Using multiple wireless access points in a building

I have 3 access points and want users to be able to simply come into he office and connect to the network. The AP's have the same SSID, but work on different channels (1,2 and 9). The problem is, it seems very flaky, sometimes the clients connect, mostly they don't. When I use different SSIDs on each AP, the clients connect fine.

What am I missing?
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crescendoAsked:
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pseudocyberConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Channels 1 and 2 overlap.  Seperate the AP's by at least 1 channel.  Your setup would be better on channels 1, 5, and 11.
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beaconlightboyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Many vendors actually recommend a 5 channel gap.  use 1,5, and 11.  also for better performance and ease of use, give them the same ssid and configure the waps for bridging so that your clients will not drop between waps if they move, but will remain connected without having to renew ip's.  i you have all your waps configured independently and you use dhcp, then your computers will attempt to renew their ip everytime they connect to the next wap.  quite annoying!
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119supportCommented:
Wouldn't a five channel gap be 1,6,11?

and beacon is absoltuely right about the "annoying" part.  First time I used multiple ap's I ran into the same problem...ARGH..hehe

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beaconlightboyCommented:
Hehe, yeah.. i should learn how to add.  that will teach me to multi-task.. bad network admin.. bad..
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119supportCommented:
i wish addition was my only problem....did you catch my spelling of "absolutely"?  haha

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crescendoAuthor Commented:
Hi guys, thanks for the answers. I have some supplementary questions.

Does the 5-channel gap only apply to each SSID? The company downstairs are using channel 11, so it's difficult to get a clear gap. If I use 12, will it interfere with them, or them with us?

With bridging, do the APs have to be able to 'see' each other at all times? The office is in a 400-year old building with walls two feet thick and the signals are variable, hence the need for three APs.

Also, regarding DHCP, we provide DHCP to the wired network from our domain controller. When I enable DHCP on the AP/routers, the wired PCs pick up addresses from the APs, and I run out of addresses. If I disable DHCP server on the APs, will they forward the DHCP requests to the wired network?
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crescendoAuthor Commented:
OK, I tried some of your suggestions, and used the same SSID on all APs, but used channels 1, 6 and 12. I'm sat next to the channel 12 AP, but for some reason my PC connects to the channel 1 AP, with low signal strength and poor speed. Why not use the nearest and strongest?

I answered the question about DHCP myself by trying it. It does use the wired DHCP server OK.

I can't easily use bridging as one of the APs doesn't seem to support it. It's a Linksys WRT54G.
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pseudocyberCommented:
I've got three Linksys WRT54G routers set up on a test network.  Only one of them is a DHCP server, the other two are plugged into the LAN through their LAN ports, not their WAN port.  I'm running channels 1, 3, and 6.  No problems.  It depends on the wireless ... driver... how well it works really.  I've seem Microsoft's, which I don't like, IBM's, which is OK, and Linksys' which is the better of the bunch.  It should switch from the low to the high, if they're the same SSID.  Make sure the SSID you're looking for is "ANY".
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beaconlightboyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
To answer your questions.  The SSID's don't need to be the same (at least not for my netgears) , but it is recommended.  It's also recommended to keep your keys the same.  The key to bridging is that all the devices must support it and they all must see each other.  Bridging requires the waps to see each other, and you normally list all the mac addresses of the waps you want a given wap to communicate with in its bridging setup.  so if i have 3 waps, a,b, and c.  then c has a and b's wap mac programmed into it and like wise for the others.  Also be sure that client association is turned on.  If it's not then the waps will not communicate with clients.  If there is a wireless network below you, this will cause you problems.  the best solution i've found for that is to remove waps and purchase a booster or more powerful antenna for a single wap and that should cover your entire building.  a 12dB wap can go pretty far given your building construction.  just a thought.
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crescendoAuthor Commented:
Thanks, guys. It's working fine now.
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pseudocyberCommented:
Thanks! :)  Glad it's working for you.
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beaconlightboyCommented:
great!
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