Access Point suggestions



  • Alright, I'm done trying to do this by myself. I would love some advice from people on these boards that are more knowledgable than me.

    So I want to create a couple different wireless networks. I have tried using some TP-Link 321g devices but lately (since moving them to my primary interfaces) pfSense seems to be crashing very frequently. I originally was using a Buffalo WZR-HP-300NH as an access point, but have had lots of issues talking between devices on the same network see post about that (http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,50573.0.html), which I still would like an answer to. That's why I switched to trying to use the USB adapters.

    So, my question for all of you out there is what would you recommend I do? Would you recommend USB adapters as the wireless interfaces (I would like an N nic, but haven't found any USB adapters compatible with pfSense), or would you recommend using LAN NICs and wiring to an access point? If I use external access points, can someone point me in the direction of the simplest, most dumbed down access point so I won't have these issues I'm having with the Buffalo AP.

    Please give your suggestions along with recommended devices. I want this to be simple. I really like Tomato firmware because I don't want a lot of features since I'm using pfSense for all the routing / controlling and tomato just does what I want, but it doesn't seem to be available for use on N devices.

    Thanks all in advance!



  • I prefer cisco systems, but those enterprise devices has also enterprise level price tags



  • @broncoBrad:

    I have tried using some TP-Link 321g devices but lately (since moving them to my primary interfaces) pfSense seems to be crashing very frequently.

    I have seen a few crashes reported in the run driver - the driver for newer variants of the TP-Link WN321G but not frequently (maybe a couple of times a month). What did the crash reports say about the crashes - they might be something else.

    @broncoBrad:

    So, my question for all of you out there is what would you recommend I do? Would you recommend USB adapters as the wireless interfaces (I would like an N nic, but haven't found any USB adapters compatible with pfSense), or would you recommend using LAN NICs and wiring to an access point? If I use external access points, can someone point me in the direction of the simplest, most dumbed down access point so I won't have these issues I'm having with the Buffalo AP.

    If you really want N and you don't want to spend much you could consider the TP-Link WR703N which can be purchased from a number of eBay suppliers and Chinese online shops for under US$25. There are online directions for changing the Chinese language firmware to  DD-WRT. It has a USB socket for power, a USB socket for a 3G modem, a 10/100 LAN socket and inbuilt 802.11N. I have given mine light use as WiFi AP and its been fine. I can't confirm that DD-WRT supports your particular requirements.



  • Well it is a huge crash report, but here is basically the first page:

    Crash report begins.  Anonymous machine information:

    i386
    8.1-RELEASE-p6
    FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE-p6 #1: Mon Dec 12 18:18:02 EST 2011    root@FreeBSD_8.0_pfSense_2.0-snaps.pfsense.org:/usr/obj./usr/pfSensesrc/src/sys/pfSense.8

    Crash report details:

    Filename: /var/crash/bounds
    2

    Filename: /var/crash/info.0
    Dump header from device /dev/ad0s1b
      Architecture: i386
      Architecture Version: 1
      Dump Length: 122880B (0 MB)
      Blocksize: 512
      Dumptime: Thu Feb  2 19:18:01 2012
      Hostname:
      Magic: FreeBSD Text Dump
      Version String: FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE-p6 #1: Mon Dec 12 18:18:02 EST 2011
        root@FreeBSD_8.0_pfSense_2.0-snaps.pfsense.org:/usr/obj./usr/pfSensesrc/src/sys/pfSense.8
      Panic String:
      Dump Parity: 3538512712
      Bounds: 0
      Dump Status: good

    Filename: /var/crash/info.1
    Dump header from device /dev/ad0s1b
      Architecture: i386
      Architecture Version: 1
      Dump Length: 122880B (0 MB)
      Blocksize: 512
      Dumptime: Sun Feb  5 18:06:43 2012
      Hostname:
      Magic: FreeBSD Text Dump
      Version String: FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE-p6 #1: Mon Dec 12 18:18:02 EST 2011
        root@FreeBSD_8.0_pfSense_2.0-snaps.pfsense.org:/usr/obj./usr/pfSensesrc/src/sys/pfSense.8
      Panic String:
      Dump Parity: 2290970440
      Bounds: 1
      Dump Status: good

