Many routers, what am I missing?

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BNADave

New Around Here
Working with an RV campground, so it's different from whatever is considered a 'standard' net. There are about a 100 sites and each site could have multiple devices. Gaming and streaming are probably not possible, but good access for everyone would be nice while connections between sites should be no easier than connection between two houses in the normal world. Here's the idea.

At the central building, with a Comcast modem of sufficient bandwidth, connect the modem Ethernet connection through a cable to a switch near the routers. Connect the switch to multiple RT-AC32oo routers configured as access points. Each 3200 will connect to an individual 40 degree directional antenna aimed to cover a particular area. Each 3200 will be configured with the same SSID/Password and three FIXED 20MHz channels such that adjacent areas are on different channels. In fact the 2.4 GHz channels don't repeat until two areas away, the 5 GHz channels until three areas away.

The individual users with a very wide range of equipment (even phones) and likely little WiFi knowledge will simply connect to the strongest signal and need only know one SSID and one Password.

Am I missing something? Is there a special configuration I should be aware of?

p.s. The 3200 has six antennas all of which will be removed. In the manual it hints (page 124) that antennas 3, 5, and 6 cover all bands but gives no hint of which antenna is which. It turns out that they are numbered from right to left when looking from the front and a single antenna in 3 (or 5 or 6) works just fine for my purposes.

Thanks.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
This does not sound like a good plan. Using a radio without the antennae attached is asking for a lot of trouble.

Directional antennae? Again, it seems like a hit or miss proposition for mobile/movable devices.

I would be looking at something more suited to what this set up calls for. It may even be cheaper in the long run too.

@Trip will surely have some good input for you. I hope you haven't purchased any of the above hardware. :)
 

JDB

Very Senior Member
This setup really needs a proper enterprise Wi-fi solution. Using home/consumer kit will not be ideal. For a start, management of 100 devices will be a nightmare, and performance will be very poor/router will fail based on your plan with half connected antenna.

If you must use Asus you’d be better to use AiMesh and let it deal with channel selection and don’t bother with directional antenna (or use antenna on EVERY port, not just some, the router is designed to have load on the ports and it not being there will not be good for the HW). However I’ve no idea how AiMesh would work with 100 devices or if that’s even supported!


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BNADave

New Around Here
As a former radio station Chief Engineer, I would certainly not fire up a 50 kW transmitter without a load. At 1 W I'm much less concerned, but Ebay has RP-SMT 50 Ohm dummy loads for about $1 a piece so i'll probably add them just so someone in the future doesn't add back all the omni antennas and screw up the install. While the RV's are movable, they will not be moving in the application. They are better thought of as houses in a neighborhood. I've not found anything that's "more suitable" or cheaper though I'm always open to ideas.
 

BNADave

New Around Here
In an enterprise solution you generally have lots of users and lots of printers and common storage that all need to talk to each other. These RV users must not be able to talk to each other any more than houses in a community can talk to each other. It's not really a "network" in any conventional sense. It's a signal distribution system which requires a different mind set and for which I can find no pre-designed, dedicated solution.
 

JDB

Very Senior Member
Use case of the enterprise Wi-fi is identical - many AP’s all needing to co-exist and provide a single interface to the clients.
Whether the client is using a printer or surfing to find a pub for lunch is irrelevant, the Wi-fi is just passing data frames around.

Blocking the ports with dummy load is definitely the way to go (50Kw or 1W, the electronics are still designed to have a load, the user manual explicitly states not to run without an antenna).

I would still seriously look at AiMesh if you insist on this route. Managing 100 AP’s individually will be nothing short of a nightmare!
I’d be looking at something like this:

https://unifi-mesh.ui.com/#products

With optional directional antenna as needed https://www.ui.com/unifi/unifi-mesh-antenna/
The POE option alone makes the installation 10x easier as you can install wherever you want including outdoors without needing power there, just an Ethernet run. This may significantly reduce the number of AP’s required if you can mount them in more strategic locations (like where an omnidirectional antenna can serve multiple clients around it!).

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Trip

Very Senior Member
Wide-area WAN with proper enterprise AAA and potentially some SDN-driven traffic handling is what's needed here, and @JDB is on the right track guiding you towards an entry-level enterprise solution such as UniFi Mesh. With all due respect, it may be best to farm this out to an IT firm who can simply handle it for you, if that is possible. If you simply must do the labor yourself for whatever reason, I'd still recommend hiring an on-site consultant to architect the topology, gear selection and config. No shame in that; it sounds as though it could save you a lot of opportunity cost.
 

JDB

Very Senior Member
The other thing is Wi-fi signal penetration into RV’s is VERY poor. They are excellent faraday cages!

I run an LTE Mobile Broadband company specifically targeted at motorhomes, trucks and boats. One of the things we compete with are Wi-fi boosters which take the outside Wi-fi provided by the campsite and re-broadcast it into your vehicle (such as https://www.motorhomewifi.com/catalog/iboost-wifi-system/).

You’ll need to consider this as part of your install, be a waste of time to put Wi-fi up everywhere that works great everywhere but INSIDE the RV’s! In some cases a booster on specific RV’s may be the only solution if you can’t get an AP within an acceptable range.


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BNADave

New Around Here
It was late at night, perhaps I should be more specific. There are not, nor will there be 100 Routers. There will be no more than 9, set up as AP's, each feeding its own 40 degree directional antenna, each covering a specific area of the campground with no more than 20 campsites, each with a set of three frequencies that do not conflict with its neighboring directional antenna frequencies. There will be no PoE required as the longest Ethernet wire would be from the Comcast modem on the first floor to the switch and group of 3200's on the second floor with short Ethernet cables connecting them.

