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K12USA Support Knowledge Base

Choosing the right Access Point

sburns
WirelessTrakker

Summary

When selecting which access points are necessary for your environment, we have 3 different models for you to choose from, each with their own benefits:


  • Indoor AP: This is a single band Access Point, the standard / typical AP currently used in most environments.  They use most of the WiFi standard network types currently available (802.11b/g/n) on 2.4Ghz.  They connect to the network using a 100Mbps Ethernet connection, and are powered by a 24V POE injector (supplied) which is typically installed in the wiring closet.
  • Outdoor AP: This has the same feature set as the Indoor AP, but is designed to be installed in an outdoor location.
  • Indoor Pro AP: This is a dual band Access Point, supporting both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands on all WiFi standards (802.11 a/b/g/n) (not all modes are available on all bands).  To support a higher throughput, these APs connect to the network using Gigabit Ethernet.  They are powered over POE like the other Access Points, with one minor difference: these use the 802.3af Power Over Ethernet standard.  This means that they can be powered either by the injector that comes with the Access Point, or from a switch that supports 802.3af Power Over Ethernet standard.



The 2.4GHz channel is more widespread in usage (all 802.11b and g devices run on 2.4GHz only) but has only 3 non-overlapping channels for transmission. These channels are crowded with a lot of interfering devices like: other Wi-Fi access points, microwave ovens, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, etc. All this makes for a noisy environment which can increase interference and degrade performance.

 

The greatest advantage of the 5GHz band is the availability of 9 non-overlapping channels, 6 more channels than what is available in the 2.4GHz band. Since there is no other wireless technology “fighting” for the radio space, the 9 available non-overlapping channels provide for an interference-free and more stable wireless network communication. Another advantage of the 5 GHz band is that the greater number of available channels provides for increased density, which means that more wireless access points can be installed in close proximity to one another.


Range / Coverage

The radio wavelength in the 5GHz band is half of the wavelength in the 2.4GHz band. As a consequence, the 5GHz band will have a shorter range and the 2.4GHz band will have a larger range. In particular, the higher frequency wireless signals of 5GHz networks do not penetrate solid objects nearly as well as do 2.4GHz signals, limiting their reach inside buildings. In a typical school environment (hallway with classrooms down both sides), the Indoor AP typically covers 6 classrooms, but this varies based on building construction.

 

Number of Wireless Stations / Devices

For 1:1 environments (where every student has a WiFi device), or any area with a high density of devices, more APs may be needed in those areas to support the bandwidth needs.  In areas where a high density of APs are necessary, using 5Ghz Access Points will help because there are 9 non-overlapping channels available, opposed to 3 using 2.4Ghz.


Performance

The 5GHz bands have much greater spectrum available, there are 9 non-overlapping channels, each with 20MHz of bandwidth. This means significantly better performance as compared to the 2.4GHz band, which has only three non-overlapping channels and the entire 2.4GHz band is only 80MHz wide.


Devices that can use the 5 GHz band 

  • Apple - IPad (all versions), IPhone 5, IPod Touch (5th generation),MacBook Pro (2007 and newer), MacBook Air
  • Samsung - Galaxy Nexus, S3, S4
  • Chromebook (most models)

 

Differences Between Access Point Models

Features
  Indoor AP     Outdoor AP     Indoor PRO AP  
 Indoor Use
X
X
 Outdoor Use   X  
 100Mbps Ethernet         X X  
 Gigabit Ethernet     X
 2.4Ghz WiFi X X X
 5Ghz WiFi     X
 802.11b X X X
 802.11g X X X
 802.11n X X X
 802.11a     X
 24V POE X X  
 48V 802.3af POE     X

 

Summary

We suggest using Indoor PRO Access Points (dual band) for the majority of your installation and only using Indoor Access Points (single band) in locations where the 2.4Ghz will NOT overlap with any other access points. 

 

 

 

 

 

Details
Last Modified: 9 Years Ago
Last Modified By: tthum
Type: FAQ
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