Linux - Wireless NetworkingThis forum is for the discussion of wireless networking in Linux.
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This is not necessarily a linux specific question, but maybe some of you have some ideas. I am looking to install a large wireless network in a small 20 room hotel. It is two stories, and 10 rooms wide, with an apartment connected to one side where the owner lives. Does anybody know what type of wireless router I could get that would be powerful enough to reach the entire length of the hotel? Could I buy a normal home router, or would I need a more powerful commercial version? Or would I have to use multiple routers? What about antenna size? Also, what type of bandwidth would I need? The hotels not very big, so maybe T1, considering its hardly ever at 100% capacity, and all the guests would not be using their computers at the same time anyway, but I still wouldn't want to go slower than that. Any help would be appriciated.
It does have an attic, but I'm not quite sure of the dimentions, I'll have to measure tomarrow. Oh, another thing, the walls in between the rooms are solid concrete, as is the slab between the first and second floor. I'm a bit worried that will block the signal, is there a way I can get around that?
Is this question about budget economics or engineering? If you have a realistic budget, you would not be having this conversation. Lets start with the T1. Telco cost of installation, depending on area, 3 to 4 figures. $350.00 plus per month for rental for 23+1 ISDN or 24 64k channels basic, or a bonding of 2 or more of these, plus other charges.
The cost of used Cisco routers with a T1 capability varies, but is not cheap. I am not aware of any residential home routers that have a capabiltiy past DSL or Cable modem capacity.
You could start with cheaper DSL or Cable modem service. More than likely, their tarrifs would still insist on a "business class service".
Suggestion; based on my previous installs, its all about the antenae locations and height. Measure out a 360 circle from the center of the property to start. Pick the highest possible secure place for the access point. Hook up your "starter router", even if it is just a Linksys, and start measuring signal strength and continuity. If you don't have a meter, start walking with your laptop with plug in wireless card a,b,g, from the center to the outermost room.
If your perimeter does not reach the outermost rooms, then consider gainer antenaes plus additional WAPs.
If you get into multiple Wireless Access Points, for a single service,
its going to get tricky. What about that one guest that is a bandwith hog, with music and video streaming? It's going to impact everyone.
A more traditional and reliable way would be to consider utilizing the existing phone wiring in the rooms, usually 2 or 3 pair Cat3 cable, terminating to their PBX switch. Only 1 pair is used for the phone.
Please note that this will only work with cable of 10 twists per foot,
blue, orange and green, not the older green and red straight pairs.
Use the spare pairs for your data. I have have had success with existing Cat3 cable where the building does not have conduit to pull a new Cat 5 cable from the guest rooms to the terminal location, or management did not want to break open the walls for new cable.
Under 1000' from terminal to drop, you sould hope for at least 768k throughput to your switch. Remember, a T1 is rated at 1.54 mps for 24 channels at 64k each, or 23+1 ISDN. I have installed these work arounds for hotel/motels that did not have a large budget for upgrades. Of course what I was taught in all the schools was that this could not be done...
Have you also considered your VoIP options?
If you are doing this for money, depending on how much free time you have, you will be lucky to break even on time and material.
Most professionals that I know will not even bid on a job of less than 50 drops, let alone the complexity of a reliable wireless distributed system