Can anyone offer any advice for setting up a wireless network for a small technical conference? (Perhaps ~ 100 attendees, for 1-3 days.)
I've read the resources on this site. For instance, I've read all of the answers to Why is Internet access and Wi-Fi always so terrible at large tech conferences? and the PyCon conference reports. Those are great and had lots of useful information, but they are focused at large conferences, whereas I'm asking about a small conference. Also, many of the answers are from ~ 3 years ago; I don't know if anything has changed since then.
Some specific questions:
If I'm bringing my own APs, how should I choose APs? What features should I look for, when I select an AP?
How should I configure the APs? Should I give them all the same ESSID (to allow roaming), or assign each a different ESSID based upon its location (to allow users to manually select the AP that is physically closest to them)?
How should I assign the channel and power strength of each AP?
What's the typical bottleneck that causes poor performance?
I can't afford to spend thousands of dollars or to spend several days before the event. These events are typically hosted at a hotel or conference facility, so I may be forced to work with their existing Internet connection (unless someone has some better ideas for how to get connectivity for a short event).
Here's what I've gathered from the other resources listed above (check whether these lessons sound right to you):
Bring your own access points. Bring a bunch, deploy them at physically remote locations, and turn the signal strength way down.
The 5 GHz band is much better than the 2.4 Ghz band. It has less interference between channels.
802.11n scales best. Sounds like I can expect up to 30-50 users per AP on 5 GHz 802.11n, vs 10 users per AP on 2.4 GHz (is that right?). One person recommended getting dual-radio APs that can talk 802.11n on both radios (apparently this is tricky?).
I'm not too clear on what criteria to use when selecting APs, but it sounds like dual-radio is best, and if possible, it makes deployment easier if they support power-over-Ethernet. I dunno if brand is important (I see Cisco and D-Link mentioned).