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logistics of getting wifi for a SCHOOL!





Jaan
hey, i'm wondering how much it would cost to get wi-fi for a school...
my budget is about $3000.... is it doable?
its a high school, 1200 students... if there was wifi i can guess that a maximum of 300 people will be connected at a time... and thats stretching it.
the school has three floors on top of each other, each about 150m long and the building itself is about 20-30m high... and the school network is blazing fast, i can get speeds of 2.5mb/s.
ocalhoun
Simply putting wifi G routers connected to the existing network at strategic locations would work. I'd guess 3 per floor would give acceptable coverage. Make sure that they're all set up to be on different channels (1-11) and that ones next to each other (vertically and horizontally) are separated in channel as much as possible.

9 x $60 (relatively cheap router) = $540
Then add labor for installation.

Then, configure the routers (I guess I'd put them all on the same ssid), and add in whatever security you think is needed, which will probably be free.

When placing them, stagger them both vertically and horizontally.
(if the building is a rectangle with long sides facing East and West)
First floor: SW corner, E midpoint, NW corner
Second floor: SE corner, W midpoint, NE corner
Third floor: SW corner, E midpoint, NW corner

It would probably be wise to get just one router of the type you plan on using at first, then installing it and testing its range within your building.


Another option:
WiFi type A has better range inside buildings because the lower frequency waves travel through walls and other objects better. If this is to be only for connecting teachers to the internet or only connecting standardized student laptops to the internet, you could use that. It is older, and some new laptops don't support it (most do), but if you can be sure that all your users can use it, it is plenty fast enough for internet connection (10Mbps), and it would allow you to use fewer and cheaper routers.
AftershockVibe
You'll need to think about security as well - not just access, accountability as well. You will probably want to consider something like RADIUS. Have a look here:

http://www.keller.com/wifi/CNIT107HW7.html
AftershockVibe
You'll need to think about security as well - not just access, accountability as well. You will probably want to consider something like RADIUS. Have a look here:

http://www.keller.com/wifi/CNIT107HW7.html
Skye001
Rather than just buying cheap wireless routers, I would recommend you looking at wireless access points or bridges that allow the antenna to be changed.

You'll be suprised how a good antenna can make all the difference for the wireless signal instead of 3 AP's you could just have one AP with a really good omnidirectional antenna.
ocalhoun
^I've never seen a wireless router you couldn't change the antenna out on...
Diablosblizz
I'm not sure why you want to supply a school with Wifi if you are a student, unless you are a administrator or something like that. 2.5 MB/s is decent, but my school has a 10mb/s connection. We sometimes get 5 MB/s.

One router isn't going to cut it, you're going to need multiple ones. Preferably the same type, as their the easiest to configure. We, at my high school, have 5 in total and it barely does the whole school. I wouldn't be worried about the Internet connection handling everything, but more the router handling everything. It may get too many connections one day and just crap out.

And you don't want to cheap out either, if you want ones that may last spend the extra buck, for a router that will handle everything correctly.
psycosquirrel
You can't do it for that price.

To do something like this (300 people on at once!) and keep it usable, you need enterprise-scale hardware. You will need a Cisco switch to an array of APs, all referencing into a custom, standalone DHCP server acting as a gateway...

Your budget might cover the Cisco switch.

Not to mention the wiring of CAT5 and the labor involved.

An alternative solution would be to hook up a few wireless APs through the existing network and piggyback them off of the main DHCP server of the school (assuming you have a setup like that). It would introduce all sorts of vulnerabilities though..
ocalhoun
psycosquirrel wrote:
You can't do it for that price.

To do something like this (300 people on at once!)

Will 1/4 of the students at the school really be using it at the same time, or will it just be a few occasional users?
froginabox
If you're looking at enabling the wifi only for teachers or something - I'd say just go ahead and get a ton of routers and place them strategically.

If you are looking at enabling this for students? $3,000 is not enough. You need to go with managed hardware and managed switches that you can control QoS to ensure decent service.... not something for a novice sysadmin to do at all.
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