Remote Campus with wireless bldg-to-bldg bridge

Unanswered Question
Oct 8th, 2007

I have a project with a customer and a remote campus. The remote campus currently consists of two cottages (35?x147?) separated by ~800ft with clear line-of-site. The first cottage has an existing DSL Internet connection with D-Link wireless router and provides wired\wireless Internet to the tenants in that cottage. I plan to replace the D-Link with a Cisco 877 ADSL or Cisco 877W ADSL\Wireless router to provide a simple GRE\VPN tunnel back to their main campus. I already use the same configuration to tunnel another remote branch back to the main campus T1 for Internet content control with a Barracuda.

I need to connect the 2nd cottage to the 1st via a wireless bridge (Aironet 1310) at the remote campus so I can backhaul all the Internet traffic back to the main campus via the DSL Internet\VPN tunnel. At both cottages I will need to provide both wired and wireless connectivity inside. It's a bit overkill for the range but I plan to use a pair of Cisco Yagi directional antennas with the Aironet 1310-RP-TNC instead of the ones with integrated antennas to be a little more versatile in any future expansion of the remote campus.

The bldg-to-bldg configuration seems relative easy, configuring the 1st cottage with Internet\VPN DSL and Aironet1310 as a root bridge and the 2nd cottage as a non-root bridge. The 1st cottage will already have a switch with the Cisco877/877W for the wired connectivity, so I?ll just need to add a switch to the 2nd cottage.

I need a little help understanding the wireless connectivity inside the cottages. I understand that the Aironet1310 bridge could act as a local AP for the cottage, but since the antennas are outside Yagi directional then I think the inside coverage would be very limited. So could I change the Aironet 1310 bridge antennas to outside omni-directional to provide adequate bldg-to-bldg (~800ft) link and inside bldg (35?x147?) coverage? Or, should I use the wireless capability of the 877W (ADSL) router at the 1st cottage and a 2nd 871W(Ethernet) router or AP at the 2nd cottage for inside coverage?

I would like to keep the configuration simple with a Cisco 877 Internet\VPN to connect the main campus and a pair of Cisco Aironet 1310?s for the wireless bridge between the two cottages. I'm just not sure on the wireless inside the cottages. The tenants will be using laptops with integrated wireless or wired desktops.

I appreciate any help,

Stacy Garner

I have this problem too.
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john.preves Mon, 10/08/2007 - 17:26

Hi,

I would leave the bridges alone and let them bridge. I would use separate AP's inside the buildings plugged into the switches and leave the wireless capability of the router off. The router might be located in the best spot for what it should be doing but not necessarily in the best spot for what the AP should be doing. This method would be much easier to troubleshoot as well.

good luck-

gcs Mon, 10/08/2007 - 19:34

John,

Thanks for your response. Would the inside AP need to be Aironet 1100? Is this the most economical solution or should I look at D-Link\Linksys for inside AP. I prefer Cisco for everything because the management would be more streamlined. However, the cost of all the parts for the entire system does add up a little high. Is this a situation of you get what you pay for?

Thanks again,

Stacy

john.preves Tue, 10/09/2007 - 13:40

very much so...The AP can be whatever you want but the functionality is way limited. Have you heard of dd-wrt?

http://dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

have a look around maybe its worth it to you to use a third party flash on a linksys or whathave you. Imagine the functionality of a high end device for the cost of the cheap-o and the if it blows up get another cheap-o and re-flash it.

gcs Sat, 10/13/2007 - 05:26

John, I took the bait and ran with it on the dd-wrt. Although very interesting, it didn't take long to realize the amount of time it takes to get up to speed. Also, the amount of information on the Internet to absorb to get up to speed was very time consuming. I started with a WRT54GS V7 (firmware V7.50.2)Serial #CGNC and bricked it from the start. That sent me on another interesting tangent with JTAG to de-brick. Forward progress is slow, problem seems to be the constant need to dig for information related specifically to my version and how to recover from mistakes. In lieu of time I'm going to have to table the R&D until a later time and revert back to a commerical solution. It was nice to heat the soldering iron up again, been a while. Overall, thanks for the info. I do plan to re-visit because it did open up a lot of future possibilites after I get the project at hand off my to do list.

john.preves Sat, 10/13/2007 - 14:41

good for you! Again, in a crunch this might not be worth your time, but once you get there, I'm sure you'll be glad you made the trip.

dennischolmes Tue, 10/16/2007 - 11:50

You could use any solution you would like indoors that is supported on ethernet and IP. I would make a suggestion though that you change your mindset on 1300 bridges and opt for 1400 bridges as these will move the signal to 802.11a 5ghz spectrum thus avoiding co-channel interference from other devices such as local wireless APs (linksys and such).

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