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School Combination Network Issue

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Before I begin, I'd like to mention that I have significant authority to research and correct a problem. I'm not posting this because I'm a simple student who just wants to use the Internet.

Lately, my school network has had some issues. This extends across all wired networks. Network usability has decreased significantly, and loading pages for all users, from students to faculty to administration, has slowed to a crawl or even stopped. What I recently found out is that a wireless network was installed in a portion of the school, and serves about 12 or so computers, the most distant being about 75 feet away from the supposed access point (central to all the units) through two 6-inch walls.

I have two scenarios to explain the problem. First, we had problems last year during the winter months. We suspected that the cold weather, snow, and ice (this is a Chicago winter, mind you) had caused a problem with connectivity (this is still pre-wireless). While our provider couldn't give us a clear answer in this regard, it seemed to be a problem with their line somewhere. We still don't know if the weather could cause the problem, but it is a possibility.

The second and far more likely scenario is: the wireless network is causing a bandwidth issue. I suspect this is far more likely because we have periods of perfect working order on the wired network, and other periods of poor to no connection activity. This could directly relate to the status of the units that utilize the wireless network (whether they are on / connected or not).

The school runs on a T1 line and is known for having bandwidth issues when about ten computers run a speed-intensive download. Our bandwidth allotment per computer is not very high, but usually works well under normal operation.

My question is this: Can the connection of several wireless computers, even if Internet pages are not being actively accessed, impact a wired network that utilizes the same bandwidth elsewhere? I'm not sure what type of router or how many are being used for wireless connections; I only know that the connection is "b" or "g", units are set to acquire IP addresses automatically, WPA security is used, and the connection is achieved through the utilization of a USB adapter.

Also, if possible, I'd like to know what else could be impaction the bandwidth. Does an SSID broadcast consume bandwidth? Does the broadcast range have an impact as well? Is there another factor I may have missed?

Answers to any of these questions, and any suggestions that lead to resolving this issue are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for the help.

Edited by nforcer06164, 06 December 2006 - 07:52 PM.

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I'm no expert, but I have some thoughts: to answer your question, yes. Whether you are using wired, wireless, or both, it all has to transfer information from somewhere to another place. It sounds like your internet line is very overloaded. A quick google search tells me a full T1 is 1.544 Mbps, so even splitting this up into 5 computers is going to slow down that initial speed immensely at each computer. I currently have 1.5Mbps ADSL in Australia, and I get annoyed with the 'slow' speed when I split it between 3 computers! Like you mentioned, when you have 10 it slows way down on each computer, so now that an extra network of 12 has been added (wireless, but doesn't really matter), now you have many more computers to split the same incoming and outgoing speeds. Like you say, the bandwidth allotment per computer is pretty low. Now that more computers have been added to the equation, it gets even lower. Simple maths, really. Sounds like your school could do with 2 or 3 of these T1 lines (perhaps more, as you haven't actually mentioned how many computers are in the network and how many get used at once on a regular basis).

Another thought is the speed of the network - wired would be running on 100Mbps? And wireless, b is 11 and g is 54. It is very important to note that this is theoretical. In practice, for some reason, a network won't use this. My wireless connection (g) rarely goes above 15, even though it's rated at 54 (even if I'm sitting in the same room as the router). Same with my wired, it only hits about 60 - 70 max when it's rated at 100. If your school's network is running on 100Mbps, it may be worth upgrading to 1000Mbps. This could explain the difference whether or not internet pages are being actively accessed.

I'm guessing an SSID would use the most minimal of bandwidth, that you wouldn't notice a speed difference with it on or off. A quick note, though, if the wireless network has been setup and is complete, turn the SSID off as an extra security precaution.

That's my thoughts, anyway, anyone else want to agree or disagree?
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well for an easy part of an answer...the SSID wouldn't use any bandwidth on the wired portion of the network...as the SSID broadcast is only broadcast on the wireless side...so that's not it

on a broad note...depending on how many PC's are actually connected at any one time to this network...a T1 may be a little skimpy for the useage...i've got T1 (which by the way is alot different than a 1.5 ADSL line...but i won't get into that) here at work with roughly 80 machines....there's not alot of file downloads so our connection is rarely slow.. but in a school environment...there's probably more files being downloaded than there is normal websurfing activity...which will deffinitely slow the place down.

there's a possibility that since this "other network" has been attached that it might be getting around any bandwidth limitations in place...but i'm not sure if this is truley possible

it's most likely that some "tool" has set 10,000 files do download and walked away from his computer.
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