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I'm doing a data and voice install for a client in the hotel industry. I'm done with voice and am looking for my options to provide a Wireless AP. The building's dimensions are 100ft X 50ft. There are a ton of options out there which have left me confused now. Please help me decide.

I am not clear as to how I should ensure that the Wireless Network is visible throughout the premises. Personally I would love to setup a WDS on 3-4 linksys wrt54gl routers using OpenWRT. Is this advisable? If not please recommend some other AP's. If a more expensive appliance is absolutely necessary, then please suggest something that can be powered using IEEE 802.3af PoE.


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closed as off topic by Mark Henderson Aug 25 '12 at 4:50

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how many guests can the hotel accommodate? Do they need some sort of captive portal to ensure that only registered guests have access or to charge for the access? – Zypher May 23 '10 at 3:17
max of 20 clients simultaneously will be associated with the AP. Yeah maybe a Captive portal, I know zeroshell does that, maybe even openwrt – sunny May 23 '10 at 3:43
How many meters between the buildings ? & how many buildings out there ? WDS has some limitations. at first it limits the bandwidth. & it's deadly weak for dead spots & attenuation. also channel overlapping may freak you out. – risyasin May 23 '10 at 10:10
What's your budget? – Matt Simmons Jun 4 '10 at 17:28
How did you reach that number for max clients? I mean you might say "well there are 20 rooms.." but I might book a room in this hotel one day, and I usually travel with a laptop and a smartphone. Doesn't take too many people like that - and I don't think its uncommon these days - to suck up all those 20 slots. – RobM Jun 4 '10 at 18:00

We've had good experience with Aruba Networks, their support (online/phone/email/hands-on) is excellent, and their products pretty stable. The only issue we've had has been with reliability based on clients' wireless cards (broadcom card issues with certain versions of the controller), but they have moved fairly quickly to get those resolved.

Having a centralized way of managing your wireless sounds like an expensive thing, but not when you take into consideration the ability to monitor, manage (Per AP channel/signal settings, etc..), and troubleshoot your access points and clients from one location. Specially since it would be pretty troublesome to go through rooms to troubleshoot connectivity issues.

The Aruba controller is pretty configurable (GUI is almost 'too' configurable), but like I mentioned before, the support is excellent and getting things setup or questions answered is a breeze (at least in my experience). You setup different types of configuration profiles (authentication/association/access) and 'associate' them to your SSID(s)--like I said pretty granular configuration.

They provide you with a Virtual RF planner (and other tools) to plan wireless coverage for your sites.

Sounds like Aruba has gained some market share recently, so I doubt they're going away.

Something that might help you:

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Going the opensource route is an option here. You don't have that large a coverage area, and don't expect many clients. So the system doesn't need to be that complex.

One downside of going with OpenWRT is that you'll not have central control. Sort of a downside if you want to do things like a captive portal etc…

I'm biased, since I work for them, but I'd suggest Meraki as a good option. It's centrally controlled, but does so via the web – which saves on hardware cost.

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We've switched to HP networking equipment (both wired and wireless). A bit pricy (not as bad as Cisco, but still higher than others), but feature rich and very stable.

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