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We have a network set up using an ASUS RT-N66U for our office with the following configuration:

  • Private SSID (one for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)
  • Guest SSID (one for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)

Unfortunately, we've had some signal problems (the spectrum is fairly congested in our part of NYC), so we've also got a wifi extender antenna hooked up to the router to try and overpower competing signals. This is great for about a 20ft radius, but doesn't extend to our conference room about 40ft away.

We've got ethernet laid for the conference room (as well as a few points within the main room), all hooked up to a switch that's connected to the router.

The problem is that we'd like to have all 4 SSIDs rebroadcasting from some sort of device in the conference room. We tried out an ASUS EA-N66, but it only worked for one SSID on frequency at a time... so it only covered 1/4 of our use case.

Anyone have a solution?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

While I'm not allowed to make direct product reccomendations, I will say this:

Avoid anything made by Asus (Linksys, Belkin, or anything you'd get from PC World, BestBuy or Walmart).

It's not designed for the Business/SMB/SME/Enterprise.

Access Point manufacturers (for the entire wireless network) I'd trust are:

  • HP Procurve MSM (especially with an Access Controller).
  • Cisco Aironet (especially the AIR-CAP3602E-x-K9, although don't forget to order antennas separately)
  • Brocade Mobility (based on Motorola hardware, very capable integrated controller, supports 127 clients per AP)
  • Cisco Meraki (awesome cloud-based control panel).
  • Aruba
  • Xirrus (probably the best single AP coverage I've ever seen)
  • Aerohive (similar market placement to Meraki).
  • Ubiquiti (Similar to Meraki, although the controller is inside your network, and cheaper.)
  • Ruckus (very clever multi-access point "beamforming" technology).

All of those support some level of controller-ap relationship, meaning you get centralised management, session hand-off (when your device moves between access point associations).

Yes, Access Points are different to routers, but some wireless routers can function in Access Point only mode.
Although, adhering strongly to the Unix Philosophy of "Do one thing, and do it well", you'll find better performance if you have one router, responsible for DHCP and so on, and multiple (of the same brand/model) access points.

If you're going to do wireless in your office, you might as well do it right, and then not have to wonder why your signal drops after 5 devices associate, or you wonder why the speed drops off during some parts of the day.

It's embarrassing for a business to exist in the 21st century, and still have a wireless network held together by consumer-grade boxes, coconut shells and wet string. Having been in the position of both and employee and a visitor, watching someone go and reboot the access point in order to allow another laptop to connect isn't only embarrassing, but potentially damaging to your business.

There's a massive difference in configurability, feature sets and performance between the consumer, off-the-shelf black boxes from Asus or Linksys et al. that you get at BestBuy, compared to a wireless solution from a business-oriented vendor.

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3  
Fully agreed. For anything serving more than three or four people, don't use consumer-grade hardware. We use aruba controllers at work and it easily scales up to hundreds of users. –  Dennis Kaarsemaker Apr 24 '13 at 21:59

don't use a repeater. Install a second identical AP (same ssids, same encryption. Probably different channels).

Connect them to the same LAN and you are done. Clients will automatically connect to the one with the best signal.

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Some newbie questions: - Is an AP different than a router (I'm guessing that all routers are access points, but not all access points are routers)? - Won't this result in IP address collisions? - Should I use another ASUS RT-N66U? –  Ben Burton Apr 24 '13 at 21:20
1  
An AP is a wireless router minus the routing part. Basically no wan port. As long as you disable dhcp and don't use the wan port a router can be used as an ap. Make sure not to use the wan port on either. Clients should get an ip address on the same subnet as the wired connection. If the ap/routers are connected to the same lan clients can freely roam between them without problems. –  Grant Apr 24 '13 at 21:28
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For the sake of His Noodly Appendage, does anyone even read my answers? Don't get another N66U. Put the first one on eBay, and do it right. –  Tom O'Connor Apr 24 '13 at 21:40
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I did read your answer. It seemed like your solution involves spending thousands of dollars when we have a budget and about 10 people to provide access for. I just wanted to get a sense of my options. –  Ben Burton Apr 24 '13 at 21:41
1  
There's doing it right, and there's doing it wrong. Continuing down this path will not scale and you'll have to spend more money in future, organically growing your network in an unsustainable manner. –  Tom O'Connor Apr 24 '13 at 21:45

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