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Old Jan 30, 2013, 08:52 AM   #1
jmoody76
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Wireless Suggestions

I am setting up a wireless network for a company with about 30 Macs. I usually use Cisco Access points but they are a little out of their price range. I don't have much experience with Apple's wireless products but I have a little. I'm not sure I would go with a TimeCapsule because I set one up and after a few months it became very slow. I think it couldn't handle the TimeMachine backups and the wireless at the ame time and that was for a network with only 6 Macs on it. I turned off the wirless and got an AirPort Express. It is working fine but I'm curious if anyone has setup a larger network with them. I have two buildings that need to be covered and am probably looking at two access points per building. The buildings are connected via fiber.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 01:49 PM   #2
switon
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RE: 802.11ac

Hi jmoody76,

I don't have much experience with 802.11ac (as I only have a small network using it), but from everything I read it seems that an 802.11ac should provide both greater range as well as greater bandwidth. In particular, I'd look into the Netgear R6300 and the Asus RT-AC66U routers. Even though your Macs are using N, the AC routers should provide better service to your N devices than just a simple N router. And if you have one Mac that especially requires a fast wireless, say a Mac running a projector in a theater, then you can always get one of the AC USB dongles to make an AC connection to your AC router, although you have to be careful to make certain that the OS X drivers for the AC dongles exist.

I also suspect that the next "round" of upgrades to Mac computers will incorporate 802.11ac.

Regards,
Switon

P.S. Of course, the beauty of the Apple AEBs/AEs/TCs routers are that they work nicely together and the AEs can readily extend a wireless AEB AP, so if you find that your wireless coverage is lacking in some area, you can add an AE to provide better coverage.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 09:00 PM   #3
jmoody76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switon View Post
P.S. Of course, the beauty of the Apple AEBs/AEs/TCs routers are that they work nicely together and the AEs can readily extend a wireless AEB AP, so if you find that your wireless coverage is lacking in some area, you can add an AE to provide better coverage.
That is the one thing that I liked is that they do seem to work together well. It was was easier adding a second one but I wonder if they are really business class and can handle the multiple connections and traffic. I crushed the TimeCapsule but when I turned off the wireless on it and just setup an Airport Extreme it was able to handle all of the traffic including the TimeMachine traffic that passing through it to the TimeCapsule.
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 05:53 AM   #4
switon
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RE: two APs...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoody76 View Post
That is the one thing that I liked is that they do seem to work together well. It was was easier adding a second one but I wonder if they are really business class and can handle the multiple connections and traffic. I crushed the TimeCapsule but when I turned off the wireless on it and just setup an Airport Extreme it was able to handle all of the traffic including the TimeMachine traffic that passing through it to the TimeCapsule.
Hi jmoody76,

Of course, instead of turning off the TC's wireless and routing all wireless through the AEB to the TC for TM backups, you would make the TC one AP and the AEB another AP and then split some of the Macs to use the TC's AP with the rest using the AEB's AP. This would lessen the wireless strain on the AEB while not allowing all wireless traffic through the AEB. In fact, you could run the two APs on different bands, one of the 2.4GHz and the other on the 5GHz band.

May I ask how close together are the AEB and TC? If they are "close", then I have found that they can experience enhanced radio interference that causes one radio or the other to experience dropouts occasionally. If your AEB and TC were too close together, this could have caused the problems for the TC and the reason why it wasn't working well, but once you switched it off then the AEB was able to handle the wireless traffic with aplomb. Did you try the experiment the other way around, turning off the AEB wireless and leaving the TC's radio on? ...just another thought...

Regards,
Switon
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 06:19 AM   #5
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switon View Post
I don't have much experience with 802.11ac (as I only have a small network using it), but from everything I read it seems that an 802.11ac should provide both greater range as well as greater bandwidth.
802.11ac runs purely in the 5 GHz band, so its range is poor. It provides a massive increase in bandwidth over 802.11n operating at 5 GHz, but it wasn't designed with distance in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoody76 View Post
That is the one thing that I liked is that they do seem to work together well. It was was easier adding a second one but I wonder if they are really business class and can handle the multiple connections and traffic. I crushed the TimeCapsule but when I turned off the wireless on it and just setup an Airport Extreme it was able to handle all of the traffic including the TimeMachine traffic that passing through it to the TimeCapsule.
Apple's networking equipment is not corporate-class. The networking aspect of the Time Capsule should be identical to the Airport Extreme, but the backup aspect probably wasn't designed to handle more than five or six computers at max (what you'd expect a family to have). Depending on the type of traffic that the business is carrying out, the Airport Extreme probably could work, but I'm not sure how optimal it would be.

Out of curiosity, since this is a business with 30 systems, why is wireless the main connectivity? It seems like it would be cheaper and easier to just hook everything up through network switches.
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 07:05 AM   #6
switon
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RE: Yes, but 802.11ac routers are also compatible with...

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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
802.11ac runs purely in the 5 GHz band, so its range is poor. It provides a massive increase in bandwidth over 802.11n operating at 5 GHz, but it wasn't designed with distance in mind.


