Cisco 1300 series wireless access point/bridge Vs Linksys WAP54GPE Access Point Anyone know the basic pros & cons?
Our small company is looking to replace a fiber optic connection going to a building across the street.
We currently have a fiber optic connection using a Media Converter outputting to our Switch. We'd like a backup solution as we have problems with the connection from time to time, and there is also a bottleneck issue in the wire too.
I've been Quoted on a Cisco 1300 device, around $3000 or so including configuration.
My specialist recently mentioned we could consider a Linksys WAP54GPE Access Point instead, but he hasn't had any experience with it.
Linksys is owned by Cisco, so I assume they aren't competing.
What the Pros & Cons of one vs the other? They seem like either would do the job. What does the Cisco do that makes it cost so much more? It's mostly for backup for us.
Are you using 10Mb media converters? If so, switch to 100Mb ones. Bam, faster and more reliable than wireless, and cheaper than real access points (cisco etc) and better than $30 chinese specials (linksys, netgear etc).
The Linksys is a consumer product, while the Cisco is a made for business users. The Cisco is going to do SNMP (with traps and alerts), better diagnostic and troubleshooting capabilities, more flexible and have much, much better technical support. If you run into a problem on the linksys and there isn't a scripted solution with the tech support people, your going to be SOL. The other is issue is throughput, I don't remember the numbers off the top of my head, but I did see a test somewhere that showed that consumer wireless products (linksys included) get anywhere from 10% to 30% less throughput. I haven't looked at the specs of the Linksys, but I would also suspect that it also doesn't support the frequencies that are reserved for wireless bridges (and therefore less apt to interference). Basically one is professional grade, the other isn't. Remember, you always get what you pay for.
Your max bandwidth from any 802.1a/g wireless solution is only going to be around 24Mb/s, if you need more bandwidth than that there are laser products and unlicensed microwave that can give you significantly more bandwidth (100Mb/s to 1Gb/s) and significantly higher reliability.
then fix the fibre - it is going to be faster and more reliable than wireless.
media convertors can be reliable, but they seem in general to be designed down to a price, not up to a spec.
there are often problems with speed negotiation esp after a power cycle of the convertor or attached equipment.
find out if you have switches with support for gigabit fibre, and if not get some. Ideally a switch that uses GBICs or SFPs so you can get the correct fibre interface to drive the link.
the wireless can be used as a backup link - but you will be disapointed if you are expecting more than 20 Mbps throughput best case.
And best case means with a short distance, the right antennas and setup, good line of sight, not too much metal around for reflecting signals and little or no wireless interference. Most people dont tent to be that lucky.
Finally if there is a road across the beam line allow for the silly stuff - like get high enough so someone parking a high sided lorry in the way cannot block the beam.......
Linksys is designed for home use, small numbers of users, indoor equipment.
1300 is designed to be mounted outside the building and provide point to point or area coverage for businesses, so lots of users / traffic streams, built in management and so on. And you can get good support on the 1300.....
So 1300 is much more expensive, but those extras are worth the money in some setups.
Note you will need to design the network both ends so you understand how the backup works, and so that you know it is working before you get a fibre fault (which implies some sort of management).
Resilience needs to be checked or by the time you need it it may well not work.
most wireless security issues are because it is wireless, not who makes it.
But yes wireless security needs setting up correctly.
Given you are aksing such Qs - i strongly suggest you need some outside expertise to sort out the link and the interconnect to your LANs.
Finally - once it is installed, dont forget to unplug the fibre and check the wireless really does what you expect, and how good or bad it will be before you need it.......
Thanks for the suggestions, and keep them coming so I can make a decision.
I think i'm mostly concerned with security issues of using a Linksys Vs Cisco, but from what some have said, it doesn't seem to be too much of an issue.
Our fiber connection is running very slow. Compared to that, I can't picture the Linksys being slower. It's running faster than dial-up internet bandwidth, but not much faster. Takes a half hour to copy 50 megs across the street. I can do that in seconds on the other side of the street. I can copy files between the machines on the slow side at full speed. It's only when they go across the wire that it's slow. I've tested everything for bottleneck issues, and so far they are all pointing to the wire itself or the connectors for the fiber. I even tested the media converters hooked together, and no slow downs when hooked up across the street. The cat5 cables are fine, the fiber patch cables have been replaced. Our entire network is 10/100. We have about 10 computers on the slow side of the street.
