Airport Extreme right for my use?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by svhs11, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. svhs11 macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2007
    Hello, I am a student whose in charge of technology related problems/issues at my high school. Our Science Department would like to get a wifi router to use for the teachers laptops for wireless internet. At most there would be around 10 users using the wifi all within a diameter of around 250-300 feet max. Schools internet I'm assuming, (don't know for sure) is fast, must be 2mbps + could be as low as 1mbps. all I know is that it uses fiber optics, cisco router for the Ethernet cables. Each classroom has 20+ Ethernet ports but for ease of use the teachers want wifi.
    The signal will have to go through walls, how well does the signal of the Airport hold up through walls? And final questions is would you recommend the airport extreme for such a usage as this? Or would you recommend a more "rugged" wifi router?
    I personally own the Aiport extreme at home and will most likely bring it in to test it out, but wanted others opinions on the matter. Let me know if you need more details. Let's also assume the budget is around 400 bucks USD.
    Any Help would be greatly appreciated!
  2. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    Depends on what the walls are made of, or, what runs through the walls. Your walls at home are most likely wallboard and wood studs. Commercial buildings can be anything from concrete to metal studs.

    What do you mean by rugged? Is it getting strapped to the class hampster and sent around the room?
  3. soccersquirt82 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2008
    I would think that the Airport Extreme would be fine. As a warning, the Apple website says, "Share your wireless network with up to 50 users."
  4. Indohottie macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2004
    also depends on how much money the school wants to spend.. you can find cheaper alternatives then the airport extreme.
  5. joeconvert macrumors 6502

    Nov 18, 2003
    Don't take this the wrong way, but based upon your description of the Internet connection, are you the right person to evaluate, install and more importantly configure this device for what is semi-enterprise use?
  6. svhs11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2007
    Thanks, yeah I'm probably not most fit for the position but, have the most knowledge of wifi at the school. The districts tech guys have enough trouble keeping the system running day to day, sadly enough. The walls are mainly made up of metal framework. By rugged I meant a "commercial" grade/more advanced. Thanks for the help!
  7. joeconvert macrumors 6502

    Nov 18, 2003
    A couple of points then. The Airport Extreme is a nice consumer piece of hardware, a bit pricey, but nice.

    You should probably get on the the same page with the IT folks. They may have management tools for Cisco (since you mentioned Cisco switches- probably routers too) gear, and prefer to have compatible hardware for wireless. I haven't priced enterprise wireless gear in a long time, but you may be able to get a basic access point with your budget.

    If they are ok with non-vendor specific gear, you should also probably verify wireless policies for the district and configure your APE to follow them as closely as possible. There are likely some authentication options that the APE won't necessarily support for you. Of course there is always the basic encryption and MAC address filter to consider, but Apple's software makes those pretty easy.

    On range I think you may have trouble. As others have noted the wall construction might be a bit problematic. I know my APE's range is decent, but not incredible (and I have no metal or concrete in my walls) I think your site survey idea with your personal gear is sound. That will give you answers that none of us speculating will give you.

    Let us know how it works it out. I had an old UFO APE, and recently purchased a new one when it failed. They are not the best value going, but I am getting ready to use the USB2 connection for some basic NAS - so between that and the OS X native config tools, I still find it worth the premium.
  8. jackmoney macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2008

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