabit non-wifi router, from which, the wifi access points will receive dhcp stuff. this is soho hardware, hopefully, if you could advice of a better mid-end quality...let me know.

4, how best should i collect the health of the production network (8 access points). (i have logs of enabled on the access points but what else could i do?)
thanks for your help.
5, how do i troubleshoot DNS forwarding issues in either the test/development environment?
-rj08

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