Hardware Recommendations: Apartment Complex, 350+ users, redundant, etc.

  • Greetings,

    I am working on deploying a large wireless network at a 8 building apartment complex. We have about 120 units. We are predicting somewhere between 100 to 350 concurrent devices. We have already designed the backhaul infrastructure. I am a big fan of opensource and pfSense has been recommended to me by many IT friends. I have personally never deployed it before. I need to build (or purchase) a highly redundant box that will not only run pfSense but will also act as a wireless lan controller for the 20+ access points. This box literally will be the soul of the network. I have deployed many HP Proliant towers in my day and I really like their setup. They aren't cheap but are damn redundant. What would you guys recommend?

    I am also thinking virtualizing the system using ESXi.

  • Use two pfSense boxes with CARP on all interfaces to provide failover in the event of maintenance, hardware issues, etc.  You will need a minimum of 3 IPs on each interface.

    Regarding your wireless requirement, I'd recommend against that.  pfSense can act as a wireless access point but not a controller for some 3rd party APs.  I'd recommend Ubiquiti's UniFi.  I'm using a bunch of them across 3 buildings at work and they're great.  No issues with ~30 devices per AP.  In a residential environment you're not likely to have more than that so you should be fine.

  • I am actually going to be using ubnt unfi! Actually, they have install instructions on their community forums for running their controller software on top of pfSense. But I think for multiple layers of redundancy, virtualization and two physical hosts would probably be the best option.

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