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I have a relatively simple need: to set up a WLAN with maybe one Windows 7 PC, and several iPads. The PC will be running a Socket Server, and the iPads will be communicating with the server via TCP and UDP. There will be no internet access.

I have experienced lots of problems, for instance using an Apple Airport Extreme, with the iPads dropping their connection and not reconnecting.

What is the most reliable solution to accomplish this? Cost is not really an issue (within reason).

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closed as not a real question by Tom Wijsman, Tanner, ÃŁŁǫǛȉЖΦΤїҪ, Dennis, Nifle Jan 30 '13 at 19:07

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The solution is to determine the reason the Apple Airport Extreme solution is not working, because using a router, is the solution I would have suggested. –  Ramhound Jan 30 '13 at 17:07
    
There is no such thing as a "Mission Critical WLAN". Unless your entire operating range of the WLAN is enclosed in a Faraday Cage that blocks all interference, and no devices within the cage are emitting any sort of interference on the WiFi spectra (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz depending on what you use), WiFi will drop out. That's right, I said it: will. The only thing guaranteed about WiFi is that, no matter what, at some point, it will drop out. The only exception is in the scenario described above involving a Faraday Cage and a careful evaluation of all EM spectra emitting devices. –  ÃŁŁǫǛȉЖΦΤїҪ Jan 30 '13 at 17:44
    
If creating a Faraday cage and analyzing all EM within it is impractical to you, then my next step, in your shoes, would be to figure out what has to happen to completely eliminate the requirement for WiFi, and use something else, like Ethernet, or even a radio protocol with more tolerance for interference, like Bluetooth. But a different radio protocol won't solve the problem if the problem is interference; it just might make it drop out less severely, or less often. –  ÃŁŁǫǛȉЖΦΤїҪ Jan 30 '13 at 17:46
    
Note that in my comments above I assumed that the definition of "Mission Critical" is "if it drops out, someone will die, or millions upon millions of dollars will be lost -- so it CANNOT be allowed to happen under ANY circumstances". If that is not your definition of mission critical, and it CAN afford to drop out, then by all means, continue to use WiFi. –  ÃŁŁǫǛȉЖΦΤїҪ Jan 30 '13 at 17:47
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@davivid The best way to avoid being woken up at 3am is to stay as far away from technological responsibilities as possible. –  Tanner Jan 30 '13 at 18:10
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1 Answer

Perform several site surveys at different timnes of day to determine if there are othe APs causing issues on the channel you use. Heatmapper does a good job.

Use enterprise class hardware for your Access Point.

Assure high quality power for the Access Point. Even an inexpensive UPS will help

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What would be classed as enterprise class hardware? –  davivid Jan 30 '13 at 17:15
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@davivid: Aeorhive AP141, Zoneflex 7363, Cisco Aironet AIR-SAP1602I-x-K9. –  David Schwartz Jan 30 '13 at 17:20
    
@David Schwartz: These are AP's right? Wouldn't I need a router? –  davivid Jan 30 '13 at 17:37
    
@davivid: You only need a router to connect two networks. If you don't want to provide internet, then you'll only have one network - your LAN. –  Oliver Salzburg Jan 30 '13 at 18:12
    
@OliverSalzburg: He'll need something to do DHCP, at a minimum. Personally, I'd use two cheap access points running DD-WRT. –  David Schwartz Jan 30 '13 at 18:17
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