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How to set up a basic wifi network.

Posted on 2005-04-27
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-24
I needed some help regarding wireless implementation at a small site. I am doing some voluntary work for the library of my town. They have run out of network jacks and have to deploy new computers.  I suggested wireless to them and they want me to do it fro them. Here is what they have:
T1-------Cisco 1600 Router-------3Com Hubs (2 at each floor)----------Desktop Computers

I need help in putting in an Access Point into this network and buying external Wifi cards for the new computer. Can you recommend some cheap brands and where to throw in the Access Points? They have 3 floors and I think we need 3 AP’s.  Can I just take 3 cables out of the hub at each floor and plug into each AP?  Is that it or do I need to do more?  I don’t want to buy something unless I am sure, hence the email. Do the AP’s need to talk to each other? Anything else I should worry about?

Does anything change if going forward they replace hubs with switches?? Also, I need the max possible speed and range in the wifi that I need help with. Each floor is 100 feet long and 60 feet wide with lots of rooms.

Question by:net-geek
LVL 24

Accepted Solution

purplepomegranite earned 200 total points
ID: 13881430
A cheap but adequate access point is the Netgear 602 (http://www.netgear.co.uk/home_wireless_access_points.php).  The business version of this is the 302 - it depends what budget you have.  To be honest, I think you'll find the 602 will meet your needs.

I would start with your assumption of one AP per floor.  If you need more you can add them later - and the 602s support bridging, so if you do need to extend the coverage without putting in any more wires you'll be ok here (though be wary of this - you reduce your available bandwidth significantly for each wireless bridge you put in place).

Each AP will need to be plugged into a hub.  You would then need to configure the wireless (though if it is a public location you may not need encryption - you could even offer a wireless hotspot service!!).

You will have no problem if the hubs are later replaced with switches.  The maximum ratified speed at the moment is 802.11g, which the 602s support.  If you need to extend the coverage, take a look at Netgear's antennae (http://www.netgear.co.uk/home_wireless_antenna.php).  I have one location with just one Netgear 302, connected to two Netgear 24O5 antennae, and the coverage is superb (covers an entire primary school which consists of four classrooms and a few other rooms).

Author Comment

ID: 13881941
Thanks, this is exactly what I am looking for.  Can you answer the following please?
1. What is the differance between a Wireless AP that I am talking about and a wireless router? Are they the same? I thought router would act as a DHCP and AP won't.
2. The antenna you suggested basically catches the signal from the AP and throws it further. Is it right? If so, does it bring down the signal strength? What are the disadvantages?

Expert Comment

ID: 13882018
A wireless router is a wireless AP and Router all in one box and more common in home networks attached to broadband networks (DSL or Cable) and yes a Wireless Router will use dhcp on the outside interface to get IP address from the Internet provider and then it will dhcp addresses out to the pc's on the lan and almost always on a private address space such as 192.168.1.x

 A Wireless AP (access point) is what you most likely want to go with and if your looking to DHCP addresses to the wireless clients- you should configure the 1600 router  to do that since the network is flat (appears to be cascaded hubs).

http://www.linksys.com/products/group.asp?grid=33&scid=35  might help clarify the differences and options available.


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