Multiple Access Point wireless network design/recomendations

Posted on 2011-02-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Can anyone reccomend a solution that they have been using  (make, model number, etc..) to provide wireless internet to an existing wired network. I need to add wireless internet to my boss's residence and have been having issues with a single AP providing enough coverage for the entire main floor. it is about 2500 feet but with tons of walls and mirrors and shiny hardwood floors etc. I have existing ethernet on each end of the floor and would like to purchase a pair of AP's and configure them to provide seamless wireless coverage.  My question is can anyone reccomend a reliable solution that will allow the AP's to provide wireless, but also allow the existing wired router to provide DHCP to any wireless clients that connect to the AP's?
Question by:mtpit
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Assisted Solution

progint earned 248 total points
ID: 34954343
We do this all the time for large homes like this.  Some will recommend WLC, however, I beleive this is overkill.  We use E3000/E4200 Routers (which provide dhcp), and complete site surveys for wap placement.  Because we are usually involved in the TRIM phase of things, we also have lan connections to the survey result areas, so we can install WAPs where needed (for consumer level we us WAP610n), and these provide extensive coverage despite architecture.  Just for the case you discussing for instance we have a client with at 5,000 sq feet home, 3 floors, extensive wood and metal beams, and we have 1 E3000, and 6 WAP610n - vs WLC 2100 and 6 waps (http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps7206/index.html)
LVL 11

Accepted Solution

Patmac951 earned 252 total points
ID: 34954347
The manufacturer of the WAP (wireless acces point) should not matter.  The key to this is to simply configure each WAP as a wireless reapeater of the main SSID WAP currently in use.  Disable DHCP on all the access points that will act as repeaters and make sure to configure the SSID on all repeaters with the same name as the main access point already in use.

I have succesfully done this many times for my clients, even with each access point being a different manufacturer.  As long as you configure each access point with the same SSID, configure the access point as a repeater and disable DHCP you should be good to go.

Expert Comment

ID: 34954422
I agree with Patmac, this is called ESS (extending the service set) of the SSID), we even did this one time with a bunch of WRT610n routers (turning off the dhcp on the subsequent devices and keeping 1 router), so the rest were essentially expensive wireless access points.  I disagree with Pat however on mixing the devices in that it can turn into a firmware upgrade nightmare down the road.  I personally like to keep one product line per site as it minimizes the variables of different vendors, different settings, etc.  Think of this this way... would you mix and match parts on your car then why do it with networking equipment?
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Expert Comment

ID: 34954494
Just got this in, thought it might help:  http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/netsysm/article.php/3925481 - WLAN Controllers buyers guide....

Author Comment

ID: 34955252
I would like to avoid adding a Wlan controller if possible.. can I just have 2 AP hooked up to the existing wired network with the same ssid and DHCP turned off? the existing router is providing IP address' to the current network. I have had a lot of success with D Link, but am not certain which one would be the best to go with. I guess where my confusion is coming in is that some people suggest wireless extender mode over AP mode and vice versa. I really do not want to use the extender mode since I have ethernet on the 2 ends of the residence..  Can I just purchase any identical (for simplicity sake) AP's and configure them to work like I want?

Expert Comment

ID: 34955734
I think that is wise... I usually static ip our WAPs that way I am in control of the addressing and nothing knocks them off and they stay that way.  If your using dlink then my recommendation would be to stick with dlink and see if you can add a couple more dlink waps.....  same ssid/passphrase, and configure them as AP not extenders...  what happens when you do this in a home is inevitably one of the 'links' will get knocked off and the extension breaks, whereas configuring as a standalone wap only fails at the device level if there is a problem.

hoped that helped.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 34956355
Agreed you should always assign Static IP address to your WAP in the LAN settings.  I only meant for you to turn off DHCP for clients that attach to the device.  Because you only want one device on your network that is considered the DHCP server, (unless we are talking about a very large network with multiple locations).   Any wireless access point should ALWAYS have a static IP.   I prefer Cisco/Linksys devices for this, I have multiple clients running a mix of manufacturers with multiple WAP devices and they are working just fine.

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