Setting up wireless network on large estate - recommendations on setup, bandwidth and hardware


I have been tasked with setting up a wireless network at my employers large estate. Requirement is that all rooms be able to have wireless access throughout the year and that the network be able to accommodate conference users every two years.

I have attached a file that outlines the estate and the approximate distances to the office. Currently there are two residential Time Warner Road Runner high speed cable internet lines (max 5mbps each) One going to the office #26 and one going to room #15.

The rooms are hardly ever full throughout the year, typically a max 3-5 (10 people) of them are only used at any one time during the year.

However every 2 years a big conference is held on the estate - all rooms are full and people also come from nearby hotels and need internet access to get at emails, etc. The conference usually hosts 70 people but I would say we can safely half that amount for those trying to get on the internet at any one time.

I have phoned Time Warner and we can get a Business (15mbps) Line on the estate and that this could possibly coexist with the current two residential lines. What I am thinking is getting the business line into room #15 (this has to be the permanent main line as it is under contract) and then getting the two current residential lines re-cabled to #42 and #31 or thereabouts (these are month to month contract lines and only firing these up when the conference comes round)

My questions:

1. Do you think the above strategy is any good?
2. Do you think we will have enough available bandwidth to support a max of 35 simultaneous connections?
3. If so how do I mange all 3 seperate connections and pass people off to the next router if one is maxed out?
4. what type of hardware would you reccommend using and where would I place them so the whole estate is lit up?

Am I missing anything? Budget is not really a big issue.......

Many Thanks
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For 15mb use newer standard N router as its covers almost 2-3 times more distance   15mb line enough for 30 people to browse emails. If you will host web conference for 30 people you might have a problem. What is distance from room 15 to room 48 as i imagine you need internet access there too year around?
if its far and there is walls you might need repeaters.
nhaydockAuthor Commented:
Hi Newborn1281,

We will not be hosting a web conference - its just a week long team building conference - people just need to check their emails and do some light internet browsing I imagine. The distance from room 15 to 48 is approx 240ft - there are walls in between and yes internet access would be required in all rooms year round.

Do you have in mind your wireless hardware?

As far as bandwidth, IMHO, you have very good Internet bandwidth. I work in a rural area and the best we have is two - 2 MB business class DSL links linked via a multi-WAN router to somewhat combine the bandwidth.

We have about 80 users with Internet access via this link and most work days. Their Internet access is sporadic throughout the day and to subtract more bandwidth from our little 2 meg pipe we host our email to the tune of  thousands of emails, 90% SPAM, the other link is shared with wireless INternet access for our hotel guests, 120 rooms. We usually only have maybe 20 guest users even when the hotel is full.

We get along very well. I think you will do fine.

The following link here on EE, in which I participated, may help you as you design your WLAN.

By the way, we use D-Link wirless APs and have about 10 inside APs (Access Points) and 4 outside access points.

If I can help further, ask.

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nhaydockAuthor Commented:
Hi Johnjces,

No I havent determined hardware yet. The estate manager is the one who will be looking after the system and his technical expertise is non existant so we will need something fairly reliable and not something that will have to be restarted every couple of days/weeks.

Another thread that discusses some hardware is 

I am not sure if a WLAN controller is overkill. Just looking for reliability and hopefully something to manage distribution between the 3 connections during the conference period - can this be achieved - is this what your multi-WAN router achieves.

As for outside AP's - the conference tent will be located outside - does it make sense to put one of these in it?

Thanks for your help,
You need to look at the overall availability you desire.

I would not put one in the tent but outside somewhere to get a good range in the entire outside area. The D-Link units are water and weather proof etc.

Outdoor units...DWL2700.

Inside units are DWL-3200

We do not have  Cisco type of WLAN controller as for public INternet access I do not feel that such is needed and we  rarely need to do anything with the APs. We et them up once, hooked em up and away we went... more or less.


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nhaydockAuthor Commented:
Hi John,

Any particular reason you went with the above hw? Is this a more reliable business range? What about the new N standard routers - eg or - if I put one of these each at the end of my 3 connections and then access points where the signal doesnt reach ...........

Still not sure how I would manage these though....
These are the reason we went with the D-Link product. Others may dislike D-Link and love Cisco or NetGear etc.

Ease of use
Heavy Duty
Easy to configure
Easy to bridge

IMHO, the 'N' standard is still draft. It has not been officially approved and until it is it is my feeling that one should not venture into it until it is standard.

As far as speed, it sounds like you guys will not be doing any intensive data handling on the WLAN, just INternet access. Our little 2 MB pipe, when I have played with, compared with others big pipes, there just is not that great of, a  difference in speed. Some sites are just slower some are in fact faster. It all seems to average out.

I have nothing at all against faster speed, the N standard or B or G. A never caught on.
As with all wireless, the further you are away or weaker the signal, the slower the data travels.

"The maximum performance for wireless is derived from IEEE Standard 802.11 specifications. Actual performance can vary, including lower wireless network capacity, data throughput rate, range and coverage. Performance depends on many factors, conditions and variables, including distance from the access point, volume of network traffic, building materials and construction, operating system used, mix of wireless products used, interference and other adverse conditions".

I would put inside APs about 80 feet apart with each one wired to a switch.

Outdoor APs can be a couple hundred feet apart again wire each directly to a switch. If you have to bridge the APs, your performance will degrade a bit.

Again, this is my humble opinion and whatever you decide will probably work well. I do not see any need for public internet access to have any kind of a WLAN controller. Set up your AP, plug em in and let em go!

If you need a secure internal wired LAN that needs Internet acces that is pretty easy to come up with.

Last thought, you should get a cheapo AP and set it up somewhere on the campus and walk around with a laptop and see how good/bad things are. Netstumbler (free- Google it) is great for this kind of stuff. This will give you some good ideas on where to put what.

Another last thought... with the placement of our inside APs in the hotel, we have some great access outside in a venue area "out back". So you may not need any exterio type APs. We needed them across the street for an RV park.

Anyway hope this helps.

nhaydockAuthor Commented:
Only one part of the question missing - how do I manage the 3 seperate connections...otherwise great answers
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