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As a bit of background, one of my primary responsibilities at my day job is wireless, but we're running about 1,000 APs, all the higher-end BlueSocket and Meru stuff with the expensive controllers.

I do some admin work for a non-profit and am searching for an access point to install for them. My main concerns are security, stability and - above all - easy remote management. It also needs to be something standalone - we only need one, so a controller/dumb-AP architecture won't work.

If at all possible, I'd like something manageable over telnet or SSH, as I'll be doing a lot of administration remotely. In terms of features, all I really need is WPA and MAC filtering.

The organization is totally funded by donations, with a VERY small budget, so cost is a major factor. (Up to now, we've been managing with a Soekris board running Linux).

Any suggestions? Specifically in terms of cost vs reliability, and remote management?

Update 2009-10-20

I've done some research (looked through almost every AP on NewEgg and Amazon) and came up with a few that I'm considering: - D-Link DWL-3200AP - 3com 3CRWE675075, 3CRWE776075 - Cisco (Small Business) WAP200, WAP2000, WAP4400N

The main features that I used to come up with the list:

  • 802.11n isn't important, as we won't be upgrading to Gig-E any time soon.
  • Telnet/SSH and SNMP management (see below)
  • External antennae are good...
  • Multiple WPA options (we may have embedded Linux devices connected, so something simple is good)
  • MAC-based ACL / client whitelisting (hopefully configurable via SNMP and/or CLI)
  • 802.1x is a plus, but by no means required
  • Multiple BSSIDs, 802.1q VLAN to SSID mapping is a plus

(The only thing I'm really wondering about is how full-featured the Telnet and SNMP management is. I have an inexpensive Brother printer with Telnet management, but you can only access about 5% of what the web interface does...)

Any opinions on those models?

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Tidied up the tags a bit to fit in with established ones and added the wireless tags. –  JamesHannah Oct 19 '09 at 19:37

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I ended up going with two Ubiquiti PicoStation2's. Their AirOS provides a web GUI with SSH as well. SNMP support is basic, but they're full Linux with a root shell available, so anything is possible, including much more configuration than their (already extensive) web GUI supports. Thanks to all for the suggestions.

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Look at OpenMesh, http://www.open-mesh.com, it is an opensource/open firmware system. The individual units will create an ad-hoc network so to cover an area you do not need additional network lines. have one unit plugged in and others within range and they will bounce the signal over to the connected one. Some of the units they have are just a block with the power plug on the back to literally plug and play.

These can all be controlled through a web interface and various firmware options exist.

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Thanks, but as I mentioned, I only need one AP. –  Jason Antman Oct 19 '09 at 19:47
    
It will still work, they have one model that is $29 and you can still use the web management tools to control it. –  Shial Oct 19 '09 at 20:50

I would reccommend tomato or dd-wrt on a linux based linksys router such as the WRT-54GL.

http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index

hxxp://www.polarcloud.com/tomato (cannot post more than 1 link due to rep)

These are extremely easy to setup, cheap, and pretty solid.

If you already have the investment into soekris boards, try using m0n0wall.

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I've had very poor luck with the Soekris boards, and the throughput is awful. My issue with DD-wrt is that, as far as I remember, it's only a web interface, which would mean SSH port forwarding through two boxes... –  Jason Antman Oct 19 '09 at 19:49

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