    Filename: /var/crash/minfree
    2048

    Filename: /var/crash/textdump.tar.0
    ddb.txt06000014000011712650751  7077 ustarrootwheeldb:0:kdb.enter.default>  run lockinfo
    db:1:lockinfo> show locks
    No such command
    db:1:locks>  show alllocks
    No such command
    db:1:alllocks>  show lockedvnods
    Locked vnodes
    db:0:kdb.enter.default>  show pcpu
    cpuid        = 0
    dynamic pcpu    = 0x51f880
    curthread    = 0xc3d95280: pid 0 "run1 taskq"
    curpcb      = 0xe7244d90
    fpcurthread  = none
    idlethread  = 0xc3995a00: pid 11 "idle: cpu0"
    APIC ID      = 0
    currentldt  = 0x50
    db:0:kdb.enter.default>  bt
    Tracing pid 0 tid 64067 td 0xc3d95280
    run_newassoc_cb(c3dcd1b4,c0a44611,c3e0f2d4,0,0,…) at run_newassoc_cb+0x11
    run_cmdq_cb(c3dcb000,2,0,c12ce3fc,0,...) at run_cmdq_cb+0x175
    taskqueue_run(c3db72c0,c3db72d8,0,c0edc643,0,...) at taskqueue_run+0x89
    taskqueue_thread_loop(c3dd7074,e7244d38,0,0,0,...) at taskqueue_thread_loop+0x45
    fork_exit(c0a77de0,c3dd7074,e7244d38) at fork_exit+0x88
    fork_trampoline() at fork_trampoline+0x8
    --- trap 0, eip = 0, esp = 0xe7244d70, ebp = 0 ---
    db:0:kdb.enter.default>  ps

    I've sent the report to pfSense pretty much everytime it has happened so they can work on any possible bug.



  • EnGenius EAP-350's work fantastically for me, PoE capable, aesthetically acceptable. EAP-600's coming out later this year look nicer and are dual-band.



  • ubiquiti ;D



  • I use Ubiquiti UniFi (LR) at work and Apple AirPort (one Time Capsule & one Extreme) at Home.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Be wary of cheap 802.11N routers…

    (a) if they don't have a gigabit switch on the back, you'll never get more than 100Mbit/s per port max, assuming their little CPU will push that much.

    (b) even if they have a gig switch on the back, some of them aren't very fast when compared against others

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/view



  • Use an external access point.

    You didn't specify usage scenario (are to be covered, how many concurrent Wifi clients, specific apps e.g. voip ? etc) but for simple SOHO needs you could use some consumer router with *WRT (OpenWRT, DD-WRT, Tomato etc) firmware.

    Otherwise -while still on the very low price segment- check UBNT gear, unless you have high-performance requirements (many clients with sensitive apps like video streaming over Wifi etc).



  • @jimp:

    Be wary of cheap 802.11N routers…

    (a) if they don't have a gigabit switch on the back, you'll never get more than 100Mbit/s per port max, assuming their little CPU will push that much.

    (b) even if they have a gig switch on the back, some of them aren't very fast when compared against others

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/view

    That is a great little chart they have going there. If you toss aside the WAN to LAN benchmarks as they don't mean anything for using the routers as APs, you'll see that most of the devices cannot break 100mbps over wifi regardless of what settings are used. Realistically having gig ports isn't important for even wireless N as you simply cannot break that barrier. I would have to check but even a little Rosewill like this guy: http://www.rosewill.com/products/1281/ProductDetail_Overview.htm  would work okay for an AP. If you need a lot of coverage obviously look for something with removable antennas so you can put on much bigger ones. Just make sure you plug one end into your PFsense box and the other into one of the lan ports on the AP.



  • @bman212121:

    That is a great little chart they have going there. If you toss aside the WAN to LAN benchmarks as they don't mean anything for using the routers as APs, you'll see that most of the devices cannot break 100mbps over wifi regardless of what settings are used.

    Still relevant to some degree, because WLAN to LAN is also handled by the firmware on the device, not just WAN to LAN, and thus depends on CPU speed and efficiency of the code in the firmware.  The latter is relevant on some devices.  For example, on one device I have it could only get about 65 Mbps over the wireless on the stock firmware and a little over 100 Mbps with a more current open source alternative.


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