Setting up WiFi in Apartment Building

July 7, 2011 at 12:02:58
Specs: Windows XP Pro, 1.4ghz, 512MB Ram
Hello,

I am interested in setting up a WiFi network for use by the residents of an apartment building. The building is a medium sized, 3-story building with 16 units total. I was figuring I could have a switch or hub or something in my apartment then put a wireless router or two on each floor. My knowledge of larger networks is minimal.

What kind of hardware would I need to accomplish this?
What concerns do I need to be looking at in order to make it happen?
What suggestions can u provide in my venture?!

Thanks in advance,
B


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#1
July 7, 2011 at 12:15:40
The wireless router goes in your apartment. Test the signal on each floor with a laptop. You may not need anything else, depending on where you apartment is.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#2
July 7, 2011 at 12:19:54
Keep in mind.....the internet service providers cap bandwidth and charge for usage above regular billing. So if you have a lot of downloaders all using this connection you may encounter substantial billing fees;)

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#3
July 7, 2011 at 12:20:12
And that home wireless router will be capable of handling traffic from 16 apartments with potentially double that (32) in clients?

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Related Solutions

#4
July 7, 2011 at 12:23:44
Hopperbox: that is a great point. I don't anticipate the users in the building exceeding the bandwidth but it is definitely possible.

What are some ways around that? How do T1 lines etc get run to buildings? IE are my only options available those that are available to individual consumers (Cox, Time Warner, AT&T)


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#5
July 7, 2011 at 12:24:48
There is only one way to know for sure. Try it. A class C subnet should be able to handle much more than 32 PCs.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#6
July 7, 2011 at 12:28:08
Thanks guapo. A "class c subnet" is a parameter of what type of hardware or software?

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#7
July 7, 2011 at 13:17:02
A basic home router usually is set to a class C IP address. For example, 192.168.1.1 would be the address for the router. Then any computer connected to it could be 192.168.1.X where X would be between 2 & 254. That's about 253 available addresses. That's way more than your 32 possible users.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#8
July 7, 2011 at 13:23:38
I see. That is good info.

Now the building is 90ft x 60ft with 3 floors. Is there a high powered wireless router that would reach to all those areas?

Also, what would be the easiest way to provide a level of security for each user?


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#9
July 7, 2011 at 14:23:27
Where is your apartment? What floor? Is it in the middle of the building? Is it a steel framed building with poured concrete floors?

Users provide their own security. You provide security for the network. It's up to you if you are going to authenticate users or not.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#10
July 7, 2011 at 15:07:43
This is not a simple thing to do and I would give some serious consideration to certain things before doing it.

First consideration:

Are you the building owner? If you're not, then you REALLY need permission from the owner before doing anything. Not having permission, even if you're his building manager, leaves you open to litigation. I wouldn't want to see you end up homless and in court being sued because you attempted to deploy a wireless network without permission.

Second consideration:

Cost.

To do this right, you're going to have to spend money on equipment and bandwidth.

I can promise you this much, one internet connection will not be enough. I would consider one connection per floor "adequate" unless you're using a higher-end business connection. And no, a "business class" ADSL or cable pacakge is not what I'm talking about and not good enough to handle the traffic 16 suites can generate. Especially if a few of them have kids who like to upload/download files 24/7 with point-to-point software.

Your not going to be able to do this with one Access Point or one Wireless SOHO Router. To accommodate all possible connections I wouldn't consider less than one AP per floor. Chances are you'ld find you need two AP's per floor. Then there's the question of how you're going to connect your AP's to your router? It would be best to do it with a wired solution but if you have no cabling then you'd have to cable and that costs money.

As a professional I'm going to tell you that it's not worth the cost to do this right.

If you mickey mouse this with one wireless router you're going to find the most apartments that will get a useable signal from you is maybe 4 to 6.

The reason it's not worth the cost is my 3'd and final consideration.

You're basically planning on becoming and ISP. This leaves you with support issues. Are you going to want to jump out of bed at 3 am cause Bill in suite 302 lost connectivity? He will call you if it happens as will every other tenant.

What about if you get a call while you're at work? Can you just jump up and leave your job to run home and try to fix the internet?

