Best Wireless Choice(s) for Portable Auction Software System

N8iveIT
N8iveIT used Ask the Experts™
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Some friends are purchasing a portable auction system running on a few laptops. This system is being purchased from scratch, so the technology on the laptops and networking hardware is open for debate as well.

Since the system will be portable and each auction location will have different "levels of local WiFi interference", I want a cost-effective wireless system which will "blow a hole in the atmosphere" wherever they will be for each auction. Coverage shouldn't need to be more than 3-4 acres (max) but a single auction may have a house, barn and steel building which would need coverage on the inside as items are being sold.

As a result, I'm wondering:
  • Are there technologies we should focus on (or stay away from)?
  • Is there hardware we should focus on (or stay away from)?
  • Are there brand(s) we should consider (or stay away from)?
  • Are there antenna(s) we should invest in (I realize this may dictate brand(s))?

I would rather not use WiFi boosters / amplifiers but they may occasionally be in basements, barns, steel buildings, etcetera. I would also rather keep it as open as possible (i.e. interchangeable antennas as needs arise (if special antennas end up being part of the solution). I've had experience with Cisco, Ruckus and your standard everyday brands like Linksys, NetGear, etcetera but am brand agnostic, as long as it is cost-effective, reliable and the coverage is what it needs to be. In the future, they may invest in better wireless technology but they are starting out and wanting to keep costs lower at this time. Any "more expensive" advice will be considered for future purchases, once they are established.

(The software is purely Windows-based, on Windows 7 or higher and is built to run on a peer-to-peer network. All computer hardware will be laptops.)

What would you do?
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With any WiFi network covering areas such as a metal barn, or a basement, placement will be critical, if you need to go comepletely "wire free", then I would suggest looking at mesh networking such as http://dl.ubnt.com/datasheets/unifi/UniFi_AC_Mesh_DS.pdf
Thank-you! I will look at this and let you know if I have any questions on using a mesh.
I looked at this but for an auctioneering system, it basically needs to be able to transmit a short row of data every 15-30 seconds.

To keep costs down, I may just stay with 2.4 on a single outdoor AP (from Ubiquiti) and possibly look at mesh later when their business is more established and depending on how many issues we have ...

Your thoughts?
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As per my previous, if you need to cover a large area reliably when the area includes metal buildings and basements, it is unlikely that a single AP will suffice.

Having a "WiFi booster" is unlikely to make much improvement for gatting signal through the ground, or through a metal wall, as the signal has to go in both directions (from the client to the AP as well as the AP to the client). Having a "booster" can help if there is line of site, but extended range, but usually it is better to use higher gain antennas than an amplifier.

As the location is different each time it is used, irt is quite possible that for some locations a singl;e AP will work perfectly, and for others you might need half a dozen APs.

Only a site survey can determine what is neede for a specific site.
Ultimately, I went with a PepWave Surf SOHO router and a Ubiquiti PICO M2-H US outdoor AP.

Basics are covered and if something more is needed, minimal is invested and can go bigger / better as needed.

Since only one person was involved in the conversation, they get all the points.

Thank-you ArneLovious!
Thank-you for sharing!

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