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bridging Wireless Access point

Posted on 2011-09-28
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Last Modified: 2013-12-21
Hi EE,

I have a project to install wifi in serveral sites for a client. Bascially each site will have between 6 and 10 wifi APs. What i would like to know is how do i setup the APs so that when moving from one side of the building to another. a laptop is handed off from one AP to the next to maintain its wifi signal. These are healthcare facilities so for example a doctor or nurse would move from room to room with a tablet checking up on patients, but still have stable wifi as long as they are in range of an AP

Any ideas on how to setup such and environment, or even what hardware i should consider purchasing would be great!

Thanks
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Question by:Sanga Collins
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5 Comments
 
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Rick_O_Shay
ID: 36814341
This is normal wireless roaming so just make sure the AP's you get can handle roaming of clients amongst themselves.
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Darr247 earned 2000 total points
ID: 36819000
Every installation is likely to pose its own unique unforeseen problems, which is why there are so many different types of routers/APs made, and not really any one-size-fits-all installation guides.

An actual physical site survey should be done, including temporary installations of a few APs to ensure they're going to provide good signal and bandwidth from the contemplated locations and channels. Possibly you won't need as many APs for adequate coverage, as you're planning to use; possibly, the 3 non-overlapping channels in the 2.4GHz ISM band are already heavily used (or overlapped by networks setup by the uninformed) in that area and you'll need to supplement with 5GHz equipment. et cetera

If you're using a windows RADIUS server and AD credentials for authentication, in its wireless profile[s] you can select the Enable Pairwise Master Key (PMK) Caching option under Fast Roaming, then the clients should get nearly seamless roaming between APs.
Otherwise, when using strictly WPA2 for authentication AND encryption (certainly, no lower level of encryption should be allowed when you're talking about medical records), there can be a noticable lack of connectivity (like, up to 30 seconds or so) when switching between APs, but generally the only time it will be noticed is when the laptops are mounted on rolling carts and new pages/saves/refreshes are attempted right after a roaming change occurs; If they're carried between rooms on battery power then setup on a stand and plugged in upon arrival, usually any lack of connectivity right after a roaming switch is made should be unnoticable.

For hardware recommendations, there are many brands and models that will do what you want... still, the saying, "nobody was ever fired for buying Cisco" isn't about the stock listed on NASDAQ. Next (in my opinion) would be the D-Link Business WLAN series, then Linksys, Buffalo and Ruckus.

(I'm not sure why this is in the Intrusion Detection Systems zone, since very-few routers or APs include any kind of IDS built-in.)
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LVL 18

Author Closing Comment

by:Sanga Collins
ID: 36893257
What a great answer. Without getting into the specific details you have given me an excellent overview of how to proceed. I have even placed orders for the Dlink DWL3000 series of APs. Thanks for the great assist.
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 36895698
Definitely install and check out the the AP Manager II software that should be included on the CDs that come with those D-Link units. It should make setup and maintenance of multiple units much easier.
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LVL 18

Author Comment

by:Sanga Collins
ID: 36897040
I am testing the AP manager right now. from looking at the documentation i can tell it will be quite useful. Having a few problems with psotgreSQL on my windows 7 test machine, but im pretty sure once i work out the kinks i can roll out the software to the management servers at each of my remote sites.

Thanks!
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