Wireless Access point with bandwidth management

Hi All,

Has anyone out there got any device recommendations on the following requirements:

1. WiFi Access point used for providing internet to a large number of devices
2. Needs to cater for upward of 250 concurrent wifi connections
3. Should be compatible with various methods of connecting to the master internet connection (ethernet, wifi with auth etc) as this is for an event which travels between various large European venues each with a slightly different method of allowing internet access.
4. Must have the ability to create different bandwidth priority groups (and then assign clients' MAC addresses to these different groups) as some clients need to be guaranteed bandwidth.
5. Would be nice to have a way of identifying users who are using bittorrent so they can be blocked.
6. Needs to bring me my morning coffee and paper in the morning (ok, maybe not :) )

Thanks in advance,

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For these requirements you're going to have to dig deep.
You won't find any single access point that will handle 250 simultaneous connections.
Using 3 access points, on channels 1, 6 and 11, might get you close to 200, though.
acrxxAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your inputs.

@brettkm: I'm not a novice and was hoping I could put together a system to fulfill most (if not all) requirements. I'd like to stick to dedicated hardware though rather than custom build a Linux server.

@Darr247: Have you got any recommendations regarding access points?
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Craig BeckCommented:
@brettkm: I am a professional, so is Darr247.  We offer free help.  Is it worthless, or not correct simply because it's free?

@acrxx: I second Darr's first comment.  You'll never find an access point which will handle 250 concurrent connections.  However, 3x APs and close-to 200 clients... I doubt that unless you're only doing very basic web-browsing (for example) at a push.

Now, if you're talking about a 'solution' which needs to cater for >250 clients, that's different!  There are plenty of solutions which will cater for >250 clients using multiple APs.  The Cisco 2504 or 5508 WLC does everything you want using newer code and is extremely configurable.  Paired with the ISE authentication server it's hard to beat for Guest wireless services, but I doubt the ISE would be in your budget.

Aruba also have a great wireless solution which is highly customizable for guest wireless services.  I believe Aruba recently added AmigoPod (which was a dedicated guest solution for wired and wireless networks) to their ClearPass offering.  Jakob_di will no-doubt jump on here and tell you that though as he loves Aruba kit, and can offer plenty of advice if that's something you're interested in.
Meraki stuff has most of what you are asking for...but they aren't cheap

Also I don't know of any single AP that will handle that amount of connections as already stated by others so that is asking for a lot...

But Meraki can do 3,4 &5 of the above list...just get a few of their AP's to allow up to 250 connections...

My post wasn't meant to be insulting, just in my opinion it sounds like a job that would be difficult to do over chat like this.
acrxxAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your comments.

After taking in your comments, I have been looking at AP solutions which fall into the sub £1000 price bracket (for a 3 AP system). One that stuck out for me was the Ubiquiti UniFi UAP PRO solution which comes int at a reasonable price http://www.ubnt.com/unifi#appro

What are your thoughts about this one?
We've installed the Unifi units yes, the Pro's are simply dual band models(so 2.4 and 5GHz)

Good units, but again they don't support anywhere near the number of clients you want to cover on a single unit...

They say that you can get up to 100 clients on a single AP - trust me you can't, least not with any decent throughput, yes it will possibly allow 100 to connect to the AP, but no matter which way you swing it the speed will be slow for all users...

But as a general wifi solution its a good product, the controller software comes free as well which is a major benefit

Of your original 6 points you listed they will cover 3&4, they don't do traffic analysis(so bittorrent monitoring isn't an option), they do provide a list of connected users which you can allocate to bandwidth groups though
acrxxAuthor Commented:
@smckeown777: Thanks, that is really helpful. I was thinking of buying a 3-pack of UniFi APs (and I have given up on the idea of identifying torrent users)

Are there any AP solutions you would recommend (in the same price bracket as the UniFis)?
Not really...well not in the same price bracket...beauty of the Unifi's is the software controller you get with the package, we run one in AWS for multiple sites and its a great addition, cloud based management all in!!

In fairness I'm probably not as up to speed with some of the higher end units like Juniper/Meru/Cisco/Xirrus provide, maybe @craigbeck or @Darr247 are familiar with those, but for what Unifi offer its a good solution and affordable for a lot of our clients(Hotels/schools)

The Xirrus arrays might be up your street since they are multi-ap units in a single chassis - http://www.xirrus.com/Products/Wireless-Arrays/XR-Arrays-and-Access-Points

On their site they say 'support up to 240 users' so that's close to your number ;)

They get to that high number since the array really is anywhere from 4-16 AP's in the chassis, but I've no experience with the product beyond what I've read...
Craig BeckCommented:
I've used the Xirrus arrays.  Their claimed figures are very generous and if you use anything near the 16-AP array expect some co-channel interference which will reduce throughput if not configured properly.

The Unifi APs are great.  If cost is an issue, take the plunge and use them.  I doubt you'll be disappointed if you follow my general rule...

Max. 30 clients per AP (not radio).

If an AP can do simultaneous dual-band, that's around 15 clients per radio.  If it's single-band, just 15 clients.

So, if you need to cater for 300 clients, 300 clients / 30 clients per AP = 10 APs.

It's not an exact science, but it seems to work well.

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For such an installation I would only trust cisco equipment, compinded with a 3rd party bandwidth management solution.

Give a glance to the following:
http://www.iboss.com (QoS management appliance)
www.xirrus.com  (AP with advanced features, many antennas on each AP, etc)
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