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Number of Connections on a Cable line

Last response: in Networking
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February 4, 2013 3:43:32 PM

I was wondering if someone could tell me the number of connections that one cable line could support. I read an article that said a t1 line can support 12 connections at a time, so I was wondering what a cable line could support.

Irregardless to the type of wireless router, I would be interested in an approximate number of users that could connect with a wireless device, that is all supplied by one cable line.


Thanks

Daniel
February 4, 2013 5:03:39 PM

It really depends on the particular plan and what the users are doing. For example, I have a 50Mbps cable plan and unless everyone was streaming video there would be plenty of bandwidth to connect dozens of Ethernet wired users, especially users that are just checking email and surfing the Internet.

The wireless part of the internal network is your weak link. With consumer quality routers or APs you start to drop connections when you get to around 8-10 connections, but again depending on how much data each connection uses (like streaming video can get you down to one good connection if the video is high def) the number can be lower than what the wireless radio will support if all the bandwidth is used by one connection -- all will suffer and latency will get too high for anyone to get a good connection.

By contrast good commercial quality (expensive) access points can handle 50 or more wireless connections.

What are your options on a plan and what number and type of users do you need to support?
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February 4, 2013 6:02:24 PM

This is for a small library that has a free cable line from an ISP. The library will have no more than 5 wired lan with a wireless access for patrons. The patron use had up to 10 wireless devices last summer at one time, but there was allot of complaints about slow internet. The present wireless router is a e4200. The city hall also wants to be wired into the Library's lan. The local school wants to bring classes down which could add another 20 to 30 wireless devices wanting to access the internet.

I have been considering a cascading router design inorder to keep the city hall and library lan more secure. I have read allot of articles supporting the idea of using a wireless router for the first router from the modem and then running a line from that router to a second router that would not have a built in wireless connection to use as the lan for the library and city hall. Supposedly the articles state that this configuration would add an addition layer of security.

The wireless devices that have been seen so far is mainly laptops and ipads. On a rare occasion we see a kindle.
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February 4, 2013 6:30:15 PM

I would probably go with a high quality wireless AP or two (like a Cisco Aironet single band g/n standalone WAP or equivalent in another commercial brand), which can handle 25-35 connections per AP for users other than those streaming video, over a bunch of consumer routers configured as APs.

With the consumer router approach you will have the problem that you will only be able to use 3 channels without interference issues (1, 6, and 11) assuming your area doesn't already have interference from surrounding wireless networks, so you can get 8-10 users per consumer AP x 3.

The downside is that commercial units are much more expensive and you have to make sure that you research your buy and get the correct units for your needs, current and future.

Does the town have a IT guy with wireless network experience on a larger scale? Or maybe checkout county/state grants or IT resources that could help.

As far as security, I would definitely use a different network for guest uses and staff use. I hope that your free Internet has a significant bandwidth to support your number of users, adding school kids is going to really test your system.
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February 4, 2013 6:52:20 PM

I agree with the school wanting to bring classes down during the spring time. I doubt it is going to handle it and I do not believe they have the budget for going with a t3 line or bigger.

I am basically the libraries it guy but I don't have large scale network experience. I have worked with small scale stuff but that's about it. I have more book knowledge than actual experience in large scale networking. Which in various fields that I have worked in through life, there is a major difference in actual application to book knowledge. Allot of things look pretty on paper until you try to bring it into the real world.

As far as interference, we have lots of that and to spare. We have a high powered antenna on one end of the building which belongs to the fire department with another smaller antenna half way down the pole. Also a power line pole which supplies a number of homes is next to the building just up from the high powered antenna. Then there is a train track about a hundred feet or two from the building. The building itself is all metal - metal roof and metal exterior walls. Then we have all the fluorescent light fixtures which doesn't help.

As a side note and a curiosity, how would it be possible to setup a city wide wifi since the ap's are limited due to a 3 channel limit. I am curious because that idea has been thought about, even though they have no idea as to the cost involved.
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February 4, 2013 6:54:40 PM

I forgot to mention the size of the library is 38 x 29 and there outside wifi sucks so they want to setup a wifi inside and have an outside ap.
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Best solution

February 4, 2013 7:10:12 PM

danyl1967 said:
I forgot to mention the size of the library is 38 x 29 and there outside wifi sucks so they want to setup a wifi inside and have an outside ap.
Wow, they really want it all. :)  Download INSSIDER and run it to look at the 2.4/5GHz frequencies by signal strength and channel to help you optimize your channel selection for wifi. It's free and useful.

As I see it, your major challenges are pretty tough. Probably a small budget, more demand than you will be able to meet, and you want to provide for the users on the devices they bring, which may not support 5GHz. A dual band AP may be workable for you though if you can "train" your users to use different frequencies for better connections since it will give you more connections on each AP if you can utilize both 2.4 and 5GHz.
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February 4, 2013 7:25:54 PM

You got it, spot on. With what all they would like me to do, I might as well tell them that the moon is made of cheese. The only downside would be they would be wondering why I just don't fly up there and bring them a few slabs.

I have used INSSIDER and oh the things it told me. One side of the building is a dead zone. That would be where the fire departments high powered antenna is. Another side, towards the railroad tracks is not a dead zone but it is weak. At best the outside has a 180 degree field for potential use.

I am still curious how do some of these towns setup a city wide wifi. Just a general explanation would be appreciated. I am just curious about how you get by with only three channels.
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February 4, 2013 9:10:35 PM

danyl1967 said:
. . . I am still curious how do some of these towns setup a city wide wifi. Just a general explanation would be appreciated. I am just curious about how you get by with only three channels.
A big network take money and high quality commercial equipment, like a bunch of the top end Aironet controller based APs indoor and outdoor that are spaced using good planning. Those things when properly installed can handle tens of thousands of connections in a small area (like a football stadium). Unfortunately, we can't all afford the top end stuff in abundance.

HERE is a simple example with mapping to show you the general idea that you can use many APs with only three channels if you plan for their deployment correctly.
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February 16, 2013 2:18:43 PM

Best answer selected by danyl1967.
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