I have a customer who wants wireless for his entire school campus. In the gymnasium, he says that there will be at lease 500 people with wireless devices at one time during a game or event. How many access points will I need to provision to accomplish this request? We are quoting the AIR-CAP3602I.
Well there are many factors as you may know already. People here will say around 25 users per radio. This can be more or less depending on the application. If people are just going to be checking their email and or web browsing, you can have maybe up to 50+ clients per radio. So you need to determine what the 500 will be doing. The more APs, to more RF noise you will have especially on the 2.4ghz.
The initial Cisco recommended "magic number" is 25 clients per WAP. Now, take note I posted "initial". There's been a change of thinking lately and now the so-called "magic number" is just the average. This will depend on what type of traffic you are generating. In my opinion, if traffic are just emails, web browsing, FB/Twitter then this can go up to 35 (I won't argue with Scott's value of 50 because I haven't gone that high before). If someone decides to do video streaming then this value can drop down to 5 to 8 clients per WAP.
Again, as Scott said, too many WAPs in a location (like a gym) can result in interesting results in the 802.11b radio spectrum and you may need to properly calibrate the radios after the WAPs are installed (and hopefully before being used). I've done dense deployment in gyms and in all the cases, I was left with little choice but to disable the 802.11b/g radio to some of the WAPs. Aside from the risk of channel interferrence from other WAPs, my other reason (or factor) was the large amount of bluetooth whenever the gym is being used for events.
One more thing to consider is that you have "quoting the AIR-CAP3602I". You do know that this model requires a WLC that is running 7.2.X firmware right?