Apple's networking equipment is not corporate-class. The networking aspect of the Time Capsule should be identical to the Airport Extreme, but the backup aspect probably wasn't designed to handle more than five or six computers at max (what you'd expect a family to have). Depending on the type of traffic that the business is carrying out, the Airport Extreme probably could work, but I'm not sure how optimal it would be.

Out of curiosity, since this is a business with 30 systems, why is wireless the main connectivity? It seems like it would be cheaper and easier to just hook everything up through network switches.
Hi Ledgem,

Agreed, but the current cheaper 802.11ac routers, such as the Netgear and Asus units, are also compatible with 802.11a/g/n and thus work on both radio bands. From what I've read they have even better range than the corresponding 802.11n routers, perhaps because of better antennae.

And I can understand the push for a business, even with 30 systems, to go wireless instead of wired, especially if those systems are portables. Depending upon how/whether the building is wired already, wired can be expensive and time consuming while wireless can be less expensive and faster to install. (Of course, if the building uses metal studs, then wireless may not be an option.) But, of course, it depends upon the actual bandwidth requirements, as wired can be much faster under most conditions than wireless. So, if the business does not require a lot of heavy traffic to a server, say a database server, then wireless may meet the bandwidth requirements and be cheaper and easier to implement. This is especially true if the business machines consists of a lot of laptops or the business is thinking of switching to primarily laptops.

...just my opinion...and sometimes I wish powerline networking worked better...

Regards,
Switon

Last edited by switon; Jan 31, 2013 at 11:16 AM. Reason: corrected spelling (boy, I hate spelling correctors)
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 07:15 AM   #7
jmoody76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Out of curiosity, since this is a business with 30 systems, why is wireless the main connectivity? It seems like it would be cheaper and easier to just hook everything up through network switches.
They are constantly rearranging and tearing down walls so the network pulls are just an added expense and half of their computers are laptops and they like to roam around.
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 04:38 PM   #8
freejazz-man
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There is no true roaming with apple routers, right?

If they aren't willing to go for wired connections, I don't see much of a purpose in being extra cheap about a wireless solution.

Have you tried something like peplink? They offer a wireless networking products that include true roaming for way cheaper than cisco.

I too prefer name brands, we have a very nice cisco switch for our core - but we got a peplink load balancer for our ISPs and it's been performing quite nicely. Not as many features, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper.
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 07:57 PM   #9
mbecker16
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Check this out:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833122443

I use one of these in a office setup and it works great so far.

It comes with two APs and 1 management unit, You can then buy more of the same access point to expand. I'm not sure if it's out of your price range or not.
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 08:33 PM   #10
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switon View Post
Agreed, but the current cheaper 802.11ac routers, such as the Netgear and Asus units, are also compatible with 802.11a/g/n and thus work on both radio bands. From what I've read they have even better range than the corresponding 802.11n routers, perhaps because of better antennae.
I haven't read about the 802.11ac routers offering superior performance on the 2.4 GHz band. If it's true, then I suppose it could be a selling point. Otherwise, my concern would be that they're paying a premium for 802.11ac when they have nothing to gain from it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmont.com View Post
Since your main network infrastructure depends on Wireless, you should have at least 2-3 access points for 30 computers in my opinion. It will cover both distance and bandwidth wise.Airport Extremes are good and easy to set up.
Agreed. It could also help with load balancing, so that instead of having 30 systems on one router, you might have 15 or so. I don't know what the maximum number of devices that an Airport Extreme can comfortably work with is - the most I've loaded onto mine was seven. I will say that it's the most stable router I've owned, beating out even the venerable D-Link DGL-4300 (which, admittedly, is pretty dated by today's standards).
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 06:18 AM   #11
switon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I haven't read about the 802.11ac routers offering superior performance on the 2.4 GHz band. If it's true, then I suppose it could be a selling point. Otherwise, my concern would be that they're paying a premium for 802.11ac when they have nothing to gain from it.
Advertisements and reviews: It is always hard to believe what one reads in reviews, as the results reported are seldom done under any sort of controlled conditions, but I have read reviews stating that the AC router had a better range than the equivalent N router from the same manufacturer -- which I attributed to better antennae at the time. The cheap 802.11ac routers sell for less than $200 (street price), so you really aren't paying much of a premium to gain nothing. And assuming the next round of laptops incorporate 802.11ac radios then you may have a lot to gain in the near future.

...as I said, it is just an alternative thought...

Switon
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 11:49 AM   #12
jmoody76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbecker16 View Post
Check this out:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833122443

I use one of these in a office setup and it works great so far.

It comes with two APs and 1 management unit, You can then buy more of the same access point to expand. I'm not sure if it's out of your price range or not.
That looks interesting. It moght be a little out of the praice range but if it offers true roaming I might be able to get it approved. Do you know if it offers true roaming?
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 06:25 PM   #13
freejazz-man
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It doesn't list it under the features so you can be sure it doesn't have it.

don't let them be total cheap-asses or you are going to get stuck picking up the pieces for the solution that doesn't do everything they want. As far as I know there is no way you are going to get a true wireless roaming at the price point you've mentioned

Last edited by freejazz-man; Feb 4, 2013 at 06:31 PM.
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