How to setup 2 isolated wireless networks in the same building

I have setup and used without a problem one wireless network using 7 access points spread over 4 school buildings for 4 years.

How can I set up a 2nd wireless network isolated from the first, without creating wireless interference between the 2 networks?

Is it possible to buy new access points to replace the original 7, which have the capacity to have 2 isolated networks?  Perhaps 2 physical network RJ45 connections or tagged VLAN functionality??

How would you approach this problem?
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
I would use a second router with a different SSID and make sure the broadcast frequencies are different from each other.

Use access points connected tothe second router and you should be good to go.

Somebody may have a different solution but this would give you some reduncancy if one of the networks went down it would not affect the second.
Also, keep your wireless channels at least 3 channels apart.  If your original wireless is on channel 6 then set the new wireless to channel 9.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
That's what I mean...channels not frequencies.  Used wrong term.  Thanks.
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you have differents approach for this, at first i think the best solution is create a new VLAN and for this you need to have a new AP (Access Point) and new bridge that accept vlan and multiple SSID.

Or a second approach not realy easy to update, you do buy another AP and bridge and create 2 networks different. But when you need to upgrade the first network you need to apply on the second network (i think is not a good idea). but if you don't have money to buy the new AP the second solution is cheap.

I hope you can understand my english :)

Check out either Meraki or Aruba AP's they will both support multiple SSID's that can be isolated yet use the same internet connection.  Since they are in multiple building I would lean to the Meraki that has a web portal you can manage the AP's from very nice, if they were all on the same network then Aruba's master/slave configuration is nice you program one and the others will program off of it.

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Alistair7Author Commented:
tmoore - that sounds interesting "multiple SSIDs that can be isolated"  But assuming there is only 1 RJ45 network connection on the access point, this means that traffic from both SSID's will be present on our main LAN.  How are they isolated?  I want 1 SSID to have full access to the school network.  The other SSID only access to the internet - that they cannot see and hack into PCs on the school network.
Actually, you need to keep the channels 5 apart to prevent interference. 1, 6 and 11 are the best channels to use in the 2.4GHz band.

Have a look at this study by Cisco
which shows the difference between using channels that overlap slightly (less than 6 and 9 do), versus putting 2 on the same channel and letting carrier sense multiple access (CSMA) make them take turns... the latter scenario results in almost twice as much throughput as the former.

But if the different SSIDs are hosted by the same unit using 1 radio, it will split the bandwidth more efficiently than relying on CSMA.

It would help to know what units you have now in order to determine if they're capable of hosting multiple SSIDs.
Alistair7Author Commented:
They're old Linksys access points, something like WAP54.  I want to go more up market and get units that can run both N and G, and mutiple SSIDs.

At least I THINK that's the best route.

I'm going to check out now the  Meraki and Aruba units recommended by tmoore.

I'll read your cisco link also Darr.
Alistair7Author Commented:
I have found Meraki and Meru solutions here in Norway.
Meraki was very expensive for us with the yearly fees required for cloud access.

Am looking at the Meru

MC1550 controller and AP1020i access points.

They have twin radio 2.4 and 5 GHz, multiple SSID, 2x2:2 MIMO.

I am assuming that it is better to have 1 set of more powerful accesspoints with twin radio and multiple SSID functionality instead of 2 separate WiFi networks consisting of twice the number of very cheap access points which might interfere with each other.  Is this correct?  I ask because this Meru system is still much more expensive than a lot of cheap access points.  I'm hoping that the controller will give me a better overview and also better security.
Alistair7Author Commented:
I will use Meru AP832 accesspoints which also have "ac" capability combined with a 3rd generation PaloAlto firewall PA200 which gives excellent layer 7 or application level security.

Thank you for your help.
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