I have a specialist coming hopefully tonight to replace the fiber jacks on both sides of the street. He will also cut the last few inches of the wire just to make sure we don't have a short. Assuming this doesn't correct it, the only thing left is the wire itself, but that would be a big deal to replace.
Regardless, the wifi is a backup for us, and we have another method if it goes down.
From the comments i've heard so far, the security of the Linksys is about the same as long as it's configured properly. My networking specialist will take care of that for me. I've seen him on TV about network security, so I think he can handle the job. Your comments have said it could be up to 30% slower than the Cisco, but that is probably 10 times faster than we're running now, and this would be for backup mostly.
What I was hoping to hear from some that have used both the Cisco & Linksys to hear the feedback. Enormous difference in the cost.
So far the Linksys sounds like the product for us, but I certainly want to hear about any good reasons why would should spent many times the price for a Cisco product.
this sounds like a duplex mismatch, and possibly the link is dropping down to 10 Mbps.
if you have managed switches, then connect to them and see what they log as errors. If you dont have managed switches, then you just found out why people buy them....
personally i would go and buy a couple of switches with built in fibre support. if you like linksys then they do a 24 port 10/100 switch with 4 GigE, 2 ofwhich can be fibre. google claims these are $350 - 400 each, so 2 of those will do it - but plenty of others.
if you want cisco then Catalyst express 500s - $750 ea for a 500-24LC
Still working on that. My support company whcih I use for networking issues i'm not able to solve myself, subcontracted the fiber line to someone else, and doesn't know a lot about it either. I contacted the other company, and they are working with me to find out where the bottleneck problems are. It's been a slow process. Weeks. They were supposed to come today to change the connectors, but due to more urgent problems today with another customer, probably won't be. This is one more reason I need a backup for the line. If the support companies take a long time to resolve the issues, I need another connection method in the mean time. Even if I get the fiber line working as it should, I still suspect when the weather is very severe, the line will completely fail as it often does until we replace it. That's a big project.
Seems like I contacted the manufacter of the media converts about that, and they told me they are in the correct positions.
I can't rule that out however, and i'm glad you pointed it out. I better double check again. It's been a while.
Read my comments I wrote regarding duplex issue below, and see if you agree.
We don't have managed switches. We have an HP Procurve 10/100 switch in each building. They were purchased around the fall of 2001 when we bought our old server, which was replaced with a new one in Aug.
will do it - but
I doubt the bottle neck issue is due to a switch problem. And here's why. No issues in building #1
If I were to copy large files/folders from the pcs in building #2 to another pc in building #2, they would copy very quickly. The switch in building #2 is needed for this task. If it had a bottleneck issue, it would be slow for this task too. The bottleneck is only when using the fiber line going across the street.
I tested both media convertors in building #1, and they both run full speed. I even connected them together using a fiber patch cable, with a laptop on the other end copying files to the network. Still worked full speed. If there were a duplex issue, I would expect i'd have had the same problem using the laptop for this. I would think it's esentially the same type of connection using a laptop as if it were the switch, unless you can tell me otherwise.
Again, I appreciate your help trying to help out.
Thanks, and i'm grateful to hear any additional comments people post here.
you may have 1 (or both) fibre cores with a fault - managed switches would give you recieve error stats.
any diags lights on those convertors for the fibre ports?
any spare cores? it is pretty hard to buy a fixed fibre cable with less than 8 cores or so. The spares might be spooled up in the splice tray and unterminated (in which case not so easy for you to test), but if so get the engineers to leave the existing ones alone and terminate other cores, as at least 1 may be OK
You can get SFPs that work on a single fibre, so 1 broken core doesnt mean you have to replace the cable.
How does that compared to the Linksys, and what does it cost?
It seems another customer of mine is using a Linksys WAP54GPE. They seem to be common, and tech people like me are probably more experienced with them than a product from someone besides Cisco, Linksys or Netgear.