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elementary topology and compatibility

Hi, I'm designing a small (30 user), mixed network with budget constraints (< $5000US). A site survey hasn't been done yet; it's an indoor site off a 6Mbs DSL. If I use a 1811W wireless router, does it make sense to add, for example, one or more Aironet 1130AG to extend the range of the 1811W?

Or does a different combination make more sense (for instance, a Catalyst CE50024LC + a Cisco 2000 Wireless controller + APs)

Please forgive me if I'm leaving out critical info. I know I'll need VLAN capability, transparent roaming within a VLAN across APs, and a RADIUS server for AAA. I think this combo gives me adequate security, manage-ability, and VPN capability.

My questions right now boil down to 2:

(a) Does the 1811W work with 1 or more APs, such as the 1130AG?

(b) If in the future I need more APs for coverage, or if I need more wired connections off the 1811W switch (which has only 8 ports total), what is the best way to add capacity in the form of more wired connections and/or more APs? The non-profit client needs to demonstrate smooth upgradability, without any wasted purchases.

Many thanks for your patience!


Re: elementary topology and compatibility

The 1811 will participate with other automomous APs in a Wireless Domain (using Wireless Domain Services, Cisco style)

You can cascade the switchports from the 1811, or keep it as a separate domain (running another domain from the Fast Ethernet port of the router), or add an additional switch with enough ports to feed all of the APs in a single broadcast domain (or domains, with VLANs).

$5000.00 isn't much of a budget, but it's probably do-able.

Some of the things to be careful with are:

-- How much area do ou need to cover?

-- Open areas, or compartmentalized?

-- Site survey, site survey, site survey (repeat until you are sick of hearing/doing it, then do it again ... better yet, get someone with experience to do it). If you don't know exactly what you need and where you need it before you begin, I can pretty much guarantee some ugly surprises.

-- Choose your antennas wisely, don't assume anything

-- Stay with one vendor. Don't start with Cisco, decide you're gonna run out of money, then "downshift" to something like a Linksys or Netgear ... the capabilities won't line up and wireless life will become a nightmare.

-- Get some "contingency" money in addition to the primary budget ... $5000 isn't that much to do it right (depending on areas covered, and a multitude of other variables you won't know / can't possibly know without a site survey).

Use the site survey as the budgeting guideline. Get a firm list of prioritized goals from the customer. Then do the site survey, then create the design. If the Bill of Materials and labor exceed the budget, knock off some of the goals, or get more money. Set the expectation early on, and stick to your guns. Very few projects get cheaper as they progress.

Don't forget network management, security, support / software / hardware maintenance, and the occasional check-up / follow-up fees to make the inevitable post-install tweaks and troubleshooting calls (and the "oh by the way, while you're doing that, can you also do this ..." scope creep).

Do the survey, do the plan, implement. If you can't do everything they want (according to their prioritized list)with the money provided, don't do it (or plan on doing it for free).

Good Luck


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