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Cost effective wireless setup at small sites (need 4 SSIDs)

Posted on 2012-03-29
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Last Modified: 2012-06-26
At some of our smaller remote sites (5-15 employees), we are using a single AirPort Extreme base station.  For the most part, this works well.  However, we have some older devices and printers hardcoded with the network password and it's not so easy to change in the devices for local end users.  That makes it very difficult to change the AE's password.  We want to do that on occasion for security reasons.  One AE base station can cover a whole site.  The solution would be to create four SSIDs - one for general use (would change password frequently), one for printers, one for scanners and one for guest access.  The limitation of only being able to use one SSID per AE hinders this approach.  We would have to purchase four separate AE's to handle it (about $800 total).  For larger sites, we use a true wireless controller and APs, but that is expensive ($6-8k).  I'm looking for a happy medium here.  Any suggestions on how to accomplish this using AirPorts or alternative solutions without going the wireless controller route?
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Question by:shannon_adams
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6 Comments
 
LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 37784326
You didn't mention any kind of separation of subnets and devices.  So, one would assume you want all the mentioned devices to communicate?

You could set up 4 commodity wireless routers as switches for a total cost of around $200 in hardware.  Or, you could set up separate subnets if you want separation.

See the attached.
Wireless-Router-as-a-Simple-Swit.pdf
Multiple-Subnets.pdf
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:maximus5328
ID: 37785632
You can add a couple of AirPort Express to your AirPort Extreme.
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Author Comment

by:shannon_adams
ID: 37786656
I like the idea of using one AirPort Extreme ($179) and hooking multiple AirPort Expresses ($99) to it.  I assume all APBEx would hook into the single AXn?  Then, all could pull DHCP from my internal DHCP/DNS server?
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:maximus5328
ID: 37786893
Yes, connect Expresses to Extreme, connect Extreme to your network and set them all to Bridge Mode.
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Accepted Solution

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shannon_adams earned 0 total points
ID: 38109467
I went with a Cisco AP1262.  It does the trick, although expensive.
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Author Closing Comment

by:shannon_adams
ID: 38123929
Only useful solution
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