August 9th, 2011, 09:13 AM
12 modems with wireless - wireless connection merging issue
I have an odd situation, which I think has no reasonable solution, but I'm here to ask just to be sure.
I have a building in which we have 10 units(apartment sized) with 10 rooms in each unit. In each unit we have 1-2 wireless modem/router combo's from an ISP which cannot be physically connected together(important).
We provide a laptop to each person in these units. Each laptop is assigned to a resident, which could be assigned to any one of the units, thusly making it impossible to pre-assign a wireless connection for the laptop. Manually connecting 100 laptops in a day and then dealing with moves thereafter is a big hassle and the residents complain about lacking internet access often due to being moved with no one communicating to IT about the move and their laptop ends up without a wireless connection until they complain to us. (we use deepfreeze, and do not provide wireless passwords to residents)
What would be ideal here is not possible, though I have made the suggestion to eliminate 11 modem's, save the monthly cost, wire up some AP/repeaters for a single broad wireless connection making it so we can pre-configure each laptop and never look back... sadly, who knows if that will ever go through.
I am aware that I can name all the wireless connections the same and vary the channel, thereby making it possible to have the residents laptops pre-configured and still able to connect to a different router if they move.
My concern is two-fold:
1 - Some units have 2 routers and I'm not sure how that would work out, since the laptops would only connect to one of them, but the unit needs to have even distribution between the 2 routers.
2 - The wireless signals do overlap and I am not sure if Windows 7 would automatically connect to the router with the strongest signal? I can and will test this when I get a chance, but thought I'd raise the question here for now.
Is there anything else I might want to know about here?
Thank you for your time.
August 9th, 2011, 09:21 AM
Just trying to wrap my head around this...
You have 10 multi-story buildings each with multiple internet connections AND a wireless router attached to it? Is that right?
Also, what sort of place is this? It will just help me understand the layout and structure. Apartments? Hospital? It also will help explain my next two questions: What sort of security is needed (e.g. hospital is absolute whereas residential can be slightly more relaxed.) And how often are people moving around here?
August 9th, 2011, 09:48 AM
it is apartment style, one big building broken down into 10 units with about 6-10 rooms in each. each of the 10 units inside the single big building has a modem.
you could look at it like its 1 building with 10 apartments that have 10 rooms, to make it easier.
We use WPA2. this is military. one big move in every 6 months, small moves for a month after each big move, then its mostly settled the rest of the year.
August 9th, 2011, 11:29 AM
How walk-about ready do these need to be?
What you could do is attach a separate SSID onto each WAP. W7 does a pretty good job of going between signals, the problem would be dropping connections due to a whole new modem being used. If it were possible to push back to having 1 modem per unit and maybe using a WAP as a repeater you might do much better.
How close are the units? Close enough to have wireless signals bleed between them?
August 9th, 2011, 12:29 PM
They should not be walking around with these at all. Currently they do have a different SSID on each router.
My issue here is that Windows works off of a preferred networks list, thusly, even if the top network has the worst signal it will still connect to it. So in answer to your question, yes, they are close enough to have signals blending, sometimes 4-5 blend with low signal strength, making it not feasible to just add all the networks into each laptop so that they auto-connect.
Is there a way to make windows connect to the best signal strength instead of just the list of preferred networks from top to bottom. If so, then that would work.
August 9th, 2011, 01:21 PM
Ok, that's a good start (each having its own SSID.) My first thought was the issue out laptops that correspond to the network they should be in, then I re-read your original post and realized why that wouldn't work.
What about a simple set of instructions that tell the user how to reorder the networks for the strongest signal once they set it up? That's a simple drag-and-drop sort of procedure and you should be able to allow that without too much hassle.
August 9th, 2011, 01:31 PM
I suppose I should've put a brief explanation of the deep freeze part of the equation. This program prevents the user from making any changes to their setup, they can't even save a file. Upon reboot all changes made are completely erased, its like a factory reset every reboot. So, leaving instructions, which for other reasons is not an option anyways, wouldn't work sadly.
I had a feeling that my situation wasn't going to have an easy answer, at least not one that doesn't involve waiting for the right solution to be approved, which could be never.
August 10th, 2011, 10:11 AM
I just did a quick look and found a checkbox that might help you out. If you go to your wireless settings area and right-click on the "Networks you can view, modify..." bar and go to "Properties". There's a check box in mine that says "Connect to a more preferred network if available" That might be your winning ticket.