Looking for a new router

Hello, I am looking for a wifi router that can handle  around 100 wifi users for training in the office a few times a year .... also would like the router to meet hipaa compliance. ... I was told I would have to go cisco but i havent been able to get any authorize dealer to contact me ...and cdw acts as this is there first time with this request. ...is this request that  complicated. ... also the office isnt that large, they just have a large conference room but as of now I get a strong signal everywhere with  the fios wifi router
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JonathanSpitfireSenior Solutions EngineerCommented:
I have a background in wireless and in healthcare. The easy answer first:

HIPAA does not dictate what kind of hardware or methodology that you should use to secure data traffic, just that you should make a best effort to secure the data (or transport medium) and document that effort.

That being said, enterprise security on a Cisco autonomous AP, or a lightweight AP with a wireless LAN Controller driving it will be sufficient. Even a DLink, Belkin, or NetGear would be sufficient, if properly secured. If you are a small shop, and you don't already have a Cisco infrastructure, that might be the way to go.

The more difficult answer..... if you are looking for one AP to handle 100 clients, and be satisfied with throughput, you'll be waiting a while. Client density per AP from Cisco's standpoint is in the dozens. To have satisfactory performance, you need to have one AP for every 25-30 clients and one AP for every 2500 Square feet of coverage (this is for voice spec and is a rule of thumb). To know for sure you really need to have (at a minimum) a predictive survey done with an application such as Air Magnet by a wireless engineer with an accurate (to scale) floor plan.

Can you associate 100 clients to one AP and give them all an IP address and network access? Yes, it is possible. Will they be happy with the performance? I seriously doubt it. Can you yell to me all the way from one end of a football field and me hear you? Maybe. would I be able to understand you? If there is no wind and no other noise, possibly. Would it be frustrating? Most likely.

Wireless works the same way. Just because you can hear the signal, does not mean it will be a good signal. And, if there are a lot of people sending similar signals in the same space at the same time, it becomes difficult for anyone to have an intelligible conversation.

I hope this helps.

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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
To add a little to @JonathanSpitfire's excellent answer, CISCO has a whitepaper that I can't locate at the moment that shows that enough wireless devices in an area can create enough self-interference to disable the entire network.  Also... wireless is a timeshare system.  As devices connect, each is given a time slot from the router.  Once again, enough devices and you don't have time for them to perform well because they are not getting enough connection time.  And this assumes that you are not having any interference from your neighbors at that location.  Here in my apartment, I have up to 59 wireless networks operating at once.  Do you know how many are running at that location?
Daniel SheppardSenior Network Analyst - Core & PerimeterCommented:
You will want more then 1 AP for this.

Another product to look at is Ruckus.  HIPPA is canada, so you may find only a few ruckus dealers in Canada.

Depending on the city, it may only be 1.

That said, try looking up Cisco partners in your area and call around.  Don't just go with one.

My last purchase for where I work, one vendor was $150 cheaper.
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Daniel SheppardSenior Network Analyst - Core & PerimeterCommented:
*per license, for veeam.  I have had differences of $1000+ dollars with Cisco hardware as well.
JonathanSpitfireSenior Solutions EngineerCommented:
Thanks Dave. Here are some whitepapers that are good information, pertinent to the discussion:

20 Myths of Wi-Fi Interference - Cisco

Wireless LAN Design Guide for High Density Client Environments in Higher Education

Hope this helps!

JonathanSpitfireSenior Solutions EngineerCommented:
Daniel - HIPPA is Canada? Please explain what you mean by this statement. Here in the USA, HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.


Hope this helps!

Daniel SheppardSenior Network Analyst - Core & PerimeterCommented:
Sorry, I got it mixed up, I was thinking pepida.

Long day...
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
JonathanSpitfire, those are great links!
Deerek11Author Commented:
Thanks, I never had to do a predictive survey before is this something I can do or will I need to out source this and if so where do I look to find someone to complete the survey?
Aaron TomoskyDirector of Solutions ConsultingCommented:
Some gear has multiple antenna streams to handle lots of users on one access point. Look at Meraki, aerohive, ruckus, and xirrus. They all can do pretty dense deployments.

Personally I had an Meraki mr24 doing 50 iPads at a time. Ymmv with more than that.
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