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A unique SSID for each Access Point or one SSID for them all?

Posted on 2015-01-27
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Last Modified: 2015-01-28
I have three access points to give wireless cover in a residential house. I have situated each of the access points at the range limit of the others but there is still overlap so I get continuous cover.
I assume that I should put each on a separate channel but should I also give each a unique SSID or should I just give the same SSID to each and therefore just have one SSID for the house?
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Question by:ClintonK
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Craig Beck earned 2000 total points
ID: 40573994
Separate channel (1, 6 and 11 for 2.4GHz band) but same SSID and security settings.  That will let the client device move between APs without having a long break in service.  It won't be completely seamless but it should take less than a second or so to move between APs.
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Author Comment

by:ClintonK
ID: 40574000
are channels 1,2 and 3 too close to each other? I have a Sonos music system that only allows me 1,6 or 11
Are 1,6 and 11 the preferred ones for the access points because they occupy lower, middle and top of the range?
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Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 40574028
1,2 and 3 all overlap with eachother.  That's bad as it will cause an effect called co-channel interference and will degrade performance.

The channels at 2.4GHz occupy some of the adjacent channel's space, either side of the channel you're on.  Each channel is 22MHz wide but each channel is only separated by 5MHz.  This means that each channel overlaps with other channels.

For example, Channel 6's centre-frequency is 2437MHz.  Channel 5's is 2432MHz.  This means that channels 5 and 6 overlap with eachother.  There's a good graphic here...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WLAN_channels

Channels 1, 6 and 11 are the only channels which don't overlap with eachother at all at 2.4GHz (this is universal, but in Europe and Japan you could use 1, 7 and 13) so you should use those to ensure that you don't interfere with your own APs.
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Author Comment

by:ClintonK
ID: 40574052
so if I have three access points and Sonos on 1, 6 or 11 am I stuck?
Would a 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz AP's be more easier?
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 40574090
If your Sonos kit is running its own WiFi network it may cause problems.  You would be running it all on one channel though, so you could use two channels for your APs and leave the Sonos kit on the third channel.

Let's say you have 3 APs in a line.  As long as AP1 can't see AP3 you can use the same channel on both APs, while AP2 (in the middle) could use the remaining free channel (as the Sonos would use the third free channel).  So you would end up with:

AP1 - Ch6
AP2 - Ch1
AP3 - Ch6
Sonos - Ch11

That would be fine.

However, I believe that all WiFi Sonos kit can now connect to a home WiFi network instead of only its own.  This would mean that each Sonos unit would use whatever channel the AP it connects to uses, and that would mean you get the third channel back for use on the WiFi network.
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Author Comment

by:ClintonK
ID: 40574111
That's all really helpful, thanks. I've not tried turning off Sonos wifi yet but I think that may be the best option.
The advice then is to keep the channels away from each other so they don't overlap (choose 1,6,11 if they can all see each other) and give them all the same SSIDs. Also reconfigure Sonos to use the home wifi and release a valuable channel.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 40574124
Sounds good :-)
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Author Closing Comment

by:ClintonK
ID: 40574137
All good information.
Keep the channels away from each other so they don't overlap (choose 1,6,11 - assuming they can all see each other) and give them all the same SSIDs

Thanks
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Natty Greg
ID: 40574391
Always separate the channels, and the fail over is seamless and client will not notice any fail over
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 40575719
Always separate the channels, and the fail over is seamless and client will not notice any fail over
Unless 802.1x is used to authenticate users this is not correct.  Channel separation does not aid in seamless roaming.
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