Wireless Repeaters and/or powerline options?

Discussions about Internet service providers (ISPs), the Meetinghouse Firewall, wired and wireless networking, usage, management, and support of Meetinghouse Internet
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Wireless Repeaters and/or powerline options?

Postby nognielsen » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:53 am

I'm a new STS, have a bunch of IT experience but it's been a while since I've done any hands on networking! We have an older building where the firewall is in a closet at the back of the building. The Stake President would like me (at whatever cost i might add) to get wireless coverage to the whole building. It seems like running cable would be quite difficult as there's no accessible attic. Has anybody had success/experience with wireless repeaters/extenders? I also saw powerline adapters as an option but saw mixed results in this forum as their could be issues with noise and different circuits to get a reliable consistent connection...

Reading this forum it seems FM Group should be involved in buying this type of stuff, however The Stake President has given me the green light to buy whatever I need... I'm all so new at this...

Here's a repeater that seems to get good reviews. I was thinking of locating this in a secure place half way through the building to extend the wireless coverage.


Also here, more reviews


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Postby aebrown » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:06 am

nognielsen wrote:Reading this forum it seems FM Group should be involved in buying this type of stuff, however The Stake President has given me the green light to buy whatever I need... I'm all so new at this...

It's not just that the FM Group is supposed to pay for networking equipment; there's also the policy that the FM Group must be involved if you do any building modifications, which includes running cable. The stake president has a lot of authority, but he can't modify the building on his own authority. The FM Group may choose to do that kind of work itself, or it may simply give you the green light to implement your proposal, but I would strongly recommend that you work with them (coordinate that through your stake's PFR).
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Postby nognielsen » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:56 am

Thanks, hopefully I won't have to run cable if repeaters or powerline adapters are a valid alternative... I can just plugin and be done.

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Postby sammythesm » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:06 am

It's also advisable for you to order and use the 'standard' church wireless APs - Cisco 1041's - as later this year there will be a new authentication mechanism rolled out for members to use their LDS Account credentials to get onto the wireless. (Details still yet unconfirmed, but frequently discussed here on the forum in other areas)

I would advise against powerline networking. In my experience, powerline networking has always been a disappointment. Since you have a green light, I'd map out an ideal solution using CAT5 cabling and get the FM group on board in doing the wiring for you. Then you don't have to worry about the attic situation.

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Postby harddrive » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:43 am

I agree with aebrown. The FM group needs to be involved. Now about running cable, none of my buildings really have an attic to run the cables. However the hallways have drop ceilings and we were able to run the cables there. Also many buildings have conduit going to places and you should be able to utilize those to pull cable. Just make sure that you have a good fish and fish sticks.

Also, with the 1041, they are power over ethernet, which is great because you don't have to worry about power in the ceiling. I currently have 6 buildings in my stake and the most access points I have in them is 4, with one of them being the 881w. If you place your access points in the correct location, you should get good coverage throughout the building. In my opinion, you don't need 5 bars everywhere you go. As long as you get 3 bars or about -70db on the wireless signal, you will be fine. To me this will only be used during meetings to show something and you don't need a lot of bandwidth.

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:06 am

harddrive wrote:Also many buildings have conduit going to places and you should be able to utilize those to pull cable.

I'm not sure about that. I don't think you can mix "lethal" wires with "non-lethal" in a conduit. So you'd be limited to telephone, CCTV and similar.
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Postby rbeede » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:49 pm

Yeah I'd get the FM group to order the Church standard equipment of the Cisco 881W and 1041N as that doesn't come out of the stake's budget but the FM groups. The hardware is more expensive, but Church headquarters can also remotely manage it, configure it, support it, and assist with warranty coverage. Years down the road when a new STS or FM group person has to do repair work or otherwise they can get assistance from the GSD if needed or have official equipment replaced. I believe the equipment through the Church has a 3 year warranty.

I agree that powerline networking isn't as fast or reliable as plain old wired even though wire is more difficult to install.

Russell is right about the conduit mixing especially if it has electrical wiring in it. Work with the FM group to identify existing safe locations for running cable.

As for getting good wireless coverage in the entire building and how many wireless APs to purchase read the thread at https://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?10342-Better-WiFi-Coverage-in-building for some good tips.

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Powerline or wired

Postby MerrillDL » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:34 am

I don't have experience with powerline options. I have done quite a bit of research and found that it's not advisable to connect a 1041 downstream from a powerline adapter. The datarate is variable and is influenced by what is plugged into the circuit.

Regarding condiut, there's low voltage (Ethernet, 12v. speaker wire, etc...), and high voltage (line voltage 110VAC, 220VAC). You should never install low voltage wiring in a conduit with high voltage. The main concern is building code followed by safety.

My PFR has worked very closely with our FM in wiring the buildings with Ethernet. We opted to do it ourselves (with the FM's blessing of course).

I've learned a bunch about building construction, tips & tricks in getting a wire from here, to over there. Even when you don't see any realistic options that don't involve surface mounted conduit.

The FM can provide a PFR with the building blueprint to aid in where logical cable paths might exist, or even conduit which may be available to use. Every building has empty conduit installed for the purpose of future needs.

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Postby aclawson » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:09 am

Powerline systems (Home Plug and similar) are known to generate interference on the amateur radio frequencies. Aside from potentially blocking emergency communications if you buy the equipment and a ham who lives nearby is adversely affected the expense and effort to fix the problem falls 100%, entirely and completely on you. If the only way to eliminate the interference is to stop using the devices then that is money that you have lost - federal law makes it explicitly clear that you have to work around amateur radio operators, not the other way around.

There are always ways to get cable from point A to B - attics, basements, and drop ceilings/plenums are the obvious choices, at our stake center we ran conduit on the outside of the building then drilled through the brick at the appropriate locations as well going up and over the roof with two more runs of conduit (FM installed these). In a pinch you can install cable runs down the hallway and either tuck it under the chair rail, the base/crown moldings or - if you don't have any - install it. If necessary you can also use flat cat 6 cable - at 0.06" thick (six one hundredths of an inch) you can easily run it under carpet or even use mud/tape to conceal it against a wall, glue it to the wall just under the ceiling - all kinds of options at your disposal.

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Postby john84601 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:59 am

RussellHltn wrote:I'm not sure about that. I don't think you can mix "lethal" wires with "non-lethal" in a conduit. So you'd be limited to telephone, CCTV and similar.

When you say "lethal" and "non-lethal"... were you refering to high and low voltage? Or something else like, plenum and non-plenum? Just curious...

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