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Can I use twoconsumer-grade Wireless Access Points to provide Wireless Internet to about 20 offices?

Posted on 2006-10-23
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Last Modified: 2013-11-30
I am being asked to install wireless access points in my office that will allow one long hallway with about ten offices, a conference room, and a reception area to all have wireless access to the web.  They want it to be unsecured, and not have it touch our internal network (so it wouldn't be used for work purposes, but for visitors, as this area has heavy visitor traffic).

I was about to buy a $300 enterprise WAP, but have had a hard time justifying it, as we are not using any of the special security features.

Because there will probably be a maximum of 20 people on each WAP, would it be a bad idea to buy consumer-grade WAP's?

Also, are there any considerations I should make considering the wireless range will probably overlap a little with another wireless access point on the same network?  (using the same SSID and on the same port on the firewall?)
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Question by:OneSeventeen
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3 Comments
 
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by:megs28
megs28 earned 1000 total points
ID: 17792073
Put one AP at near the end of the hall.  Run an ethernet connection between the two (LAN port - LAN port).  Configure the WAN connection on the first AP, and allow it to act as the DHCP server.  On the second AP (the one without the direct WAN connection) disable DHCP and NAT.  As far as the wireless settings go, use the same SSID and channel on each, and you shouldn't have any problems.  This is what I do for my visitor network, and it works well (however, mine is secured).  I use the 3Com 3CRWDR101A-75 to accomplish this.  If you do go the path of using two routers, make sure the second one supports disabling all firewall, NAT, and DHCP services (some often don't).  Don't waste your time/money on "speed boosting" features, as they're proprietory.  Also, try to convince management that an unsecure network is a bad idea.....maybe play the angle of "the employees can connect to it and waste company time without having their internet usage tracked".  Maybe the receptionist can supply a simple 64-bit WEP key to the vistitors instead of leaving it completely open?
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2hype earned 1000 total points
ID: 17792420
"use the same SSID and channel on each, and you shouldn't have any problems" Use the same SSID but not the same channel.  You will have problems if your channels overlap.  Reccomended channels are 1, 6, and 11.  By using the same SSID the users will be able to roam without having to reconnect to the next AP if they are moving around.

I think you could get by with consumer WAP's.  I would mabey suggest purchasing something in the small buisness class.  The consumer AP's can sometimes be flakey.

Also ensure you seperate you LAN and these AP's.  Place your AP's on the outside of your firewall.  Or depending on your firewall setup a diffrent network that cannont access your internal lan.

As to where to place the AP's  I would try to place them with a little bit of overlapping, ensure you do not use more than you need to.  Download a program like netstumbler to figure out your network coverage and signal strenght.  Do a walk around to enusure that the coverage is good.
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by:OneSeventeen
ID: 17792670
Thanks!

Both responses helped a lot!

We have 2 major networks at work, one for the internet, the other for the internet and internal LAN.  You can't even check company mail on our wireless.  (Those that have Outlook Web Access have to be on the LAN or at home, but not on the wireless)
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