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Wireless Networking

This version was saved 11 years, 8 months ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Jim Michael
on September 15, 2010 at 11:11:21 am

Introduction: Wireless networking was originally designed to insecurely access data from other computers without the use of cables.  Since then, WEP was created to make us think it was more secure even though it wasn't, and WPA was created to actually secure things. Some network admins refuse to allow wireless traffic onto their LAN, even if protected by WPA. If you are NOT  one of those admins, or if you are looking to provide public WiFi for your Church, this should be a great place to start and see what others are doing.



 This page is to discuss Public and Private Wireless Network (WiFi) Solutions and associated concerns and practices.  


** As you find links that answer/reference questions below please link them at the end of each quesiton


** Please highlight open questions so they don't get lost



Basic Considerations:


  • Will your wireless access need to support Private (access by authorized people such as staff to internal resources and servers) or Public (Internet access for the public at large) or a combination of both
  • How will you secure the Private LAN from the Public
  • How will you handle the legal aspects of offering Public wifi
  • Captive portals 
  • Filtering Content 
  • Access management (mechanisms / process for managing authorized users / encryption keys / etc)
  • Capacity / build out 


Managed Wireless Options


Enterprise Authentication/802.1x

Captive portals

Adaptive Radio Management / Active RF management for better speed and coverage

Central Updates to AP's



Higher initial cost

Usually locked into one vendor




Unmanaged Wireless Options


Usually cheaper than managed wireless.

Make use of what gear you have. Multiple vendor



No centralized SSID management

No roaming/handoff

No Spectrum management

Lack of key management





  • inSSIDer: Free easy to use WiFi scanner to help identify good channels, coverage etc.
  • Ekahau HeatMapper: Free Wi-Fi Coverage Mapping Site Survey Tool 
  • WiFiFoFum: Free iPhone WiFi scanner via Cydia for Jailbroken iOS devices 



What We are Using

  • Calvary of Albuquerque - unmanaged: mixed A/P's
  • West Shore Evangelical Free - IPCop firewall serving dhcp for wireless using 1 Linksys and several Buffalo (G) devices (forgot to mention that these routers are running dd-wrt to make management easier)
  • Tenth Presbyterian Church - just ordered Open-Mesh pro AP's for testing - will post results 
  • New Covenant Bible Church - using 40 HP access points with controller. This is a managed system.
  • The Moody Church - using 18 Cisco 1131AG LAP with 4400 WLAN controller. This is a managed system providing both a private and public access.
  • Granger Community Church - 14 Proxim AP4000 and AP700 access points. Lite management software. Public and private access.
  • The Chapel - Using Aruba Wireless with 650 controller, 12 x AP-60/61 access points. Adding 4 N-band AP's soon. IMO Aruba = 4 stars for features, 2 stars for ease of setup, 3 stars for price out of 5 stars. Some campuses are running mix Linksys & 3com unmanaged.
  • Faithbridge Church - 10 Ruckus Wireless 7962 Access Points with Ruckus ZoneDirector 1050 controller, Dell PoE switches, Public and Private VLANs. SonicWall NSA 240 is used to provide content filtering for both public and private networks, and to enable Comcast cable Internet connection to be used for public WiFi and as failover for the private Internet connection.
  • Windsor Crossing, Chesterfield MO - Cisco 1230/1250 APs and a 2106 controller. Went with the Cisco controller because stand-alone Cisco APs had already been purchased prior to my tenure here. Probably would not choose this solution if I were implementing a new WIFI network as it's $expensive$ and there are better-performing options these days for that kind of dough. 


Recommended Reading:


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