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I have a space where there are three wireless access points installed, all running 802.11n. They all broadcast the same ssid. I think the intention is that the inhabitants and visitors should be able to walk between buildings while their netbooks and ipods happily choose their closest access point.

The problem I have is that people are complaining that they cannot keep a viable signal. It seems likely to be interference to me, but I don't know much about 11n. With a 802.11b network, I'd adjust all the channels to be different and see if that helped, but it doesn't seem to apply to the 11n routers I'm looking at.

The same problem where the signal get lost (network monitor reads disconnected) and then reconnects a few seconds later and cannot communicate with the router (no DHCP) happens with a Windows netbook, a Windows 7 PC, and a MacBook Pro, so it isn't just my machine.

It could be that just one of the access points is flaky. I'm trying to test that now but there's no documentation about exactly where in the building they're hidden.

I'd appreciate hearing about the best practices in managing a network like this, though. I'm not finding much information in the manuals and on the net about how this works with 11n.

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You don't even know where these things are? That's gonna make it real hard to fix... –  marcusw Dec 19 '09 at 1:07
    
I took my droid out and played hot and cold until I found them, no problem. –  Brian Dec 19 '09 at 20:44
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2 Answers

It really depends on manufacturer and model.

For example, I had some very smart Linksys access points at one time that would simply relay all the processing back to one box. I had many overlapping points on the same channel and there wasn't a problem.

However, Linksys were the only ones I have seen that support this and typically, what you want to do is make sure the channels do NOT overlap. This means that any device will stay on the correct signal and if/when it looses it, it will typically reconnect to the strongest signal in range.

So, you can have same name and ID, as long as on different channel.

But - it is different on different manufacturers and models, but I hope this helps.

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What you want to do is set up WDS. This is supported natively by Apple's Airport Extreme, or on other routers with custom firmware such as DD-WRT.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless%5FDistribution%5FSystem

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