Wireless network upgrade at hotel


My tech knowledge is somewhat limited. I was recently asked to upgrade a wireless network at the hotel I work at. Our budget is very small, and the current equipment is run through the phone lines. The downside to the current equipment is that there is a 1 Mbps cap through one of the Routers that uses the phone lines. I was thinking I would run cat 5 cables to where I want the 7 different access points to be. Then we wouldn't have to try and use the old equipment. I also saw that I could probably install the AP's as repeaters, and this would be cheaper and easier to do. Our hotel is L shaped so I was thinking I would put the main AP in the corner and then put 3 on each side of it as repeaters. I would like to know if there is any downside to using them as repeaters or is it better just to take a very long time to run the cat5?
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  1. running CAT5 and using an 8 port switch is more reliable than daisy-chaining repeaters, since if one fails all the others connected to it will not work either.

    are you sure the 1Mb/s cap is not from your internet connection?
  2. Yes I am sure, the equipment is probably 7-10 years old and the box that converts the cat5 cable from the modem into the signal that runs over the telephone lines has 1Mb ports on it. We also have 25 Mb down and 2Mb up over broadband through Integra. I connected directly to the modem to make sure we were getting the speed we paid for and that is not the problem. We have an 8 port switch that 2 of the AP's go through and they bypass the box that runs the signal through the telephone lines and they also get the speed that is sent by our ISP. So I know that the converter box is the problem. I want to bypass that completely, because the cost to upgrade it and buy new APs would be tremendously expensive. Running Cat5 isn't ideal, but if there is no other way I guess I will have to do that.
  3. If I run Cat5 then the cost would be minimal, but the wor to run it through the walls wouldn't be very fun as it is an older hotel. I could run it on the outside for the most part, and just run it into the rooms where I want the access points I guess.
  4. Thank you for the quick reply.
  5. Best answer
    Cable to distinct APs would be much more reliable than multiple repeaters.

    Using more than three APs is a design challenge as you will be using overlapping radio channels and have interference problems, particularly with inexpensive consumer quality devices.
  6. Well the good thing is that we alread have quality APs that we bought about 3 months ago. We are using the EnGenius ECB300 High Power Wireless-N Access Point, but the problem is that old converter box in the networking room, that iswhy I was going to run Cat5. We haven't had any interference poblems yet using the 5 APs we have, we want to add 2 more so the coverage is better. I think I will have to run cable though. I think I will have less problems down the road. Is there a way to make it so that all the access points have the same name and password? I think that would make it easier for guests that stay here. Thank you.
  7. Yes, you can configure them all on the same network with the same SSID and password, but then you have the issue of overloading a single point or two since you don't have gear that will support failover, the ability of the wireless network to move users to another AP when too many connect on one.

    Since you have all the gear already, I suppose that you can configure and test it with a single SSID. You can always change it if you have too many dropped connections.
  8. Thank you both for the quick replies and information that you have provided. I think now I have a better understanding of what I am getting into.
  9. Best answer selected by MrRufius.
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