Need router for higher volume traffic (possibly mulit-WAN)

I just did some wiring in a school to extend the internal network.  I also had to replace a Cisco Aironet WAP (one of 6 working together.)  They complain that the network gets slow as soon as it gets busy.  They probably have less than 30 users at once right now but they are planning to purchase 150 Chromebooks (it's a small arts high school.)  

Right now they use 4 AT&T modems (maybe 12Mbps each) connected to a Netgear Firewall SRX5308 which has 4 WAN ports and is a gigabit router.  In looking for an alternative for them I have read reviews of this product and several users complain that is has serious problems when it gets above 20 users.  It's also relatively cheap.  It's also the only product I see when I search for a 4 WAN load balancing router.  I see there are pricier routers that have multiple ports that can be tasked as WAN ports but this gets me into a class I'm not familiar with.  

So I'm asking opinions for two scenarios:

1. Can anyone recommend a router that can handle 100+ users (I'm guessing that not all Chromebooks will be connected at a time - it's an arts school and I hear pianos playing and see kids running around in dance outfits.) and can load balance 4 WAN connections?

2. I'm hoping they can talk to the Catholic church that owns the building and get them to permit them to switch to Comcast (which will deliver around 150Mbps near downtown in Chicago.)  They were told no in the past but I think they need to insist.  We'll see how that goes.  So if I don't need load balancing, what would be an appropriate router?  This is my only customer with more than 30 computers.

Any advice would be appreciated!
greytechguyAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

giltjrCommented:
Since you mentioned "WAP", when you say "router" are you talking about a WAP that also does routing?  Because most WAPs, even the best commercial/enterprise  grade WAPs start having performance problems once you get  over 20 wireless clients connected.

Or when you say "router" do you mean a L3 device that does NOT have any Wireless capability?
0
giltjrCommented:
Follow up question:  Exactly which current device are you trying to replace?

I looked at the specs for Netgear Firewall SRX5308  and that should easily be able to handle 100 users.  It's rated at 900+ Mbps WAN-to-LAN through-put and 200,000 concurrent connections.    If you are having performance problems at the firewall, I would make sure that it is correctly load balancing the 4 WAN ports.

I would also verify that any/all wireless connects are getting properly balanced across all WAPs.  Again, even the best WAPs are going to start having performance problems once you get more than 20 wireless connections.
0
Aaron TomoskySD-WAN SimplifiedCommented:
Definitely split up the wap/router requirements.
For the router, depending on your security settings, you should be fine with a sonicwall nsa3600. I don't personally recommend sonic points. Meraki is my go to wap and they can handle the density of a school classroom deployment.
0
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

greytechguyAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your responses.  The school has 6 Cisco Aironet 1130ag WAPs deployed 2 per floor on 3 floors.  They are all using the same SSID. I must admit I found the Web interface difficult to understand, but I found the config.txt file and simply changed the name and ip address of each unit being replaced (you could connect to them but they were inconsistently connecting to the Internet so I purchased two units and reprogrammed them as mentioned above.  They both work fine now.

They are all pointing to the Netgear SRX5308.  Since I found a few reviews of the Netgear complaining about performance problems, I assumed this was the problem.  So if all these WAPs working together can only handle 20 connections, this may be the problem (they are also older G models.)  So maybe I should be looking to upgrade the WAPs?  I'm going to look into Aaron's recommendations but I'm still listening to all.
0
greytechguyAuthor Commented:
Per giltjr

Thanks for the response.  I see the 4 modems connected to the Netgear WAN inputs.  How do I check to see if they are configured correctly (I'll start reading about that in the manual but I'd appreciate any ideas you have.)
0
giltjrCommented:
On the firewall issue the command:

show net wan port_setup "wanport"

For each of the 4 WAN ports and see what mode they are in.  They should be in load-balancing mode and Weighted-LB is supposed to be the best load balancing mode to be in.
0
greytechguyAuthor Commented:
We're going back to the school Monday and I will try giltjr's "show net" command.  The system works fine now for a fairly small network of users but as soon as the students are invited in it will slow down.  So at this point we're planning to create a new parallel network with 8 Ubiquiti Unifi Pro WAPs.  These are supposed to be able to handle 100 concurrent connections each.  With 2 on each of the 4 floors and with teachers and staff on the Ciscos the potential problems will be at the server rack.  They're looking into changing to Comcast (it depends on whether they can get out of the contract with ATT - Comcast may be induced to buy them out.)  

So the subject may come down to the quality of the switches and firewall / router.  I am told that the students will have access to the network with both phones (which we should assume will always be connected) and chromebooks which, in a school spend a fair amount of time singing, dancing, acting, and playing instruments, may go in and out.
0
Aaron TomoskySD-WAN SimplifiedCommented:
How many classrooms per floor and how many students per classroom? If you want the unifi to work well, don't plan for 100 users per device as normal, more like 30-40. Tune down their power and add more if need be.
0
giltjrCommented:
You need to figure out exactly what they are complaining about.  In  most cases when somebody talks about slow ups when Wifi is involved it the WiFi network.  Most wired networks can handle way more traffic than the WiFi network.

So is it the WiFi clients that are complaining?  What are they specifically complaining about?
Meaning services/hosts on the Internet or services/hosts that are internal to your network.

If the Internet, then you need to get more than 48 Mbps of Internet traffic.   If on your internal network, then you need to pin point in more detail what services/hosts.
0

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
greytechguyAuthor Commented:
This school is a little different that normal.  There is an east and west wing for every floor.  Only on the west side of two of the floors are there regular classrooms with chairs and a blackboard.  Most of the rest of the classes are set up for dance, or band, or theatre.  Maximum class size is about 22.  What I've observed is that there can be as many as 40 or so students on one wing of a floor and most of them will not be using their Chromebooks at any particular moment.  They will probably all be connected to the Wi-Fi with their phones - but mostly passively.  I see most of the students doing something other than working on computers and phones most of the time.  So I think a 100 connection WAP may be enough to handle them on any given wing.  It would be nice to test this assumption in some way first though.
0
Aaron TomoskySD-WAN SimplifiedCommented:
cleanup
0
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Routers

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.