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How to determine bandwidth requirments for a wireless network

Posted on 2011-03-15
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
A client of mine is going to be making a very large 60-100 people room available for seminars. The attendees will be allowed to use the wireless network for the seminars. The membership for these seminars is going to be $200 a month. The attendees would be able to use the internet for research and email.

Presently, he has a Linksys wireless router and cable from cablevision.

My questions are...

How do I determine how much bandwidth each laptop will require to have a good fast internet experience?

How many users will the Linksys accommodate before I have to upgrade it? And what are your recommendations for upgrading it and to what?

We also want to be able to block certain sites, music, porn, etc. from downloads.

I want to give each user their own username and password that is good for only one connection at a time. I also want to be able to track usage. If the person needs to be able to print, we would like to be able to charge for it, so is it possible to track this kind of usage?

Would we need a server at this site? or would network devices such as SonicWall or Barracuda or a router be able to cover these requirements alone?

What is the break point for how many users before we would have to go from cable to fiber or T1s?

thanks in advance.

Rich
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Question by:RSchierer
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digitap earned 1000 total points
ID: 35140860
if you go with a sonicwall appliance, then i'd recommend the sonicpoints as it will be easier to implement. i have copied the sonicwall best practice guide below for wireless networks.

i'm having some challenges with the sonicpoints at the moment with one of my clients. having connectivity challenges in one area of the building. this area is the closest to two large apartment complexes. feedback from the sonicpoints is it's getting interference from other access points.

although i like sonicpoints, i'm not sure i would recommend them in such a large deployment. sonicpoint says in a business deployment, they recommend 5-10 users per sonicpoint. in a non-business deployment, 10-15. i don't know about you, but that would be a lot of sonicpoints.

my company doesn't see cisco APs, but we have clients who already have them or are installed/support through a 3rd party vendor. i've always been impressed with their level of coverage and signal throughput. they've definitely figured something out that sonicwall has yet to discover.

http://www.sonicwall.com/app/projects/file_downloader/document_lib.php?t=TN&id=98
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by:dosdet2
dosdet2 earned 1000 total points
ID: 35149182
I think the bigger problem you have (as far as a good fast internet experience) is the physical limitations of wireless.  Wireless communications, regardless of what router you use, are single duplex.  That means that only 1 device can "talk" at a time.  There is also a limit on the speed that a wireless network can communicate at.

The good part is that there are several channels that you can setup wireless routers on.  You can utilize one device per channel and increase the number of users that way.  However as digitap stated, there can be interference from surrounding wireless networks.  

Before you invest in equipment, I suggest you scout out the environment and see what wireless signals you can detect in the proposed area - and how strong are they.  If signals are barely there or go in and out, you may be alright.  If there are medium to strong signals, then you are probably going to have problems with the channel that they are on.  

As far as your auditing, I would use a server to handle log in, printing and auditing (as they handle databases easier) and use a good firewall (I like Sonicwall) to do the URL Blocking and content filtering.
The Server may not need to have a server OS loaded, a workstation OS may work fine depending on the Login/ Auditing software you choose to run on it.
My 2¢ worth.
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Expert Comment

by:digitap
ID: 35149284
don't short change yourself dosdet2...you know your suggestions are worth more than 2 cents! >GRIN<!
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