4 Replies Latest reply: May 4, 2013 5:40 PM by Michael K. Moore Jr.
Michael K. Moore Jr. Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

Hello Everyone,

 

     I am preparing to completely wire a school with wireless. I am going to have one AirPort Extreme and 7 AirPort Expresses to make the building wireless. The school is circa 1960, and does not have the existing infastructure to install it. I am going to have the Extreme host the network and finally then extend it through Ethernet to create a network that will be available across the whole school. I read that the maximum is 50 clients. However is there a way to get more than 50? I really want to install AirPort as it is reliable, and Apple is the only wireless hardware provider I want. I thought there is a work around?

 

Sincerely,

Michael Moore


MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), 13 Inch, 120 GB SSD, 16GB RAM
  • 1. Re: More than 50 Clients in Extended (Roaming) AirPort Network
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,680 points)

    The scope of your installation may possibly be beyond the capabilities of the AirPort routers, which are designed for home use.

     

    Since you are planning to use an Ethernet "backbone", that would allow each AirPort to provide......in theory....up to 50 wireless connections per device. In the real world, the connections are going to be very slow with anything past 25-30 per device.

     

    You only have about 240 IP addresses that the "main" AirPort can provide, so that would be about the limit of total devices that could connect to the network.

     

    We have not discussed your Internet connection at all. But if you have 150 wireless clients all sharing the same connection....you will need a world class Internet connection to handle the network.....unless you want everything to occur in extremely slow motion.

     

    I administer the network at my grandson's school. There are 4 AirPort Extremes there....1 in each of 4 classrooms in a roaming type configuration. There are never more than about 50 students on the network at one time.....which has a 100 Mbps Internet connection....so the network works well.

  • 2. Re: More than 50 Clients in Extended (Roaming) AirPort Network
    Michael K. Moore Jr. Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

    Dear Mr. Timmons,

     

         I understand about the Internet connection speed. The school is taking care of that with a dedicated modem running in from Coax. Does the AirPort network at your Grandson's school share the same SSID? I want to make it like I said all share the same ID. So if 50 were on one side on one Express and 50 on the other, provided of course the Internet speeds are acceptable, will it work?

     

     

    Michael

  • 3. Re: More than 50 Clients in Extended (Roaming) AirPort Network
    Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (78,680 points)

    Does the AirPort network at your Grandson's school share the same SSID?

    Yes, it is a "roaming" network. By definition, a "roaming" network shares the same SSID with all wireless access points.

     

    So if 50 were on one side on one Express and 50 on the other, provided of course the Internet speeds are acceptable, will it work?

    Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, we are describing the theoretical limits of each AirPort Express here. My experience with AirPort devices is that they handle 25-30 wireless connections very well, then things start to slow down significantly as you add more clients.

     

    It might work to your satisifaction, but I would be nervous about recommending a setup that pushes the theoretical limits of any device. So, I cannot say whether it will work for you.

     

    I think it would be better if you allocated more AirPort Express devices for each area to avoid pushing the limits on a full time basis.

  • 4. Re: More than 50 Clients in Extended (Roaming) AirPort Network
    Michael K. Moore Jr. Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

    Dear Mr. Timmons,

     

         The building in actuality is quite small. It is about maybe 10,000 square feet. Each Express will only be serving maybe 10 clients at most! Though all of the Expresses will be connected to the Extreme with Ethernet as a back bone. I am definitely thankful for you wonderful knowledge on this subject. So, in essence provided no more than 10 are on each Express, I could have a decent network of 70 since there is 7 routers (6 Express, 1 Extreme). Even more if I go as far as 25 as you mentioned is a decent limit. Since wireless devices pick up the strongest signal, they will automatically go to the closest router. So 20 in each corner of a square building provided it is all connected via Ethernet to an Extreme will be fine?

     

    Michael