TechSpot

Adding wireless access to hub networking system...

By vassil3427
Oct 22, 2003
  1. Ok, hello all. I was officially handed over power to work on my schools computer systems today. They have had the same company working on there computers for 5 years now, but after a recent incident...They are no longer using them, and now they are using me. Anyway, there Linksys HUB appears to be dying, every morning it has to be reset in order for them to be able to browse there network.

    So I discussed it with the principle and he has agreed that while replacing the hub, we will add a wireless setup. Now I am wondering exactly how you all think I should go about this.

    Right now they have an old server which holds all of there main school files, and all computer are connected to it through a Hub, the server is also directly connected to the net, and the internet is shared over the hub.

    Should I buy a new hub and add a wireless acces point? Or is it possible that I just buy a router w/wireless integrated and reconfigure the netowork accordingly?

    There are about 7 pcs on the main network, next year we will be switching to all new pc's and a new server.
     
  2. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 822

  3. conradguerrero

    conradguerrero TS Rookie Posts: 357

    are you connection desktop computers or notebook computers through a wireless network? (has no real bearing im just curious)

    i would go with the router hubs are so basic imo especially since they are getting new comps next year
     
  4. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 822

    Well the wireless is for laptops, we have about 4 teachers that have new dell laptops with the centrino technology that would love to use the integrated wireless....problem with only a router is we are going to need to connect a bunch of computers, about 7 right now though.....

    Can you just connect a wireless router to the uplink port on the hub?
     
  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    Wireless routers do exist and are reasonably cheaper than buying both seperately.

    There are a number of ways to do this, but the best way of doing it is with a router, not a hub. This affords the students and faculty the convenience of DHCP without having the expense and trouble of running a DHCP server.

    If you choose to use a a hub / switch, you'll either need a DHCP server or assign everyone's IP address manually... Which I'm guessing will keep you more busy during the day. :)

    My recommended setup:

    • 1 x router with integrated wireless
      [*]1 or more additional hubs to expand the number of ports

    It goes a bit like this.

    Computers --> Hub --> Router w/ wireless --> Internet

    You can add practically as many hubs as you want to get as many ports as you need. Router/Hub setups are very scalable. Most wireless routers/access points handle hundreds of computers wirelessly, so no problems for future growth there, either.

    Wireless networks can stretch quite a distance, including reaching through solid walls and objects. But if you plan on adding wireless to the entire building, you may need additional access points.

    The wireless signal will degrade over distance, but most access points can stretch over 300ft and still maintain a connection acceptable for high-speed DSL.
     
  6. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 822

    Thanks Rick, what you said there is exactly what I was wondering about. I was just curious if it would be a better faster solution to just add a wireless access point to the hub already in existence(replacing with same model).

    This will take a signifigant amount of time to reconfigure the network wont it?
    Now I am not 100% positive, but I think the DSl goes striaght into the server and then from the server to the hub where it is shared....

    Could I possibly put the wireless router between the server and the DSl modem? that way I avoid reconfiguring a whole lot?
     
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    If you are able to assign everyone an IP address manually and can rely these settings will stay the same, then the hub idea may work for you. If this sounds like too much work, then a router is money well-spent. It may be the case your setup already has a DHCP server, in which scenario a router is not necessary.

    To reconfigure the network, you will not need to do much. Assign all the computers to use DCHP and erase the IP/DNS configuration settings you currently have on each computer. Everything from there on will be automatic.

    A router or DHCP server (if you already have one) will be nice for wireless users, because not many people want to play the IP guessing game. :)
     
  8. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 822

    All the computers currently on the network already have an manually assigned IP address(quite annoying when adding pc's) but we have about 7 computers, so I cant just switch to a router only...cause not enough ports....Thats why I need a hub, because we'll be adding more pc's to the network this coming year...

    And so here's my primary question i think you already answere but I just want to be clear.

    Could I leave the network as it is(running through a hub) and just put a wireless router between the server and DSL modem with the modem plugged into the CABLE/DSL port, and the server hooked into one of the 4 hardwire ports on the router?

    Sorry if I sound like I'm repeating the same thing, just want tro make sure everything is right... thx for your help...
     
  9. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 6,504   +6

    I'd follow Rick's plan of the router. Get something that handles IP address allocation for you (which a router that does DHCP will) and then you will be able to just plug systems into your network's access points, and they will handle TCP/IP settings themselves. No need to worry about subnetting anything, etc. It sounds like you have a small office setup, which is fine. The router will handle all of your needs and get you up and running.
     
  10. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 822

  11. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 822

    Ok guys, got the new hub and wireless access point, works flawlessly...however(and I know this is a limit to the wireless) going into certain places(such as our chapel) it loses signal completely. Should I get the signal booster? or get another access point that will reflect the signal back the the origional access point?
     
     
  12. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    The RF signals from wireless do a superb job of penetrating solid objects (wood, concrete, plastics), but if your access point is blocked by something metal, then that will greatly degrade or cut off the signal completely.

    Is it possible that your access point is sitting somewhere close to someting large and metal?

    Placing the access point high as possible from the ground should help the signal.

    Also keep in mind the typical access point will only reach 200-300ft from the base. It may be less through solid objects and many rooms.

    Placing the access point near a window (if possible) could help you as well. I've had good luck with this boosting signals in the past. But I suppose it really depends on the layout of the building.
     
  13. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 822

    Thanks Rick,
    Most of our school has the ceiling tiles that can be pushed up(foam tile things? In every school I guess..) I am going to attempt to remove one of the tiles and put the WAP in the ceiling. And yes it was sitting ontop of a metal filing cabinet... The chapel is no more than 150ft from the WAP however the WAP is inside a room that is closed off normally...it holds most networking equipment...etc..

    BTW. My teachers were absolutely dumbfounded when they used the Internet wirelessly...they couldnt grasp the concept of how it all worked...lol...
     
  14. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    I've heard that being located near large metal objects can create much unwanted radio interference with wireless access points. I've never tested this out myself though...

    I think sitting it somewhere else, rather than the metal cabinet would be a good idea.

    150ft should be within a reasonable range, especially if you bought the wireless 55Mbps g router. I bet the higher frequency allows better reception when compared to the 2.4GHz b wireless.
     
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.