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WIFi topology question

Posted on 2014-03-17
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Last Modified: 2014-03-18
If I were to setup 3 WiFi routers and stacked them, putting one on ch 1, one on ch 6 and one on ch 11, but give them all the same SSID and password, would this effectively triple WiFi bandwidth? Would the clients always try to link to the unit that has the least amount of traffic on it? Would there be any other problems come out of a setup like this?

Note: I realize that it would not triple bandwidth on a per user basis, but I am hoping that it will allow more people to connect to our wifi environment and give them better thru-put.
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Question by:ShiftAltNumlock
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39935417
I think your clients will always try to connect to the access point with the strongest signal, regardless of load.

Dan
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39935435
If you have enough computers that you need to triple the WiFi bandwidth (of course never more than the total bandwidth) then use 3 different SSID's and divide up the workload. Having everyone on one SSID likely won't do what you want because connection will be to the strongest signal as noted above.
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Author Comment

by:ShiftAltNumlock
ID: 39935451
What about keep the same setup as above, but locate the WAP's in different areas of the building. This seems like it would resolve the "Strongest signal" issue. I only want there to be 1 SSID, if possible.
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by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 163 total points
ID: 39935458
That would solve the problem of walk-ins. People would be able to move in the building and the wireless client will automatically switch to a new AP as they approach it.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 168 total points
ID: 39935464
I have put 3 points wide spread in a building with 1 SSID and the computer may or may not stay with one access point. It varies.  So there is no way to spread the load for sure with 1 SSID.
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Craig Beck earned 169 total points
ID: 39936741
If you have 3 APs on different channels using the same SSID and encryption/authentication settings your client will usually choose the first AP which answers with a probe response.  It doesn't have to be the AP with the strongest signal, although the NIC drivers will usually determine this.  If all 3 APs are in the same place, with the same power settings and antennas they will probably all show the same signal strength anyway, so none would be preferred.  Moving from one AP to the other is based on a threshold, so as long as the signal strength and SNR stays within a set of values the client won't try to move to a stronger AP.

Generally there's no way to load-balance client connections without a controller.  If you manually want to do this you should give each AP a separate SSID and configure your clients to connect to whichever AP you want.
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