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Claws224, IEEE Network Engineer
Category: Networking
Satisfied Customers: 1256
Experience:  IEEE, Microsoft
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I'm definitely not an expert (so your patience will be

Customer Question

Hi, I'm definitely not an expert (so your patience will be appreciated), but I'm trying to upgrade my business network (it's a school); meaning re-cable, upgrade all APs, and adding a Gateway with captive portal system for the kids, including a network for the staff of course. I would estimate a total of 1,000 users total including admin. I calculated (so you estimate the footprint a little) that I need 12 interior short range APs (walls are VERY thick), 4 interior high performance-high range APs and 3 high performance exterior APs.
My question is that I am completely lost into what direction should I take. I want a good, reliable solution that won't break my bank account. So which gateway (hardware) would you recommend.. how would you go about this? which access points would work.. From Aruba, Cisco Meraki, Ubiquity, PF Sense, 4ip net, Extreme Networks and Rukus, I have spoken with reps from all of them and it really seems they only want to get a quick buck and didn't care enough to get my business bc I'm not willing to spend $1,000 per AP.
Please I would definitely appreciate some advice and tips before I go and spend money in stuff I might not even need.
Thanks a lot.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Networking
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Joel replied 1 year ago.

Hi Carlos and Welcome. I'm Joel and I look forward to assisting you today with your question. I've had experience with 3Com and Cisco solutions in the past, both work well and you will need to incorporate their WLAN controllers as well to centrally manage the AP's, push firmware to them, manage policies for the clients including configuring your seperate networks for the clients/staff/guest access. I think most important when dealing with vendors is to set your budget right from the get go and work from that, ask them for quotes and what support they provide. Also, another factor to take into account in your current environment, do you currently use solutions from a certain vendor like Cisco routers and switches? In the past some vendors will include a site survey within the total solution cost, this would be a best way to determine how many AP's are required for coverage and identify optimal placement. You are on the right track and most solutions should work, it's just a matter of getting in some quotes and knocking off vendors that are far to expensive and see what your left with then further investigating those solutions and making sure they will meet you requirements. Also some WLAN controllers have smarts and allow you to load in maps show you the range of the AP's, smart channel adjusting, rogue AP detection etc. See for more info on the 3com controller. Check here for some examples of authentication, you will be able to configure certificate based single sign on, so a user logs into the domain and also authenticates securely to your wireless solution.