Commercial Wireless Router

NeoGohan

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Mar 6, 2005
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So we have 3 wireless home routers at work that we use to give wireless access to people. I was wondering if the more expensive commercial wireless routers' signal are strong enough to replace all 3 since they are so much more expensive. I don't know too much about these commercial routers so I thought I'd ask here.
 

NeoGohan

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Mar 6, 2005
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I don't know an actual number of area covered but we have the wireless routers wirelessly bridged together. The two that are bridged to the main router get about 25-50%(closer to 25%) reception.

One of the commercial routers I am looking at is the Cisco 881W wireless router. We're going to use RADIUS and seeing if we can also take down two wireless routers with this one router. It's not necessary, but nice to use less routers if possible.
 

moetop

[H]ard|Gawd
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Apr 8, 2004
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I do not understand the need for the 881. Those have tons of crap you won’t use from your description. What about a 1250 http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps8382/index.html Just make sure NOT to get the LWAPP Lightweight version (Unless you want to invest in a controller) you want the autonomous one, And make sure you order the one with the radios in it already.. :) and yes it supports radius.

It supports external antennas, and bridging if you can't get the range / coverage you need with one. NOTE you can’t use standard AF line power and run both radios on a 1250. You either need AT power, a POE injector (with enough power (AT)), or a power supply at the Accesspoint.
 

NeoGohan

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Mar 6, 2005
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So this 1250 isn't a router right? I think I might be looking for a router. But hell what do I know. I barely understood anything you said about the 1250 lol.

We want to be able to put something in place to help with logging users actions as well. We were notified that one of our users downloaded a movie but we couldn't track who it was. That's why we wanted to use RADIUS, but I'm not even sure if that would do the trick?

Any advice would be great guys. I was looking at the 881W because I assumed it had a way to send logs to a computer for storage.
 

Matt Welke

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 17, 2004
Messages
354
Actually, if I were you, I'd forget about commercial routers and look into consumer routers that are customizable with firmware and external antennas.

DD-WRT is a firmware for a whole bunch of routers that makes them more stable and allows for tons of customization. I personally don't use RADIUS but I do believe it has support for it as well.

The WRT-54GL (special version of the common blue box router) supports this firmware and has a good amount of memory. It also allows you to hook up external antennas. You can get big omnidirectional antennas and cover your entire office with just one router, or you can also use directional antennas and do links that way.

This would probably run you far less than a commercial router and would probably perform better.
 

NeoGohan

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Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
2,118
Actually, if I were you, I'd forget about commercial routers and look into consumer routers that are customizable with firmware and external antennas.

DD-WRT is a firmware for a whole bunch of routers that makes them more stable and allows for tons of customization. I personally don't use RADIUS but I do believe it has support for it as well.

The WRT-54GL (special version of the common blue box router) supports this firmware and has a good amount of memory. It also allows you to hook up external antennas. You can get big omnidirectional antennas and cover your entire office with just one router, or you can also use directional antennas and do links that way.

This would probably run you far less than a commercial router and would probably perform better.

We're currently running that right now. We have 2 routers with DDW-RT on them. We're just exploring other options as we are trying to redo how these wireless routers are connected. But for now we are trying to find a better method to log users usage.
 

Striker109

Weaksauce
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Nov 4, 2009
Messages
94
There is another issue that hasn't been brought up yet. A "commercial grade" wireless access point might be able to broadcast the signal to cover the entire area. However, your receiving units (ie laptops, cell phones, PDAs, etc) have consumer based network cards installed. These are usually several times less powerful than their commercial counterparts. They may not be powerful enough to talk back to the access point.

As I see it you have four options:

  1. Leave it as-is.
  2. Install a WLAN controller and 2 or 3 access points that are controlled by it. All APs share the same SSID and encryption. The controller will manage the wireless devices and will hand off the connection properly to closer in-range APs as the device(s) moves around the work area.
  3. Install 3 identical access points with the same SSID and encryption settings. Set AP1 on Channel 1, AP2 on Channel 6, and AP3 on Channel 11. Those 3 channels do not overlap and you can roam around without any issues.
  4. Install 1 or 2 commercial grade high powered access points. Replace internal wifi cards in devices with high powered models.

Personally, I'd opt for option 2 if the budget allows it (usually $1500-$2500 for a basic WLAN controller with access points). If the money isn't there I'd look at option 3. I would put all this behind a commercial grade firewall. A small box appliance from someone like Cisco, Checkpoint, etc would work. You can also roll your own with something like Smoothwall or Untangle (unified thread management software) for little to no cost in hardware investment.

It really depends on your workplace environment (industrial vs run-of-the-mill office building), budget, and how the wireless network will be used (general internet surfing, wifi for inventory control, etc). If you can give us some more information I think the forum could come up with something that will work for you.
 
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