Which AP to use?

Configuration and operational information about stumbled AP's

Which AP to use?

Postby coolchip » Wed Apr 16, 2003 7:10 pm

We are going do some tests with wireless internet access in the press rooms at a couple of different Race Tracks. We anticipate about 50 to 70 users, both wired and wireless. We have no idea how many people will access with wireless. What AP would you guys suggest to handle this amount of traffic? I use a WAP11 at home with at most 4 users with no trouble, but don't think it could handle 50 users at once. Price is not an object, but we don't want to go overboard. I have been looking at Ciscos Aironet 350 and the Orinocos. Has anyone had any on hands experiance with this many users on an AP?
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Postby TheSovereign » Wed Apr 16, 2003 9:45 pm

orinoco ap 1000 with 2 cards handle without constraint 48 users i believe or is it 24....i know its some multiple of 12
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Postby agentgrn » Wed Apr 16, 2003 10:23 pm

If you have a reasonable budget available, I would recommend the Cisco Aironet 350. You didn't say how much area you'd have to cover, so you might need 2 APs in order to make it happen.

Don't forget...70 users are going to be trying to share 11mbps of bandwidth. On a wired CSMA/CD ethernet, this can be trouble enough...but with the added overhead of wireless, you might run into problems with only 1 AP.

What quantity of traffic are you expecting to push through these?
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Postby Thorn » Thu Apr 17, 2003 4:07 am

A WAP11 will allow 30 users connections, maxium. It's right in the specs. They are great for SOHO use, but would be almost worthless for this type of application. TheSovereign is correct, get a multicard, card swappable AP. (Although I'd say an AP-2000.) Those units allow for future expansion by adding a second card, and upgrade paths to 802.11a and 802.11g, all in the same unit.

Plan on the wireless connections growing dramatically. No matter how many you get initially, the number will only go up.

Depending on a number of factors, the overall network design may be more critical than the AP (or APs.) For instance, will the users be roaming between APs or will they be staying in range of one AP? Are those people using the wired connections on the same subnet as the AP?

Other considerations: Is it just the Press Box or will other areas need wireless. (Clubhouse? POS systems for the consession stands? Pits or Paddock area? Etc., etc.) You should consider finding a wireless network consultant in your area. You might also be surprised by the amount of wireless aready in use by people such as owners/teams and press on actual race days. I'd stongly suggest conducting a site-survey on racing and non-racing days.
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Postby coolchip » Thu Apr 17, 2003 8:12 am

Alot of great points I did not consider. We will only be responsible for the press rooms that are located inside a building in two different rooms. Each room will have its own AP and broadband connection. Currently we provide 40 dial up connections in one room for the Dead Line Press. These people are only uploading text. We figured one AP and access to wired connections in this room. The other room is for the photo people. Currently we provide them with 20 dial ups and 3 ISDN lines. These guys are uploading digital photos. The problem we had this weekend at Long Beach was nobody had an ISDN modem / router. We do not provide the modems, just the circuit (local Telco). Thats when we were asked to looking into wireless for next year. We are going to do a trial in Denver in August, so I have plenty of time to test. Our biggest concern is the Photo room, being able to provide enough bandwidth for these guys. We are looking at the AP-2000, for just the reasons you stated Thorn, its easy to upgrade. We will be using ADSL lines for the broadband, and have access to as many as we need (768/768). So my question is, should we put two AP's in the press rooms on different channels, and a third DSL for the hardwired people?
We did in fact do a site survey of sorts ( we stumbled around the track pic attached ), but like I mentioned, the press rooms are inside and actually below ground level so no interference with the other AP's would happen.

Thanks for all your help.
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Postby blackwave » Thu Apr 17, 2003 8:23 am

btw, you keep mentioning rooms... If you are not already aware, aps have a tendency to not stay within the confines of a room. :)
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Postby Thorn » Thu Apr 17, 2003 8:46 am

I'd go with your plan: Start with the AP-2000 to service both rooms, and the DSL line. Put some monitoring software on to watch you network loads (both wired and wireless.) Then you can make some intelligent decisions about the future.

You should probably still consider hiring a consultant to help optimize the whole thing.
=======================

Long Beach? Like the F1 circuit? Cool! If you do need a consultant, Fungus, Blackwave and a lot of the others are a lot closer, but I'd fly out there. :D
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Smartbridges

Postby hydro27405 » Thu Apr 17, 2003 10:05 am

I would use (and do use) the smartbridge airpoint pro they have an indoor and outdoor version. Can handle 128 connections and hold 628 mac addresses.
http://www.smartbridges.com

Sorry I have'nt posted my review yet Thorn, will try to this weekend. Things been hairy in my wireless world do to storms.
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Postby coolchip » Thu Apr 17, 2003 6:12 pm

Thanks for all the input everyone.

Good point blackwave, we are going to take an AP down to the rooms used for the press rooms and see how far the signal travels. We can then decide what security we will use. We really don't want to lock it totally down.

I like the idea of a consultant as well. Although the Long Beach race is a year away (anyone know how I can simulate 50+ users).

Looks like we are going with the AP-2000's, now just to find a good deal on a couple of them.
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Postby agentgrn » Thu Apr 17, 2003 8:23 pm

Thorn's got an important point about doing a site survey...and I would very highly recommend doing one at another race or arrange for one to be done.

The 2.4gig part of the spectrum isn't exactly free...and you'll find that it may be extremely crowded and susceptible to interference. I have sporadic problems in my apartment at night with my wireless...but I'm too lazy to actually go around with the yagi and find the source.

Add in a bunch of cordless phones, perhaps a couple of wireless video transmitters and your AP range is going to be severely limited...so while you may do a network that can crank up to 100 simultaneous wireless users under a test, it won't do any good at all once everyone is cranking out mad RF during the race.
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Postby coolchip » Thu Apr 17, 2003 9:34 pm

agentgrn,
more good info, thanks for you input.
We did do a survey of the track using netstumber, a laptop with an orinoco card and 5db omni (see attached picture on an above post). We were unable to get a signal from any of the AP's we picked up outside when we were inside the press rooms. The press rooms are located inside below ground level, no windows. We are going to do a test at Denver in August, but I have no idea what the press rooms look like or where they are at. Our main concern is the Long Beach, CA track but we want to setup at Denver to see how the equipment works. Long Beach draws more press than almost all other tracks on the CART circuit. We have a whole year for R&D before the next race at Long Beach, and who knows what technology will be available then.:D
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