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Wireless coverage in a 30,000 ft^2 manufacturing facility

Posted on 2006-06-14
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Last Modified: 2010-04-24
I am trying to come up with the best way get complete wireless coverage inside our facility. Our current setup is as follows:

DSL>Router/Firewall>Server>Switch>Users & WAP>***Magic***<WAP<Switch<Users.

Basically it started as a standard wired ethernet network in the office. Then we had a need to network in some users and machines on the shop floor. Instead of dropping CAT5 everywhere we could, I set up two Linksys WAP54Gs as a wireless bridge. That has been working fine for a while. Now we have the need to add a few laptops into the mix, 2 of the 3 will need to roam the building but still connect to the network. What is the best way to acheive this and still keep the functionality of what is now the wireless bridge? I have tried setting it up so I have one WAP as an "AP" and the other as an "AP Client" and then enabled the wireless cards in the laptops but the coverage is spotty at best. I have seen something about WDS but do not know if it applies to my APs. I also want to keep the network as secure as possible.

Thanks for any help,
Eric
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Question by:esingleton
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Expert Comment

by:public
ID: 16913460
Recommended way is to run cat5 to the APs. You may need multiple APs for complete coverage. Setup with the same ssid, but different channels.
A run of cat5 may be replaced by a pair APs configured as a point to point bridge.
The problem is that only three non overlapping channels are available, and will be used up with too many APs.

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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 16913806
You can't really tell what is best without trying and measuring. I suggest you get netstumbler, then use that on one or more of the notebooks (make sure you get one of the wlan cards which works best with netstumbler) to measure the coverage, and then setup the access points and repeaters according to what you measured.

http://www.stumbler.net/
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Author Comment

by:esingleton
ID: 16914340
I have netstumbler.

Right now my two APs are setup as a point to point bridge. The wireless bridge is what connects the "office" portion of the LAN with the "shop" portion of the LAN. I need to Keep that connection but add wireless capability to the whole shop floor.

Will multiple APs cause problems with a client trying to connect to more than one at the same time?

Public can you elaborate the overlapping channels and too many APs thing?

Thanks,
Eric
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 16914392
You should get access points which you can set to repeater mode. Then you can have as many as you want, and they shouldn't disturb each other, as for the clients they will look like just a single AP.
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Author Comment

by:esingleton
ID: 16914640
The APs I have are Linksys model # WAP54G. They can be set to function as a "Wireless Repeater." However according to their documentation:

 "When set to "Wireless Repeater" mode, this device will only communicate with another Linksys Access Point (WAP54G) and Linksys Wireless-G Router (WRT54G)."

That doesn't sound like the clients will see them as a single AP. My plan is looking like it is going to be using three WAP54G APs, two will be plugged in to the main LAN and serve wireless service to the building. The third will be set-up as a "AP Client" and connect the remote "shop" LAN to the "office" LAN. The laptops will also connect through the two hardwired APs. My questions are now:

Will multiple APs cause problems with a client trying to connect through more than one at the same time?

Public, can you elaborate the overlapping channels and too many APs thing?

Thanks,
Eric
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Accepted Solution

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public earned 500 total points
ID: 16923833
>Will multiple APs cause problems with a client trying to connect through more than one at the same time?

Only if you have dropouts and the client has to reassociate. Otherwise multiple AP are acceptable.
Nonoverlapping channels are 1, 6, 11.
If you use one for the bridge, then only two are available.
APs far enough apart can use the same channel.
This is hard to eveluate without a survey. Indoor wireless coverage is always problematic.

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