Note, a set of 40 degree beams from a central location can cover 360 degrees with 9 beams, the required spread is significantly fewer degrees. The directional antennas also provide gain and will be connected with very short, low loss cable to minimize losses of that gain.

For simplicity, consider this as a single 3200 connected to a modem in your home, configured in a 'disabled' way such that you can't talk to your wife (the campsite next to you) but each of you has full access to three 20 MHz channels to the outside world. Again, think simplest case of distribution not the complex case of enterprise networking. Enforcing not being able to connect to the campsite nextdoor is the single biggest issue I see.
 

JDB

Very Senior Member
With the greatest respect I think your radio background is making you approach this from the wrong angle.
While your setup sounds reasonable, you will get far better results allowing the Wi-fi AP’s to work as a mesh (i.e. Asus AiMesh or Ubiquity Mesh).

And while you are hoping to put them all in the one building, you would be far better off doing some Cat6 outdoor runs with POE to serve farthest RV sites.

Wi-fi works MUCH better with a smart cluster/mesh than with 1 centralised broadcast point.
This is mainly as while your high gain output to the clients might be great in a single 40 degree segment, the client doesn’t have a directional antenna to respond with - a mobile phone is pretty useless at talking to a device more than 25-30 metres away once you’ve put a wall/RV in the way. Wi-fi clients are smart and will roam happily between meshed AP’s based on signal and guidance from the mesh.

The entry level Ubiquity kit is similarly priced to Asus routers and would not need the directional antennas if placed outside in amongst the RV’s, you’d probably only need 5-6 of them as well as opposed to 9, plus they’ll be much closer to the RV’s so compensating for the faraday cage effect better. Substitute that cost of antenna/extra routers for a 8-12 port passive 24V POE Switch and some Cat6 cable and you’ll have a far more usable, flexible and scalable solution.
If you find some weak spots you can add a couple more AP’s to the mesh as needed. As suggested, a consultant that can come and test the environment and suggest best placement (as well as how big an issue the faraday cage effect will be) will go a long way here. I spend a lot of time measuring RSSI dBm and actual achieved throughput when working with similar setups you are aiming for and it really helps build a good map of where to place AP’s/boosters.


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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@BNADave how far does the signal have to reach? Is this open area or a wooded, mostly flat, field?

A single AP with up to 20 camper sites can easily hit almost 200 devices. It will fail in this scenario, even if the signal strength is adequate for all.

I also don't understand how a single directional antennae can be used to broadcast on 3, 20MHz wide frequencies at the same time? While that may help with my point above, it is still far greater than the ~32 client device limit of the consumer routers you plan to use here.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Going to echo with @JDB - This needs to be approached as much from a network admin's perspective as it does from just the viewpoint of an RF site engineer. Directional RF products and cascaded consumer gear is not even close to the right way to approach this project. It appears you insist on doing it that way, which is fine, but when you inevitably run into issues caused by not using the right class of gear, nor a properly configured control plane, don't say some of us didn't try to warn you. Not sure what else I can add at this point if we don't see some kind of course-correction in the OP's approach...
 

BNADave

New Around Here
Thanks to all for your comments and suggestions. You do so without payment and I appreciate that. I do think, and this comment is not limited to this forum or this question, that statements rejecting ideas without stating why the idea is faulty are not productive. Most of the comments in this thread that did include a why were based on faulty misunderstandings that were as much the result of my writing as of the commentators reading.

But it's clear that this thread has gone off the rails and need not continue. The original question, badly stated by me with way too much detail is this: When using an Asus RT-AC32oo in default Access Point mode, individual devices will be able to see and talk to each other, for example computer to printer. Is there a setting in the AP that will prevent this inter-device communication and simply allow each device to reach the internet on its own?

Thanks again.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
The original question, badly stated by me with way too much detail is this: When using an Asus RT-AC32oo in default Access Point mode, individual devices will be able to see and talk to each other, for example computer to printer. Is there a setting in the AP that will prevent this inter-device communication and simply allow each device to reach the internet on its own?

Thanks again.

There's a setting in the router called Set AP Isolated. Is that available on your router in AP Mode?

OE
 

Hawk

Senior Member
As a former radio station Chief Engineer, I would certainly not fire up a 50 kW transmitter without a load. At 1 W I'm much less concerned, but Ebay has RP-SMT 50 Ohm dummy loads for about $1 a piece so i'll probably add them just so someone in the future doesn't add back all the omni antennas and screw up the install. While the RV's are movable, they will not be moving in the application. They are better thought of as houses in a neighborhood. I've not found anything that's "more suitable" or cheaper though I'm always open to ideas.
There's a setting in the router called Set AP Isolated. Is that available on your router in AP Mode?

OE
It is not available if router is operating in access point mode.
 

BNADave

New Around Here
The Asus RT-AC32oo has a setting in AP mode labeled "Set AP isolated" . Searching on that name says that it will do exactly what I need.
THANKS!
 

JDB

Very Senior Member
The Asus RT-AC32oo has a setting in AP mode labeled "Set AP isolated" . Searching on that name says that it will do exactly what I need.
THANKS!

It will isolate clients from one another connected to that same AP, but not from clients connected to other AP’s as they will be routed at L2 via the switch you plan to install.


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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
A new plan is needed here. Throw old assumptions out and start with the hardware this installation requires. :)
 

JDB

Very Senior Member
Thanks, I was wondering about that, but I found this link
https://www.tp-link.com/us/support/faq/525/
and this switch
TP-Link TL-SL5428E
which appears to fix that issue.

Yea that should do it. There are significantly cheaper 12 port switches that would also do it available (unless you have a load of other stuff to connect aside from the 9 APs and main router).

EDIT - example being, Netgear GS716T. It’s a 16 port so still leaves headroom but is half the price of the TP-Link.


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