Wireless Access Points or Wireless Routers and which product would suit

We have a small school that is already wired and live with broadband via a Cat5e network around the school, which is connected to some class of internet Router that gets all of the school out on the internet.

However, they wish to make 3 of their class rooms wireless as these are the only rooms with wireless Laptops  ( The remaining rooms have wired-in PC’s and they are happy with that).

I’m not technical, but my thoughts would be just to buy a “Wireless Access Point” as there is probably no Routing needed and connect it to one of the live Cat5 sockets on the wall. I assume that I am correct?  I have some “Wireless Routers” in our stock, but I assume that I may not need their routing, and I may or may not be able to turn that off.

1.      TP-Link 150Mps Wireless AP/Client Router. Model No. TL-WR743ND
2.      TP-Link 3G/4G Wireless N  Router. Model No. TL-MR3420
3.      Cisco Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router. Model No. WRT54GL
4.      Cisco Linksys Wireless-N Home ADSL2_ Modem Router. Model No. WAG120N

Do I use one of the above devices or what is the best device to buy in this situation? Just buy a plain old “Wireless Access Point” which doesn’t do routing, if so what WAP devices are available in the market to do this,  or should I use any of the above?

Also, is there any concern about installing 3 separate devices in the 3 separate rooms, will there be areas where the signals from the 3 devices overlap and cause problems?

Regards,
Annette.
IP4IT StaffAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Since you have everyone on one network, it is probably best to keep it that way.  Pick a good wireless router - Cisco Linksys are normally good. I use a Cisco RV220W.

Connect them up as follows:

1. Hook up a LAN (not WAN) port of the Wireless Router to one of the live sockets in the wall.

2. Log into the Wireless Router and give it a Static IP address on the main network. This prevents it losing its bearings when the network inevitably resets.

3. Still at the Wireless Router, turn DHCP OFF. Then DHCP comes from the main network.

Set up wireless. You can probably use the same SSID, Security mode and password on all 3 routers. Give them different channels. You can experiment here.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Craig BeckCommented:
If you're going to buy something new, buy an access point, not a router.  That makes things simple.

If you're going to put only 3 access points in the area you can set them to use different non-overlapping channels (1, 6 and 11) and there'll be no cross-ap interference issues.  As long as you use the same SSID and authentication/encryption settings you're fine if you want everyone to use the same settings.

If you're re-using old stock you should just turn off the DHCP server on the router and connect it to the network using one of the LAN ports.
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IP4IT StaffAuthor Commented:
Thanks by: thinkpads_user, very well explained!

craigbeck, I may go with your simple sugestionm in that case can you recceomed a decent trustworthy AP? I don't need phone calls re wireless connectivity issues.

Quick question, if for example someone walked between rooms with a document open that is stored in the Cloud ( note that they don't do this, they only need a very simple low budget solution to get on the net ) what will happen as they move between AP's ?

Thanks again.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If the channels are different and this is all "low budget" (like most very small setups) then then as people move from room to room they may have to disconnect and reconnect.

Really a person should not be walking around a hall with a computer open and documents live anyway. Close the document, close the lid and change rooms.

... Thinkpads_User
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Craig BeckCommented:
If the file is in the cloud it should be copied locally (in the background as a temp file) while it's being edited.  This shouldn't cause a problem when walking between APs in different rooms.
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IP4IT StaffAuthor Commented:
How about setting up the AP's in "Bridging Mode", can it be done, is it difficulted, recommended?

What AP's would you recommend that are a decent quality?
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Craig BeckCommented:
APs are bridges by default.

I'd go with Cisco every time, but I use them every day.  If you want something cheap and reliable look at the Ubiquiti UniFi APs.
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gheistCommented:
Access point and wireless router are synonimous.

TP-Link is also very good, Ihave recently changed from Linksys (Pre-Cisco) wireless-g to TP-Link...
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Craig BeckCommented:
The two are not synonimous.

An access point can not perform router functions.  An access point is a bridge, not a router.

In my experience TP-Link equipment is not very reliable.  The Cisco small-business range of equipment is a far superior choice.
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gheistCommented:
Urmm... TP-Link 50$ vsCisco 500$
A easy reliability choice...
Anyway you have to replace them after warranty peropd of 1-3 years... Not easy to justify with expensive unreliable cisco brick
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Craig BeckCommented:
Urmm... TP-Link 50$ vsCisco 500$
A easy reliability choice...
So you agree that cost is a factor when assessing reliability?

I have 3 TP-Link routers on my desk right now... all just outside the 1 year warranty, ALL as good as bricks.

I have two Cisco 3845 routers, one Cisco 1721 router and one Cisco 1841 router also on my bench.  Guess what?  All of the Cisco devices are still working as good as the day I bought/obtained them.

You get exactly what you pay for.

Find yourself a different reseller too... Cisco's RV110W can be purchased for as little as £56 - that's hardly $500... more like $90USD at today's exchange rate (or perhaps you meant Hong-Kong Dollars?) :-)

Bottom-line... If anyone who came to work for me told me that TP-Link were more reliable than Cisco I'd ask them to leave!
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gheistCommented:
Liar liar liar....
If you buy in British pounds you have two years of warranty (I have WR1043ND and it works after 2 years)
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Craig BeckCommented:
Haha! The best form of defence is attack...

Don't confuse the 2-year seller warranty with the 1-year manufacturer warranty.  Also the 2-year period is only an EU directive, not UK Law.

Anyhow, I didn't say that ALL TP-Link products would fail within the first year or two, just that they're not as reliable as Cisco.
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gheistCommented:
I have very bad experiences with cisco in saturated urban area( like 80 APs visible around). Thay jast disconnect clients at will etc while linksys (cheap and not cisco then) just stood working fine.
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Craig BeckCommented:
The likes of Linksys (pre-Cisco) didn't exactly adhere to standards-based Wifi for some of the radio protocols.  Technologies such as Super-G (for example) were proprietary and therefore weren't standards based at all.  Also these devices used to use power levels which weren't strictly within the local regulatory domain's limits ;-)

The enterprise Cisco WLAN kit uses enhancements such as dynamic radio resource management which attempts to provide a means to effectively co-habit in congested areas while still sticking to standards.  It's not always effective but it is a best-effort.

I know what you mean though.  I'm just offering advice based on my own experience.  I do wireless specifically for a living so I'm fortunate enough to be exposed to a lot of kit from a lot of different vendors :-)
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gheistCommented:
In europe Cisco limits tx power to 50mW where they should be using 100mW
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Craig BeckCommented:
@gheist - If I understand it correctly, Cisco use a maximum output power of 17dBm in order to allow for a 3dBi antenna to be used at full power.  This means that the EIRP of the transmitting device is within the 100mW EIRP limit in the ETSI region.
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gheistCommented:
Where is the power source for antenna extension that adds to 100mW? You understand - 100mW and attach the TV tower if you want.... (ok in franceit is illegal outdoors)
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