AP for single room

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I would like to get everyone's opinion on the possibility of Aerohive making a small AP that only supplies WiFi to a single room like an office or student dorm room. What we have found is that an AP in every room has almost become a necessity given older building that one typically has in a university setting.  Concrete and steel doors are very difficult to penetrate with wireless, especially with 5ghz. What I was think would work better than trying to place a bunch of $600 APs which will cause channel saturation in the 2.4 range, is to have a single small AP that is low powered and only servers the room it is in. That way we can get wireless in every room without all of the cavorts  associated with trying to build a High Density network. I would appreciate your thoughts and those in education that face the same issues as we do.  Thanks, 
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Ronald Moore

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Posted 3 years ago

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Hans Matthé

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Helo Ronald
I personaly don't see opportunity's for a 'single-room' ap. First of all, I believe it is the featurelist and the stability of the platform that values a wireless solution, not the fact that the solution provides a wireless signal (there are plenty of other solutions that provides wireless as well). High density has also less to do with coverage but more with capacity, so I'm not sure about understandig your statement.
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Ronald Moore

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Hans,

Thanks for the reply. Perhaps I used the wrong terminology with the word Density. What I was trying to explain was the density of the APs, not the clients. Having multiple APs in a single area whether for client density or for coverage causes many issues, at least for us it does. 

"Feature list and the stability of the platform" are values of Aerohive APs, however, what good is this if you cannot get wireless coverage. 
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Hans Matthé

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Ronald
This is indeed more clear. I believe your problem can be solved by a good design of your wireless environment, starting with a complete site survey. What you can do by channel interference in the 2.4Ghz frequenty is disabling the 2.4Ghz and only using the 5GHz on some of the access points. Also disabling the 1 and 2Mb datarates can be a good practice. Also tuning the cells by changing the transmit power can create a more healthy environment. I would start a thorough site survey to get a clear view of your wireless environment and how to solve the RF issues.
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Eddie Klaczko

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I see what your saying about trying to lower the cost per AP, but I don't think the hardware is the majority of the cost for an enterprise WiFi solution.  And honestly $600 per AP is not a bad price.  A few years back I was paying close to $1000 per AP and that's for a lite AP that needed a controller.  Which added more cost. 

I've found that planning your full deployment out so you can bulk order and working with the vendor will get you good pricing below list.  Even if you need to do it in phases show you vendor the end result and it will make them more willing to negotiate.  Some healthy competition between vendors doesn't hurt either.  ;) 
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Ronald Moore

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Hans,

You are absolutely correct in your assessment.  We have already setup our configs per the High Density article Aerohive provides which includes  disabling lower rates, band steering, using 40mhz on 5ghz, and turning down the transmit power. The problem is while this setup makes for great stability it also reduces the coverage of each AP. This causes us to have to put in more APs which can be quite cost prohibiting if we are talking about a single AP for each room for those hard to reach places.

What I was think of is a smaller AP what could fill the void at a lower cost. It is difficult to justify the purchase of a AP 121 or a AP230 to server a single student.  

Are next step is going I think will need to be a wireless survey.  We have done some basic surveying using WiFi Analyzer but it is probably time for a professional survey.  Do you have any recommendations for software, devices or vendors for a site survey?
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Matt Moore

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Ronald,

We are in the same boat. I've done WiFi Analyzer as well, but I think your right on getting a professional site survey. I would also take recommendations.
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Hans Matthé

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Hi Ronald
Measuring your environment is the correct start. You probably don't have to place more ap's if you know how to configure the AP's. We using Ekahau site survey pro for site surveys, it is an expensive tool, so if it is an one time utilasation maybe it is better to hire the services of an external company.
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Ronald Moore

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Thanks! I will take a look at "Ekahau site survey pro". We keep expanding with new locations so the cost may be worth it. 
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Crowdie, Champ

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Ekahau Site Survey Pro will cover everything you need particularly when the new 8.5 version (shown below) is released which integrates with Metageek's Chanalyzer spectrum analyzer.  If you have any issues with it just shout out.

 
(Edited)
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Ronald Moore

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Thanks! I appreciate the advice. 
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Matt Moore

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Hey Ronald,

I totally understand. We are a small school with a one to one program. We have an old building with multiple types of wall construction which makes wireless a challenge. I want to have an AP in every classroom, but with some of these challenges I am finding it hard to get wireless coverage. No matter how low I put the channel power, I can not get coverage so I end up having to pull the AP out of the room. 
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Ronald Moore

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Matt,

We are a medium sized private university. What has helped us is using the Aerohive High Density guide. If you are putting an AP in each room you should  make the recommended changes in the guide like Hans and I discussed in the post above.

http://docs.aerohive.com/pdfs/Aerohive-Whitepaper-Hi-Density%20Principles.pdf

 
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Matt Moore

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I will check it out. Thanks.
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Nathaniel Moore, Employee

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Hi Ronald,

I understand your argument - essentially, in a high density deployment you need many access points within close proximity with each other. In reality, Aerohive can already meet this requirement (it's one of our strong points) simply by clustering APs in close proximity whilst simultaneously reducing the output power (either manually or automatically via ACSP) to avoid Co-Channel Contention and Adjacent Channel Interference.

By reducing the output power of neighbouring devices you can effectively convert your deployment into a 'one-AP-per-room' scenario. 2.4GHz will always be problematic simply due to having only 3 non-overlapping channels available. At the end of the day, you want coverage cells to overlap so that roaming can occur but you want to avoid coverage cells overlapping on identical/adjacent channels to avoid CCC and ACI (for high-density deployments this is nigh impossible with 2.4GHz, one reason why 5GHz is so popular today).

If your issue is more related to the cost of having many APs this is of course another matter altogether but Aerohive is continuing to invest in entry-level, more affordable products suited for such environments.

There has been much talk over the past years with regards to 60GHz Wi-Fi allowing very short range VHT (WiGig) but I am not sure this is an area Aerohive is looking to address currently as there are many disadvantages to the technology including short range and the need for near line-of-sight. It is in no way a suitable replacement for today's WiFi deployments.

I would instead encourage you to look into the AP130, deploy with DFS channels enabled and leave the high-density calculations down to ACSP.
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Ronald Moore

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Nathaniel,

Thanks for the reply. We have thought about just turning off 2.4GHz and only using 5GHz. The problem is that we still have students with old devices that do not have 5GHz capabilities. While it is a small percentage of people, I am sure we will get some push back from students. 

Cost is not the primary concern but it does factor in. I will take a look at the AP130s as they may help for areas we only need single room coverage. 

"60GHz Wi-Fi" sounds interesting and might be a good fit for the device I proposed as a single room AP solution. I will have to keep an eye on the conversation of "60GHz Wi-Fi" and see what comes of it..
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Nathaniel Moore, Employee

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Hi Ronald,

It's worth pointing out that 60GHz WiFi will of course be incompatible with all of your 2.4GHz/5GHz devices even if it does take off. So, in reality, it's not worth considering.

I would just try to move as much infrastructure to 5GHz as possible whilst reducing the power levels on 2.4GHz. The fewer devices you have on 2.4, the better your high density deployment will be.

I would not disable 2.4GHz, it should always remain enabled for those legacy devices. You can of course do things like band-steering to encourage dual band devices to connect over 5GHz rather than 2.4GHz but I would refrain from disabling 2.4GHz unless you are certain there is no requirement for it.