Central or Distributed Controllers?

Answered Question
Apr 21st, 2010

Hi,

  I'm looking at a network for a firm with around 20 branches, plus a HQ. At the moment, all sites are dependant on wireless, and all are using basic Belkin APs, individually configured.

  I would like something a little more robust, so I am looking at the option of moving to a controller based system.

  The branches each have around 10 staff, but with a fairly large footprint over a single floor, so most have 2 or 3 Aps now. They have no IT staff

  The HQ obviously has IT staff, and has a mixture of offices and Warehouse. This currently has around 5 APs.

  My question is, which is the best design to go for for the current situation? A central controller capable of managing the ~60 APs over all sites, or a controller at each site, capable of managing the 2 or 3 APs at that site?

  Also, how does the 1941W fit into the controller situation, it has an integrated AP, but can it act as a controller for other LWAPs? We are in the process fo redisgning the WAN too, so putting 1941ws in place would be an option, if it's sensible.

Cost is also an interesting factor, going from paying £50 per ap to £300 is going to be interesting in itself, the controller cost on top of that could break the proverbial camels back, so I need to be as economical as I can in that direction too.

Thanks

I have this problem too.
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Correct Answer by Kayle Miller about 6 years 7 months ago

Anthony,

     Do the branch offices have local resources there that they access? What are the WAN links?

     My reccomendation in this scenario would be to deploy the controllers centrally and configure the access points in H-REAP mode so that they drop all the traffic out at the local switch. This minimizes the traffic that goes across the WAN links, also provides more control in regards to QoS, and lowers the overall controller cost.  I recently did this with a client.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to rate this post

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Correct Answer
Kayle Miller Wed, 04/21/2010 - 05:35

Anthony,

     Do the branch offices have local resources there that they access? What are the WAN links?

     My reccomendation in this scenario would be to deploy the controllers centrally and configure the access points in H-REAP mode so that they drop all the traffic out at the local switch. This minimizes the traffic that goes across the WAN links, also provides more control in regards to QoS, and lowers the overall controller cost.  I recently did this with a client.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to rate this post

anthony.metcalf.csl Wed, 04/21/2010 - 05:40

     Do the branch offices have local resources there that they access? What are the WAN links?

At the moment about the only local traffic is printing. Everything else is run from a single app, back to HQ over the WAN link. The WAN links will be decided before the AP implementation, but probably 2Mb SDSL or similar.

Thanks for the reply Kayle.

Kayle Miller Wed, 04/21/2010 - 06:02

Anthony,

    Since it's just local printing I guess then I'd evaluate the traffic, but probably still go H-REAP since it is a small deployment at each location 6 or less AP's.

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