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How important is router capacity with 100 clients

Posted on 2013-01-25
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In our school I have set up 100 clients, most of which are members of a Windows Server 2003 domain.  There is only 1 server which is both domain controller and file server.

We receive internett over a 15Mbit/15Mbit fiber optic connection.

The router/gateway I use is a very basic Lynksys WRT54GL which is a wireless unit, but I have deactivated the wireless function, so it is only acting as a wired router/gateway.

There is no VPN functionallity, so it only working as a simple internet router for accessing the internet.  We have no web server running on our domain controller.  

How important is the capacity of this router/gateway.  Should I purchase a unit with greater capacity.  Will it speed up our system at all with 100 clients accessing the internett?
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Question by:Alistair7
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by:smckeown777
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Depends...are you experiencing slowness accessing the internet? Or what exactly is wrong in general?

Yes there are higher end routers that will perform better obviously, I think that Linksys is a simple home router model, we work in Ireland in schools and they all use Cisco 800 Series routers and never had or saw any issues with slowness at all...so to answer your question if you are having issues then yes a router upgrade may be what is needed...

Simple thing to start with is a speedtest at www.speedtest.net - does this show you getting your 15M up and down?

Not saying you need a Cisco either though, there are other makes/models that are just as good...Vigor are a good range for high end models - http://www.draytek.co.uk/
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by:Levi Gwyn
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With 100 potential users accessing the Internet, I think the Linksys you have is not the best model for that application for two reasons; security and capacity.  smckeown777 mentioned the Cisco 800 series router - this is a good choice.  Your using a consumer router and in my opinion, you probably need a more commercial grade router.  The Linksys is not that hard to crack and could bog down with the load you have.  You were smart to turn off wireless.

A newer Cisco 800w or 900w series router can do wireless in a secure way also.
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by:John Hurst
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I had a Cisco Linksys RV042 router with 200 Mbits/sec NAT throughput internally in the router. When my ISP increased the speed to 25 Mbits/sec, the router topped out at 8 Mbits/sec. I updgraded to a Cisco RV042G with 800 Mbits/sec NAT throughput and my internet speed increased to over 20 Mbits/sec.  

So absolutely the capacity of the router is important and I agree with the above that you should consider commercial equipment instead of consumer devices.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:mi3er
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WRT54GL has lot modifications http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linksys_WRT54G_series
If your version support another firmware, i recommend tomato. Install and you will see hardware usage. Obviously this hardware not friendly with p2p networks :)
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by:Alistair7
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I am not experiencing any problems.  Speedtesting my download and upload speeds shows that I have full speed -  15/15 Mb up and down.  That has never been a problem.

My question refers more to the ability of the Linksys to deal with 100 client connections at the same time.  Sorry I didn't make that clear.
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by:John Hurst
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You still want overall high throughput in the router. If you are getting what you want, try it and see if you experience difficulties.  Experience has taught me to use commercial gear in my circumstances. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:Alistair7
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I have just looked at the Cisco 800 series.  They say:

- Suitable for up to 20 employees.  But we have over 100 PCs.

- Speed of 15 Mb. But our internet speed will become higher than 15 in the near future.

- Wireless functionality which we don't need.

I must say I'm quite confused by the Cisco terminology:  edge routers,  integrated service routers, core routers, wan agregation etc.....

Which of all of these will provide BASIC internet access for 100 PCs, a speed of say 30 Mbit.  Something that is not too difficult to setup.  I don't need wireless.
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smckeown777 earned 150 total points
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Then stick with the Draytek routers, one thing about the Cisco range is they are fairly hard to configure unless you are familiar with the Cisco IOS and command line(the routers you need are the ISR models)

Draytek is a web interface which you are familar with, same as the home model routers...

Forgot about your speed(apologies) so yes the 800 might not work with 15MB lines...but we've schools with over 100 users working through these without any issues, so not sure why they've listed 20 users as a max(depends on teh model I suppose)

The issue with moving from SOHO routers to Business class is they offer way more features overall - so when you say 'basic internet access' they do this, but way more...

My recommendation is this one - http://www.draytek.co.uk/products/vigor2830.html

Others may have different recommendations...so wait and see...
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by:Levi Gwyn
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If you can foot the bill, go with a Cisco 1941 or equivalent from another vendor.  This is a really rock solid small business router that can support high Mbps Internet and several hundred users.  I know it says 25Mbps but we have one servicing a 50M circuit and it works just fine.

The Cisco specs pages are not written for normal human beings to process unfortunately.
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by:Levi Gwyn
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PS - on the specs for these, 25Mbps is referring to traditional WAN circuits (T1, T3, etc.).  If you use the Ethernet interface for your Internet access then you could go up to 1Gbps.
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by:Alistair7
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smckeown777 commented on the difficulty of setting up cisco.  I've heard this many times before, so I would like to go with another make with an easier UI.  The Draytek looks interesting.   smckeown777 suggested Vigor2830.  I have only found one supplier of Draytek products here in Norway.  I'm looking at:

2850
http://www.mytrendyphone.no/shop/draytek-vigor-2850-76294p.html

2950
http://www.mytrendyphone.no/shop/draytek-vigor-2950-76405p.html

This link compares the different model features:
http://www.draytek.co.uk/products/comparison.html

Unfortunately the 2950 is not mentioned in the comparison, only the 2960.
So I don't know if the 2950 has the same firewall speed of 500Mbit, as the 2960 or only 100.  Can't find that spec anywhere.

Both may sound like overkill, but I know real world speeds are often much less than stated specs.  Just like "thinkpads" stated above, "I had a Cisco Linksys RV042 router with 200 Mbits/sec NAT throughput internally in the router. When my ISP increased the speed to 25 Mbits/sec, the router topped out at 8 Mbits/sec."

I only need a broadband router, not ADSL OR VDSL etc..

Any comments?
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by:Alistair7
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Rob says, "PS - on the specs for these, 25Mbps is referring to traditional WAN circuits (T1, T3, etc.).  If you use the Ethernet interface for your Internet access then you could go up to 1Gbps. "

I see.  I will in fact be using the Ethernet interface.  But I thought it was the firewall itself that pulled down the speed significantly.
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by:Levi Gwyn
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Regardless of the make, a commercial router with a 100/1000Mbps Ethernet interface that can be used as the Internet port is the way you'll want to go.
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by:Alistair7
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Many thanks for all your input.

Unless someone disagrees, I think I will take the Draytek Vigor route, on the assumption that it will be easier to set up AND give reliable service.

Any other comments before I close the question?
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by:Alistair7
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Thank you so much for the help.
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