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DSL Modem, Switch, 5 Routers as APs... Best setup?


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#1 safeskies

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:52 PM

I help manage a small office network. It is for personal internet access that employees use on their breaks. What is the most efficient way to set up our network? We are ready to purchase some new equipment.

 

We currently have an Actiontec GT701D DSL modem with routing capabilities. Connected to the modem is a switch. Connected to the switch are two routers. One is independent. The other router (we’ll call it the ‘main router’) has four other routers connected to it. The four routers use a static IP address with DHCP turned off. They and the ‘main router’ share the same WiFi SSID and password. The result is that, with the exception of the independent router, people can move from one router to the other with only one SSID profile, retaining the same local IP address.

 

There are 3 separate DHCP servers. One on the modem, and one on each of the routers connected to the switch. Every router is a different brand. This setup works ok, but not very elegantly.  My preference would be to have everything under one network so I can access all the routers and modem from any access point. My hope is that this would also increase network performance and reliability.

 

Which option should we look into?

 

1.       Connect all the routers to the switch with static IPs, using the modem as the DHCP server. My concern here would be the capability of the modem to handle everything.

2.       Connect a wired router with extra ports to act as the DHCP server and then connect all routers to it.

3.       Connect a router to the modem using the router’s DHCP server. Connect a switch to the router and the remaining routers (with static IPs) to the switch.

4.       Something else…

 

I think #3 would be the best, but would love some input. Thanks for your help!



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#2 technonymous

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 07:50 AM

I suppose if you have a pile of routers you can try to make it work. However, I wouldn't even mess with that junk and get into a UniFi mesh. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj_nlSWGkb8

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&field-keywords=ubiquiti%20unifi&linkCode=ur2&sprefix=ubiquity,aps,304&tag=gb-show-20&url=search-alias%3Daps



#3 Wand3r3r

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 10:31 AM

I would not have any concerns of the modem/router not being able to handle all of the dhcp requests.  No problem there which makes #1 your best choice.  You do understand you connect the routers by their lan port not the wan port?

By turning off their dhcp servers, connecting by lan port not wan port and assigning them static ips in the modem/router ip range [use ips not in the modem/routers dhcp scope] so you can maintain/access them you create one network.



#4 safeskies

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 09:39 PM

Thanks for mentioning the UniFi product. I looked it up and it seems like a neat concept at a good price. I'll have to do some more research. Do you happen to know the UniFi AP's will work with other brand access points? If we went that route we'd probably just get a couple at first and use our old router's as access points for the rest.

 

And yes, I do understand about connecting to the LAN ports, not the WAN port. I figured the little modem wouldn't be cut out for handing all the DHCP requests, but maybe that's a simpler service than I thought. Thanks!



#5 technonymous

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 07:59 AM

Well the UniFi mesh the AP's are controlled with management software. So I imagine any AP or router not supported would just be another device connected. It takes a lot more technical planning to setup as you're getting into POE. However, easy central management can save money and whole lot of headaches down the road. It depends on how large you think your network will grow. With this system though if you need another AP just run a line to the device and done. Hospitals use this type of setup and as they grown and expand you can get directional AP's too to connect two buildings together. Similar like a dish to dish. Even get into canopy towers and deliver wifi to an entire campus. The sky is the limit. Upgrades like this also adds value to the building it can be a good selling point if someone was looking for a office space already equiped with a wifi mesh.






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