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I've recently moved in to a new office who gets its internet through wired ports dotted around the room. I want to move them wireless but want to check which equipment would be useful before I start spending money!

If I buy a high-quality wireless router, can I plug the internet directly in to it and share it amongst everyone in the office? With the same router allow access to a printer plugged in to the router as well as access to a NAS device?

Any suggestions as to the best

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The thing to remember about WiFi is that the maximum throughput with n is about 144Mbps. Compare this to your wired connection which is most likely running 1Gbps. Now, add to this the fact that WiFi is a shared medium meaning all wireless clients associated to a single AP are sharing that 144Mbps. Wired connections will provide significantly greater reliability and performance.

To answer your question, most "high-quality" AP's are not routers meaning you will need a broadband router to which you should connect the AP(s). Many modern printers have wireless capability but you would have to check your printer.

The NAS will likely need to be plugged into the wired network.

So, to put it very very simply, you will connect a broadband router to your business class cable modem then connect printers and NAS and AP(s) to the LAN ports on the router.

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And remember all it takes is one old wireless b nic to connect to crippple the whole network – Robin Gill Jul 13 '12 at 12:52
@RobinGill That's assuming you have cheap shit APs. Any AP worth buying for a business is dual-radio and won't have this issue. – MDMarra Jul 13 '12 at 13:20
@ MDMarra Very true, but from the way the question is worded, I have a feeling the OP will end up using high end domestic or SOHO gear. I should have put a distinction re dual band in my comment. – Robin Gill Jul 13 '12 at 13:59

Why on earth would you want to replace wired Ethernet with wireless? Especially if the wiring is already in the walls! Wireless should be a supplement to the business, not the only means of connectivity.

The rest of your question is unanswerable. How can I possibly know if one AP will cover your whole office without going there to do a site survey? Sure you can get a NAS and printer that will plug into a wireless router, that's no problem, but you haven't provided any meaningful info.

TL;DR - no one can answer your question with the details you've given, but you should really consider using the wired Ethernet jacks that are available to you.

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Alright...Well one AP will definitely cover our office. The reason wireless is more sensible is because we are a small group that works on laptops and having trailing ethernet cables is annoying. Is simply using a wireless router in AP mode sufficient for what I have described? – Max Woolf Jul 13 '12 at 10:08
What other choice is there? If you want wireless you can either use an AP or a router with an AP built in to it. I guess maybe I don't understand what you're trying to get at. – MDMarra Jul 13 '12 at 10:22
Let me give an analogy of why wired ethernet > wireless. Consider your car stereo on radio. How many times have you had intereference, in sometimes in a strong signal area? Then consider how many times you get external interference on your hifi at home with the sources wired to the amp wired to the speakers? – Robin Gill Jul 13 '12 at 10:53
In my office almost all connections are wired. People (the ones that use laptops) working for extended periods plug into power+large monitor +keyboard+mouse and the network. Our pilots are using mobile phones, tablets or laptops /netbooks for their paperwork in the morning and evening, and they use the wireless. – Jaydee Jul 13 '12 at 13:44

A broadband wireless router, rather than a simple wireless access point, adds the benefit of a firewall as well as port forwarding should you need it.

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