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Re: WiFi access point for students

On Thu, Nov 04, 2010 at 02:22:18PM +0100, José L. Redrejo Rodríguez wrote:
We're currently testing this solution that covers the items you mention too, and it's 1/10 of the value of a good AP.

I guess you mean the opposite: that the solution you are testing provides _same_ value while 1/10 _cost_ of a good AP :-)

Really appreciate your detailed real-world experiences, José!

Anyway, you've forgotten the main difference between a school and a hotel/restaurant setup: the number of concurrent users. Think of a school with only 10 classrooms, 25 pupils per classroom: 260 laptops. As soon as most laptops are in the school, you will soon run out of available wireless channels, and available bandwith. That's why only expensive AP working in 802.11n work (we haven't tested enough the hostap solution), but I can confirm you that ~100 euros AP's will not work as soon as the number of users increase.

And, for sure, forget about using 802.11b/g and, if possible, use 802.11n with dual band support and work in the 5GHz band, where you can get enough real available channels.

Interesting point about amount of users essentially flooding the radios.

This issue is of concern for the One Laptop Per Child project too, and its sister-project, Sugar, too. I recall it being discussed recently (2-4 months ago, I believe - tell me if anyone wants me to locate it more exactly) and a proposed solution was to turn *down* the power of the radio chips, so as to cover smaller areas per AP, instead of wasting radio bandwidth by overlapping too much. If I recall correctly, the proposal originates from the german Freifunk project which apparently have had success with setting up AP software to dynamically lower the radio power to the least needed depending on some usage patterns.

- Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

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