If it were me, and this is just my opinion, I'd let the tenants worry about their own internet and I'd sleep better at night because I wouldn't be getting interruptions from them because their having issues.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#11
July 7, 2011 at 15:45:27
Well I'm on the first floor in the corner so unless my Wireless Router is super strong, it might have to be located more central. The building is wood and drywall construction throughout.

When u say i will provide security for the network, does that mean security between the router and the internet or between each user on the network?


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#12
July 7, 2011 at 16:02:38
Editing.


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#13
July 7, 2011 at 16:18:57
Thanks for the insight Curt.

I want to map out the how to do it part and leave the rest of it to the side for now if for no other reason than education. That being said, I can see you are a wealth of knowledge on the topic. Your other concerns ie legality, cost, support are valid and will be taken into account in due time.

Now re bandwidth and equipment;

Bandwidth, I am in a residential neighborhood with Cable, AT&T access, etc. How/Where do I go to find out if other options are available. Also, would securing 2 or 3 cable connections suffice? What do you suggest.

Equipment: What equipment exactly would I need to do it right?


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#14
July 8, 2011 at 05:16:08
The fact that the building is wood construction helps but as Wanderer said, it could turn out to be more work than you had planned. It sounds like you want to continue anyway. If that's the case, try a router in your apartment & test the connection different parts of the building, with a laptop. If all goes well, just offer it to a few people at the beginning.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#15
July 8, 2011 at 08:06:59
This isn't a "simple" setup no matter which way you slice it.

As a professional I'm going to tell you this. If you contracted me to consult and come up with a plan for you, I would come and do some testing and examine the building physically. It would then take me a couple days worth of work to come up with the optimal setup. The consultation and plan would cost you thousands of dollars because in order to do it right and give you the best, most cost effective plan would take a lot of work, testing and skull sweat. Which is to say, it would take time and time is money.

Then you'd have to either pay more to have the install and setup done, or do it yourself. It's obvious from your post and subsequent responses that you don't have the knowledge to do this yourself and have it done right so in the end, you'd have to pay somebody.

Once in place and working, you then become responsible for providing support for your tenants. This means they can call you anytime. You can't just not answer because as their internet provider, they have an expectation that should something go wrong, you'll get on it immediately and get it fixed. So, unless you want a bunch of pissed off neighbors, you'd have to drop whatever you're doing (like working, eating, sleeping, having sex.......etc etc) to address their issues.

Keep in mind, they'll be calling you about everything even if it's not related to the internet you're providing. (ie: "My computer won't start, what's up with that?", or "My sound stopped working" etc etc)

Oh, one other thing too. Chances are that most, if not all, the other tenants in this building who want internet already have it. Why would they swap what they have for your service? If they have any knowledge at all they'll know their highspeed setup is going to be a lot faster than yours since your's is wireless and has a bunch of other people sharing it. I know if I was living in your building and you asked me if I was interested you'd get "NO" for an answer.

I noticed you very carefully didn't say, "I own the building" or "I am the manager" which means you're a tenant. As such this means you have no legal right to place any equipment of any kind anywhere in the owners building period end of story.

If you have some grenadiose plan to charge the tenants then you are a business and that would require you to have a business license and other legal considerations (ie: you'll want to incorporate which costs money or the first time you get sued, and you will get sued, you'll end up losing your shirt and spending the rest of your life working for someone else)

Even if you are the manager, you can't just do what you want without the owners permission.

All in all.............this is an idea that's just not worth the time and hassle.

You do what you want but I can guaratee if you do try to do this, you will end up wishing you hadn't.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#16
July 8, 2011 at 10:34:00
Wow man, the negativity is just jumping off my computer.

I'm here to learn the technical knowledge necessary to do something like this.

I'm not asking for business advice. As much as you want to provide that, I'm not interested. I can see your well-versed in this area too. This is the second time I have to say this.

Your bringing up support issues, legality issues, owner/tenant/manager issues, logistics all this stuff. I respect you for having that knowledge, but I'm not interested in what you have to say about it...with all due respect.

I am here to learn what it takes to put together a network in a building like this. Thats it. Technical knowledge. If you can help me with that, awesome. If your not willing to, then that is your prerogative and your time is obviously better "spent" elsewhere...would you agree.


