A bad idea?

Unanswered Question
Jun 19th, 2009

A certain group wants to install 26 1231 wireless access points in a small building. Each will be a stand-alone DHCP server and there is no wireless controller. This scheme would appear to create many problems, like mutual RF interference. Can I expect this setup to work poorly for other reasons?

I have this problem too.
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ericgarnel Fri, 06/19/2009 - 08:22

It is certainly possible, but not very feasible.

The implementation would require a lot of planning, configuration and administration.

Yes, it would be a headache, but the performance will depend on how well it is implemented. Having said that, I would certainly recommend a controller based solution to facilitate administration

jeff.kish Fri, 06/19/2009 - 08:37

The wireless interference isn't what concerns me. Whether you're autonomous or lightweight, you need to do the work to make sure that channel assignments are correct to mitigate interference.

My concern is that Cisco 1231 APs are EOS, meaning that the product will be dead in a few years. It's an old AP, and the 1242 should be used in its place.

The other concern is the DHCP servers. Assuming each AP has its own VLAN, that's fine, but that will cause L3 roaming issues. Configure a central DHCP server so you can extend the same VLAN throughout your wireless network.

scottmac Fri, 06/19/2009 - 10:02

Ponder the phrase: "Gut wrenching nightmare"

By the time that implementation is scrapped, you'll have wished it was merely a gut wrenching nightmare almost every day since its inception until its justified death.

Being in charge of an unplanned cluster***k (such as the one you describe)is right up there with having all of your teeth drilled down to a nub without anesthesia and rinsed with ice water.

I could go on, but I'd hope you understand the point: RUN! Run like hell ... don't look back. Stay as far away from this as you possibly can be.

(Good Luck)

ericgarnel Fri, 06/19/2009 - 10:09

Oh come on, be a sport!

This sounds like just another case of the non-technical (management) making technical decisions. Yes, I totally agree with you in regards to the pain the setup cause, but it would also be interesting to see how well such a deployment could be done manually. Bring lots of tin foil....

George Stefanick Sat, 06/20/2009 - 04:08

i hear walmart has a sale on some linksys aps, hey they say cisco on them!

sorry... i had too...


Scott Fella Sat, 06/20/2009 - 14:46

I too have to disagree. Looks like they are assuming that 23 ap's will also provide you good coverage. I would assume that if you had a site survey done that they would of recommended a lightweight solution. No matter what, if there is no one who can manage all 23 ap's then don't even do it.

scottmac Sat, 06/20/2009 - 15:22

Eric, there's just no sport to it ... twenty-three APs, all with their own DHCP service? Why not twenty-three different subnet blocks too. Golly, how come it doesn't roam seamlessly?

One AP with 22 interferers, multiplied twenty-two times?, with no management?

Unless this is an experiment in signal jamming, nobody will be happy with this setup.

This is so far beyond stupid it doesn't even make for good humor!

Next they'll wonder why the WDS doesn't work like it does for their {other generic SOHO} APS ... Oh that Cisco crap! it just doesn't go at all ....

You gotta call stupid stupid, before it gets out of control. However in this case, "stupid" is a half dozen notched up!

The best case turnout for this, IMO, is that eventually someone who has a clue will be called to "fix" this setup ... so at least someone will be making big bucks off of this enormous error in judgment.

Then the lawsuits start to hit, and another batch of lawyers get to send their children to college ... that's a good thing too, I suppose.

ericgarnel Sun, 06/21/2009 - 05:48

I know. I wouldn't touch that job with a stick! It would a good study in how not to build a wireless network! I was just curious on how they came up with the idea.

Imagine 23 separate wireless networks in one small area... similar to what you would see in a dorm, apartment building, etc. but with some level of interconnection between them!

Leo Laohoo Sun, 06/21/2009 - 14:57

Hey Richard,

You're lucky with this topic. You have responses from the most prolific and knowledgable people (except me).

Who made these technical decisions? Are they taking some form of experimental medications that you should be aware of?

I agree with previous posts. 26 Autonomous APs with 26 different DHCP and 26 subnets ... and you can't roam from one AP to another.

If you want to delve into this, you need a year's supply of antacids, Valium and start polishing up your resume.

8r-murphy Sun, 06/21/2009 - 15:48

Thanks to everyone for your comments. Unfortunately, I was not consulted in advance of this purchase. However, I will be working on trying to impose some kind of logical design on this project.

Leo Laohoo Sun, 06/21/2009 - 16:41

Can't you get a WLC?

I'm not certain as to the maximum SSID a 1230 AP can support but you can configure each AP with the various SSID. Each AP will point to a specific DHCP and ACS server sitting somewhere in your network.

That's as easy and dirty it will look. I believe each 26 networks correspond to a specific business unit who is reluctant to talk to one another, thus the need for a separate network. You don't need to tell them about this.


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