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SonicWall Small Business Wireless Network Setup

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  • SonicWALL
  • Wireless Network
  • Networking
  • Office
Last response: in Networking
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November 30, 2013 8:55:02 AM

Hi,
I just rented a 5,000 square foot office for my company. I am in the process of setting up my wireless network and I am looking into purchasing a SonicWall 01-SSC-4977 TZ 215. Do you think the wireless signal will cover the entire 5,000 square feet, or should I also purchase sonic points as well? Also, how secure do you think this router is? Even though not required, we would like the network to be secured and data to be encrypted.

Thanks for your help!

More about : sonicwall small business wireless network setup

November 30, 2013 9:08:15 AM

You are going to have coverage issues at that size. How many AP will depend on the shape of the space and the location of the walls. Then you must look at the density of your users and the volume of traffic they generate. This tends to be impossible to guess. You should figure at a very maximum 10 active users per AP and for some type of applications it will only run 3 or 4. This gets very messy because there is no clear definition of active users.

The router/AP is as secure as anything else that can run WPA/WPA2. The highest level of security is obtained by using certificate based authentication in enterprise mode. You would want to avoid PSK in a business environment since it is hard to keep the key secure for long periods of time...ie employees have to know it.

If you are worried about data security other than wireless you will need to use some form of application level security to protect your data. It really depends what exactly you are trying to protect. Most these issues tend to be server issues since it is fairly easy to use one of the many secure transports it is much harder to keep the data secure on the client machines and on the server.

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November 30, 2013 9:23:05 AM

bill001g said:
You are going to have coverage issues at that size. How many AP will depend on the shape of the space and the location of the walls. Then you must look at the density of your users and the volume of traffic they generate. This tends to be impossible to guess. You should figure at a very maximum 10 active users per AP and for some type of applications it will only run 3 or 4. This gets very messy because there is no clear definition of active users.

The router/AP is as secure as anything else that can run WPA/WPA2. The highest level of security is obtained by using certificate based authentication in enterprise mode. You would want to avoid PSK in a business environment since it is hard to keep the key secure for long periods of time...ie employees have to know it.

If you are worried about data security other than wireless you will need to use some form of application level security to protect your data. It really depends what exactly you are trying to protect. Most these issues tend to be server issues since it is fairly easy to use one of the many secure transports it is much harder to keep the data secure on the client machines and on the server.



Hi and thanks for your reply. There will be about 10 active users on the wireless at all times. A couple times per month we have staff meetings and there can be up to 30 people on the same network. Also, we will have the occasional guest access. Do you suggest anything other than the sonic wall?
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November 30, 2013 10:39:51 AM

A sonicwall is mostly a firewall. If you need advanced firewall features or are going to something like content filtering this is a great box. If all you are doing with it is hooking it up to the internet to allow wireless access then you are paying a lot of money for feature you are not using. It will not provide better wireless coverage or throughput than any other device on the market. Still this is one of the better low prices firewalls so if you need a true firewall these are good products.

As long as your users sit close enough to the device you likely could get by with it. The more users that you can have use ethernet cable the less load it puts on the wireless. You could try it and if you have issue add another AP or two as you determine where the issues are.
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December 2, 2013 11:04:41 AM

Hi,

Full disclosure: I work in marketing for Dell SonicWALL.

The TZ215 is a nice box for small to mid-size business and as others have pointed out it can do a lot for you by way of content filtering, intrusion prevention, malware protection, secure mobile access, and wireless (among others). If you are buying one of these boxes the 215 is a great choice (powerful small unit, metal case, etc) however security services are really important- take a look at the 'TotalSecure' bundles - these include 24x7 support & all the security updates subscription.

Regarding wireless coverage -- as others have mentioned, 5000 sqft is a pretty large space but it will depend more on factors such as interference from other wireless networks, how many walls the signal must travel through, the layout of the building, where the AP is placed, etc. However, one good thing about the 215 is that it includes a built in wireless controller and can support up to 16 additional access points. So, you might consider starting with the TZ215W and add on an access point if you find that you do not have enough coverage.
As of today, there are 3 different models of wireless access points, for more info please see:
http://www.sonicwall.com/us/en/products/Clean-Wireless-...

Hope that helps..

Kind Regards,
Daniel
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Best solution

December 2, 2013 5:41:20 PM

I've utilized Sonicwall firewalls (including the TZ 215) at several small businesses and they are great firewall appliances for the cost, and as stated above you can also purchase additional subscription services for additional features if you need, such as content filtering, if you choose you need those services.

However, in all honesty, I would not recommend purchasing the wireless TZ 215 for your situation. A single wireless point is not going to offer enough wireless coverage, and from my experience working with Sonicwall wireless AP configurations, it can be very tricky and somewhat limiting. I would instead suggest utilizing the Sonicwall as your default gateway router, firewall, etc. and purchase separate PoE wireless access points. Again, Sonicwall makes stand-alone access points, but these can't be individually configured and REQUIRE the Sonicwall firewall to actually access and configure the devices. This was enough for me to stop using them. Also given the cost, there are many other alternatives with more features.

I started looking around at other brands and options, and the two that really ended up good for us were EnGenius and Ubiquiti brand wireless access points. Both have a broad range of access points with varying features to meet your needs and your budget, and of course there are also many different "long range" options with increased performance antenna arrays to over greater overall coverage area.

Again, I've personally had great luck with the Ubiquiti UniFi Long Range WAP units, and given the price there is little which can compare. You can broadcast multiple SSIDs and operate with VLAN tagging, which is a feature many cheaper units just don't support. It's hard to know exactly what you need for your office, but I would recommend utilizing at least two APs, and that way in the even that something causes an outage with one AP the other is still up and running for your wireless network. I've personally tested the UniFi long Range WAP units with about twenty concurrent users connected and there really didn't seem to be any sort of trouble with that load, and they are rated for up to 30 users or more.
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December 3, 2013 10:37:50 AM

choucove said:
I've utilized Sonicwall firewalls (including the TZ 215) at several small businesses and they are great firewall appliances for the cost, and as stated above you can also purchase additional subscription services for additional features if you need, such as content filtering, if you choose you need those services.

However, in all honesty, I would not recommend purchasing the wireless TZ 215 for your situation. A single wireless point is not going to offer enough wireless coverage, and from my experience working with Sonicwall wireless AP configurations, it can be very tricky and somewhat limiting. I would instead suggest utilizing the Sonicwall as your default gateway router, firewall, etc. and purchase separate PoE wireless access points. Again, Sonicwall makes stand-alone access points, but these can't be individually configured and REQUIRE the Sonicwall firewall to actually access and configure the devices. This was enough for me to stop using them. Also given the cost, there are many other alternatives with more features.

I started looking around at other brands and options, and the two that really ended up good for us were EnGenius and Ubiquiti brand wireless access points. Both have a broad range of access points with varying features to meet your needs and your budget, and of course there are also many different "long range" options with increased performance antenna arrays to over greater overall coverage area.

Again, I've personally had great luck with the Ubiquiti UniFi Long Range WAP units, and given the price there is little which can compare. You can broadcast multiple SSIDs and operate with VLAN tagging, which is a feature many cheaper units just don't support. It's hard to know exactly what you need for your office, but I would recommend utilizing at least two APs, and that way in the even that something causes an outage with one AP the other is still up and running for your wireless network. I've personally tested the UniFi long Range WAP units with about twenty concurrent users connected and there really didn't seem to be any sort of trouble with that load, and they are rated for up to 30 users or more.


Thanks, I will check these out.
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