[Hidden-tech] help with enterprise grade router recommendation?

Robert Heller heller at deepsoft.com
Fri Oct 16 10:47:41 EDT 2015

At Fri, 16 Oct 2015 09:04:42 -0400 Sara MacKay <smackay at literacyproject.org> wrote:

> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Hi Folks,
> Can anyone recommend an enterprise model router for a medium/small business?  I have a site that is connecting to their wireless fine (signal is strong) but randomly,  folks are getting dropped from the wireless.  Or if they are trying to connect more than 10 laptops sometimes not everyone can connect.  They have Comcast business cable so I don’t think bandwidth is the problem. Last spring when we upgraded to cable, all network equipment was upgraded to gigabyte units. Any wiring used is all cat5e.  There are still 2 desktops and 2 network printers in the mix as well.
> This is a learning center and when they do online testing, dropping in the middle of it is really problematic. They have over 30 laptops, not to mention other devices that the staff walk in with (phones, i-pads) and rarely are they all in use, but but it has happened. Or rather been attempted.
> I have the opportunity to put in for approx $1000 for this line item, though if there is no solution in that price range, I can make a case for more. Unfortunately the request has to go in in the next couple of days and I have no history purchasing one of these.
> Anyone have any recommendations on routers that can handle that, or which mftr would be reliable to look at?  

My only thought is you need to understand that 'router' and 'access point' are
really two separate things. In the consumer/residentional market, there is
something being called a 'wireless router', which is *really* two things in
one box: a *router* (which handles traffic between the WAN [Wide Area Network]
and LAN [Local Area Network]) and a *wirless access point* (which bridges the
LAN and the WLAN [Wirless Local Area Network]) -- this is convenient for
consumer/residentional users with just a house or a one room home office to
deal with and don't want to have to deal with the 'clutter' of extra 'boxes'.
In an enterprise / large office environment (like you seem to have), you need
something different.

Typically you want *one* wired router, and possibly *several* wireless access
points. The router goes between your ISP (Comcast in your case) and your LAN
(probably an ethernet switch). Then you would run cat 5/5e/6 cables (from your
switch) to your access points (placed in different locations). You might want
*several* access points because the signal(s) can be blocked by things like
walls, floors, and ceilings, etc. You might want separate access points on
different floors and/or rooms, etc. You want to locate the access points in
places with a 'clear' line-of-sight to the devices they will be serving: maybe
mounted on the ceilings or high on a wall, etc. -- NOT hiding in a closet
behind a 'signal blocking' door. The (wired) *router* should be happy to sit
next to your ethernet switch in your equipment closet or room.  An enterprise 
grade wired router would have the capacity to handle lots of traffic and also 
probably would have a configurable firewall, etc.

> Sara
> MIME-Version: 1.0
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Robert Heller             -- 978-544-6933
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