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Is it possible?

I'm responsible for coming up with a campus solution to support 5000 end users in a campus environment. The problem that I'm having is upper management says that this system must only have one access point. Is that possible. And what would be the best solution if that isn't possible (Hot Spots?)


Re: Is it possible?

Hi Joseph,

you have to determine how many users may be online simultaneously.

One AP may handle between 25-30 users at the same time.

How large is you campus? What kind of wall do you have? Brick or dry walls?

There are many concerns left, but these ones are the first you have to think of.

best practice is to buy one of you favourites APs a matching Wireless card for you Laptop. Then you may place this AP in different locations and have a site survey to determine the coverage of the wireless LAN.

This FAQ may be a good start for this:

Best regards,


Re: Is it possible?

To answer your question, Can an AP service 5000 people? Answer is no.

Why? The most relayed bit of information concerning 802.11 is that an AP has a rough range of 300' which is purely theoretical...

Now to have a campus environment within that 300' feet, sounds to be a rather small campus. ;) The typical recommended user count on an AP depends on the application they are using. If its say a paperless environment where users are pulling down large images, your not going be able to reliably put as many users on it as if it were say barcode scanners. Theres a bit more to it than that but i thnk you will understand what im trying to convey to you.

Your other option? Honestly to service that type of environment you will need to define several items...

Whos going to get service? Maybe in your application of wireless you do not need 100% saturation. A set of floor plans will come in very handy for this...

What are your users going to be doing? As i stated earlier different applications have different requirements.

Whats the expected load? If your going to be looking at all 5000 users online at once, you will likly be looking at layer3 roaming.

Honestly you need to get more information from your management to make a more educated solution for yuor company. They may have a mis-conception of whats actually required per AP or for the solution in general.

Feel free to ask questions, i found this forum is great for that sort of thing! ;)

Hall of Fame Super Red

Re: Is it possible?

Hi Joseph,

Just to add a little to Robert (are we going to see the Bluejackets vs Flames?) and Frank's great info.I wanted to give you a couple of points of reference that you can relate to the upper management.

Our campus, which is not huge is using +/- 90 AP's just to cover student "hot spots". Areas where students study, have coffee or generally congregate. I know of 2 larger institutions that use over 800 and 1200 AP's respectively to cover their large multi building campuses. If you want to use voice you will need almost complete saturation.

Hope this helps!


New Member

Re: Is it possible?

Joseph, I think your managements reason for asking for just one AP is that they do not understand the technology. they probably just mean that they want one SSID so that they can connect with the same settings in any part of the campus. That is what management thought at one of my jobs.

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