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Ideal number of WLAN users

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by Ev1LrYu, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Ev1LrYu

    Ev1LrYu

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    Hi TPU,

    We currently have ~40 computers on wired LAN, and since a majority only use it for general browsing we were thinking of moving to WLAN (using pcie cards) so as to clean up cables (we are expanding to an adjacent office).

    Should the number of users per access point be a concern? Anything else we should consider in such a setup?

    TIA
  2. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    oh god no. stay wired.


    the thing with wireless, is you all share bandwidth - and if you're using 802.11b/g/n, that means the 2.4GHz band, which is also shared with mobile phones wifi, and bluetooth.


    40 computers with 40 users with mobile phones on the wifi as well, with 40 bluetooth connections... lets just say speed will be horrible, and dropouts will be common.


    its useful if you can get one centralised AP for a backup connection/mobile users, but you do NOT want wifi as your primary connection.
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  3. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    With WiFi the amount of bandwidth is shared between all users. So if you have a Wireless G setup, the 54Mb/s will be shared. This is probably fine for ~10 users, but 40 would probably be a bit much, because it only takes one or two of them to be downloading a big file and it will kill the speed for everyone else. Wireless N helps the situation, but I still wouldn't want 40 people on the same access point. IMO, unless you are going with some pretty high end dual-radio access points, I'd say ideally 10 users per access point is about as much as I would feel comfortable with. But I'd stay wired, wireless is never as good and isn't reliable enough for an office environment, IMO.
    Ev1LrYu says thanks.
    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  4. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    ^ what he said too, but keeping in mind that even if you have 10 access points, they still share the same 2.4GHz spectrum.


    Wifi B/G you can split over channels 1/6/11 so that you can have three of them without conflicting (so you get three networks with 54Mb/s each), but N takes up two of those primary channels worth.


    Basically, you're running out of bandwidth you can spread - and every other device, even not part of your network using that 2.4GHz band (as i said, bluetooth, and any other networks nearby - including on mobile phones if people use it) is eating into that bandwidth.
  5. Ev1LrYu

    Ev1LrYu

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    Actually we only explored the idea when our primary ISP was acting up. We were thinking that if the workstations were wireless it would be easy switching from one connection to another. Looks like the cost could really ramp up as more units are thrown into the mix (as well as splitting bandwidth).

    Good thing I asked before we jumped into this :D gotta love TPU
  6. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    just get a core router with two WAN inputs? they can automatically swap to the second when the first is down.

    you can get home user routers with that feature for just a few hundred these days, which is small costs compared to what you'd pay for wifi.
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  7. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    Wired is best (relatively secure, faster, adds value to the building, plug n' play, virtually every computer supports it, etc.). Just get creative about where to run them and place jacks. It is worth the effort.
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    Crunching for Team TPU
  8. streetfighter 2

    streetfighter 2 New Member

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    I agree with everyone else, you should only use wireless as a last resort . . . Like if you dropped an anvil on your foot, your cellphone broke, no one was around, the nearest wired desktop would require you to cut off your foot, but you were holding a laptop with wireless. Personally I'd still cut off my foot just to use the wired connection, but to each their own. :D
    I think the technical term is WAN failover which is a general term for lots of technologies (ie. HSRP, CARP, VRRP, various server implementations, etc.).
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  9. Ev1LrYu

    Ev1LrYu

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    this seems relevant :D

    [​IMG]
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  10. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    Or worst case buy some powerline ethernet plugs and use those. It isn't perfect but it is a hell of a lot better than wireless.:toast:
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    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  11. Ev1LrYu

    Ev1LrYu

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    wow, never knew about powerline ethernet. thanks newtekie1! :toast:
  12. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    powerline aka homeplug is useful to link the core router to secondaries, but it has the same problem as wifi - all the plugs on the electrical circuit share the same bandwidth pool.
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  13. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    Either way you look at it, they are all going to be sharing the same bandwidth pool, even with ethernet. But at least with powerline they are sharing a hell of a lot more bandwidth than wifi. If the primary use is just sharing a single internet connection and browsing the net, the shared bandwidth of powerline shouldn't be an issue, because the shared bandwidth of the internet will be lower anyway.

    Same thing if they are using a local server that everyone accesses(and with 40 users you should if they are sharing files), even with ethernet, if you have a single connection to that server then everyone is sharing that bandwidth.

    The only place powerline will show a significant disadvantage due to the way it shares bandwidth is if everyone is sharing files between their personal workstations, and really with 40+ workstations that shouldn't be happening.
    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  14. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    thats what i meant newtekie, if they're using it to share the internet connection, its fine - its the local traffic that bogs it down. so a switch at the end of the homeplug divided up between a heap of users helps prevent that, as opposed to say, a homeplug per PC.
  15. Steevo

    Steevo

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    backplane bandwidth, read about it.


    That is the largest limiting factor in most networks and why many companies use cascading hub setups with uplink ports.



    When you look at newegg and see a $50 switch VS a $3000 switch the reason is one switch is meant for commercial use and one for home.
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    10 Million points folded for TPU
  16. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    Ethernet over power interfers with short wave radios. :x
    Crunching for Team TPU

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