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Large public wifi hotspot deployment

Posted on 2010-09-20
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Can you please advise on hardware and design for a large hotspot deployment.

This will be for about 100 two bedroom apartments and is over a large area about 10 anchors of land.

One side of the complex has a strech of about 600 feet of apartments and the other side has about 1200 feet strech.

Please advise on economical solutions something decent and reletively secure. I like the idea of seperate vlans for every client.

Thanks
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Question by:beatified
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rdmustang earned 500 total points
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For an economical solution check out 3rd-party firmware solutions such as dd-wrt (http://www.dd-wrt.com).

3rd party firmware support a large range of wireless APs.
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by:RikeR
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I'll see if I can provide you with some hardware example later on.
Regarding your Vlan set-up i will advise to use one vlan and restrict clients to communicate with eachother. This can be done by either a layer 2 restriction or some sort of proprietary protocol this way your network is much more managable and does not restrict to 4096, which is the max. No of Vlans
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by:beatified
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rdmustang you again thanks for helping out on my issues,

I have just recently started working with dd-wrt and love it so far had a heck of a time getting a router flashed last night but finally got it.

Can I use a bunch of decent routers with dd-wrt on them. To begin with we would need like 20 routers because of the layout. I know I could easily create a few vlans on each router.

I guess my biggest concern is being able to handle the through put on the backend of things. If I have 20 routers connected to one internet connection I am concerned about the through put of my first router. I dont know if it will be able to handle 200 or so clients (shouldn't be that high but thats worst case).
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by:beatified
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RikeR,
If you have other suggestion for hardware and things please chime in when you get a chance I would be grateful for the added perspective.
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by:rdmustang
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For dd-wrt hardware, Buffalo is typically the preferred solution.

As far as bandwidth there are two issues:
 1. Number of users per router
 2. Bandwidth from ISP

#1 you can help by adding additional routers, staggering channels for adjacent routers (typically channels 1,6,11).

#2 is up to the ISP you can contract with.

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by:beatified
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Do you know why the buffalo's are a prefered router? Is there something there better at? I currently have two routers a wrt54g and a Linksys E3000. I like the E3000 because it has a lot of memory and is dual band and N.

Would any of the Buffalo's have dual band and N? Or is there something that makes the Buffalo a better choice.
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by:RikeR
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Hi,

First off you should start by setting your requirements for the system. Relevant question you might ask yourself are:
* Where do I need coverage?
* Which 802.11 technology I need to support?
* Which kind of accounts do I want to sell?
* How many concurrent users can I expect?
* What bandwidth do I need to serve a minimum amount of users?
* How am I going to bill customers?
* How am I going to prevent abuse/misuse?
* Do am I need to comply with any lawfull interception?
* How do I separate users from management traffic?

To help answering some questions:
* Coverage: use Ekahau's heatmapper and a couple of AP's to determine the locations of your AP's. http://www.ekahau.com/products/heatmapper/overview.html
* If you support 802.11b & g you should be able to serve most clients
* You could have basic account with limited bandwidth and http&https only and premium with no limitation
* Based on your description of the site I would guess max. 20 concurrent users.
* A 4mbps internet connection will do
* your call
* your call
* your call
* will explain later on.

The technology:
ex-colubris now HP/ProCurve has excellent devices for these type of network. You can use the MSM-310 as an accesspoint, which is a single radio 802.11a/b/g ap and rock-solid reliable. Of course you need to have a device to provide access and keep track of usage. This then can be an MSM-313 access controller. The access controller will serve the login page (captive portal), keep track of usage, keep track of billing record, directly connect to billing systems like authorize.net, and many more features.

This hardware is used widely in small to large deployment.

http://cdn.procurve.com/training/Manuals/MSM3x3-DG-Jul10-5998-0453.pdf
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by:beatified
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Is per client bandwidth throttleing a possiblilty? Hopefully hardware based throttleing.
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by:RikeR
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Hi,

Bandwidth trotteling can be done by setting default user data rates (up- and downloads), but alternatively if you use an Radius as a back-end you can set bandwidth attributes as Radius attributes. Most Radius implementations will support this.
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by:beatified
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I hate to say it but max number of clients would probably be some where around 150 to 200.
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by:RikeR
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Hi,

The msm313 is limited to 100 concurrent sessions.

Just out of curiosity: how will 100 rooms create 150~200 users?
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by:beatified
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no 100 apartments not rooms each apartment has 2 bedrooms and an average or 3 tennants.
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by:RikeR
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Hi,

You can then use the MSM760, which provides the same service for 1000 users. Or stack two MSM313's.
There is a MSM730, but I can't find the details for it. I think it will be end-of-life soon
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by:RikeR
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Just another note: choose a hardware vendor with some decent support options. There will be a day when the systems fails and getting the right support is critical at these moments
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by:mingano
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FYI - my personal preferred wireless hardware provider is Engenius Tech (http://www.engeniustech.com/).  Hands down, no questions, no hesitation.  For wireless access points I have purchased 5 or 6 ECB3500 units and they work flawlessly.  They have 7 operating modes and support multiple SSIDs.  They also work with power over ethernet which makes installation a breeze (you don't have to install electric lines!  Yippee!)

dd-wrt has been used successfully on the ECB3500s but I've never had a need.
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