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I need a recommendation for a wireless access point (WAP) that can sustain a network with the following features:

  • Not connected to the internet
  • Spans around 30m x 30m of open indoor space.
  • Can sustain high bandwidth with low latency to a few dozen devices talking to each other over UDP unicasts and broadcasts.
  • Almost all devices are on WiFi, a handful are connected via LAN cables.
  • The WiFi will be 2.4GHz due to devices that do not support 5Ghz.
  • Price is not the main deciding factor.

I'd be happy to understand which parameters are important to look at when evaluating a router considering the above requirements.

  • Do you need a router or a wireless access point (WAP)? They are very different and distinct things and what you described is a WAP. – Digital Boffin Feb 20 '19 at 19:13
  • @Digital I'm fuzzy on the nomenclature. If it doesn't include WAN access, it's a WAP? – Rotem Feb 20 '19 at 20:43
  • A consumer “router” is a misnomer. This answer, though unrelated to this topic, goes into detail. What you need to do is architect your network with the right switch and WAP which will probably make this question off topic. If you want, ping me on chat later and I’ll be happy to assist – Digital Boffin Feb 20 '19 at 20:50
  • @DigitalBoffin Why would the question be off topic? Replace 'router' with 'WAP' and the question still stands, doesn't it? – Rotem Feb 21 '19 at 9:24
  • I as referring to architechting your whole network. For example, do you have a DHCP server? – Digital Boffin Feb 21 '19 at 14:49
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The "routers" that are available via the retail channel are not suitable for high demand type applications. Additionally, you said that you already had a "router" that acted as a DHCP server so there's no point in getting another one. All your need is a wireless access point or WAP.

I use the Ubiquiti UniFi AC Pro, not only for my clients, but in my home as well. It's one of the best and most reliable WAPs I have used and is priced at around $150 which is comparable to a high end "retail router."

Key Features

  • POE (Power Over Ethernet)
  • Enhanced MIMO (Multi Input, Multi Output) technologies
  • Up to 200 client connections
  • 2.4GH and 5GHz radios
  • Multiple SSID support
  • VLAN support
  • Bandwidth profiles
  • Guest networks and hotspot support

You can get more information as well as a full full datasheet from their website.

Solution

  1. Disable the WiFi on your existing retail router
  2. Run a network cable from your router to the location(s) where you want the APs. These are designed to be ceiling or wall mounted. With wireless, the clearer the line of sight the better (this is why table top "routers" are sketchy at best).
  3. Using the included software, configure the AP with your SSID, encryption keys, VLAN's etc.

Note that without doing a site survey, it's possible you may need more than one AP given what obstructions (i.e. walls, large furniture, RF generating equipment, etc. - WiFi is still subject to the laws of physics).

Clients will associate with the WAP and get their IP from the existing "router" with DHCP server because in essence all you're doing is "upgrading" the cheap WiFi chipset and radio bundled with your router for an "industrial strength" one.

Personal note... I had this exact WAP support about a dozen guests (including children) at my home with most streaming Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, etc. and they outstripped my Internet bandwidth before this AP got bogged down (the software comes with reporting capabilities).

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  • If we use multiple APs, can they share an SSID such that devices can transparently move from one AP to the other as the device moves in the space and remain on the same subnet? – Rotem Feb 22 '19 at 5:59
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    Yes. I typically use more APs at lower power. Once you reach a certain dB threshold, the computer will automatically connect to next strongest AP – Digital Boffin Feb 22 '19 at 6:02

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