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#17
July 8, 2011 at 10:35:42
Funny how these internet forums are.

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#18
July 9, 2011 at 08:41:50
I am here to learn what it takes to put together a network in a building like this. Thats it. Technical knowledge

Do you hear that loud siren going off..........that's my BS detector and your statement above is setting it off.

You didn't come in here asking about this just because you wanted to know something like this just for the sake of knowing it.

So say what you want to now, I know better, and everbody else reading this post knows it too if they've read your original query and every response.

If you were just looking for info on setting up a wireless network there's a bajillion web pages explaining it. You asked very pointed questions about a very specific setup.

Look, you do what you want to, you will no matter what anybody else tells you. When you do get to that point where you've had enough of this, and believe me, you will get there, just remember this:

I tried to warn you

Which is a nice way of me saying, "I told you so"

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#19
July 9, 2011 at 10:25:52
Constant stream of negativity, cynicism and stubbornness from a true contrariant.

Rampant in online forums causing unproductive conversations and inconducive to the goal of the Internet: To share quality information.


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#20
July 9, 2011 at 14:11:29
I gave you a straight answer to your question. Are you going to do what I suggested or argue about if it's a good idea or not?

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#21
July 9, 2011 at 14:33:01
Sorry man, it's very distracting to have to read and address posts like that.

I think your idea of putting a router up and testing the strengths in the building is a great way to start and I actually can't think of a better one. If i offered it to a few people at first and they were into it, that is a great place to start. That is a practical solution kind of coming from the ground up.


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#22
July 9, 2011 at 19:09:53
Let me know what happens.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#23
July 11, 2011 at 07:23:33
ROFLMAO

Sorry guapo, I should just butt out and leave this in your hands but I had to say one more thing.


brunoa99

Let me quickly refresh everyones memory. In response #16 you said (and I quote)

"I am here to learn what it takes to put together a network in a building like this. Thats it. Technical knowledge.

Now in your last post:

I think your idea of putting a router up and testing the strengths in the building is a great way to start and I actually can't think of a better one. If i offered it to a few people at first and they were into it, that is a great place to start. That is a practical solution kind of coming from the ground up.

So I was right all along, you are indeed going to attempt this foolishness.

I'm also right about what a grand waste of your time this is. In the end, you'll regret not listening to me and leaving well enough alone.

You can tell me I'm being negative all day long and it won't change one thing. I'm talking from experience. Not my own, I was never interested in reinventing the wheel. But somebody I do know who was living in an apartment building tried this very thing about 10 years ago and and ended up very sorry he ever did.

I was trying to save you trouble and grief and if that makes me negative, so be it. But you're steadfastly ignoring valuable advice.

Before you begin any venture, it's always smart to check out all the angles. You obviously haven't bothered discussing with the owners if they're interested in having you provide internet to the other tenants. There's no way on earth you'll be able to provide internet to anybody other than immediate neighbours (ie: directly above, below, or beside your apartment) unless you install equipment which you can't do without permission (I'd get that in writing too so the owner can't change their mind later and say they never gave you permission) and what you can provide to immediate neighbours will have lousy signal strength.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#24
July 11, 2011 at 08:26:16
Uh huh...

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#25
November 2, 2011 at 09:13:43
Thanks Curt!
You have no idea how much time and aggravation your posts have saved me. I am in a similair position as bruno and have decided against providing the 13 units in the building that I OWN with internet access. The building is stone and would require many access points on each floor to get adequate service to all apartments and have good speed. I also do not want to get phone calls about any and all problems at any hour of the day. And by the way guapo.....self proclaiming being handsome is pretty bush.

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#26
November 2, 2011 at 11:38:09
Listen to Curt and everyone who has training and experience in doing this.

The internet lines to do this are going to cost you hundreds of dollars a month. Equipment to set this up will cost you thousands of dollars. To interconnect these access points, you need to run cable and that will cost more adding on cable costs and the costs to get it run.

It'll take time to do site survey's to make sure the access points are covered and a vast technical knowledge in networking to actually get this working.

This type of project can't be half-***ed, it will take a lot of time and a boat load of money.

You can critize and bs all you want, but don't say we didn't warn you


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