dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
3393
share rss forum feed


Teddy Boom
k kudos Received
Premium
join:2007-01-29
Toronto, ON
kudos:21

More router questions: Rooming house with 15 tenants

I have a customer who runs a rooming house with 15 tenants up near York University. It is a newly built house, but he made the mistake of not having Ethernet run... He does have coaxiale in every room, so MoCA is an option I'm looking into.

He is using a pretty mediocre Belkin Dual Band router, because it was cheap. It works well enough most of the time, but it sometimes crashes and needs resetting and such. He is not technically sophisticated, and doesn't have a lot of patience for dealing with things. Not to mention his tenants have no patience at all when their internet is down

So I'm curious what else is out there in the small commercial router world.. Like, what equipment do they use at McDonalds and Tim Hortons? In Hotels? Etc.

My instinct is that Linux firmware on a powerful router (N66U or whatever), or pfsence on a PC, are as good as you are ever going to find commercially, but I don't have the experience to say.

Anybody have experience they can share, or good references, on this scale of network building?
--
electronicsguru.ca



Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23

Not sure you need to get hat fancy. Throw an N66U at the problem and he probably won't even need to use custom firmware. Two other things will be useful for maintaining a good "customer" experience here too: QoS, and a fast connection.

You've got 15 people sharing an internet connection here, so that's 15 ways to split the bill. Don't cheap out, get the absolute fastest thing you can. I don't know what cableco services that area, but TekSavvy will be charging $220 a month for the unlimited 150/10 service in Rogers territory, and divided among all the tenants that's less than $15 a month per person for internet.

The second thing is QoS. At the very least, being cable, limit the overall throughput to a little bit less than the maximum to avoid completely maxing out the line. Secondly, prioritize the low-bandwidth important stuff over everything else. DNS, VoIP, gaming, etc. That's kind of the bare minimum. When I was running a QoS setup, I got a bit fancy and set it so the first few kilobytes of any HTTP request or response got top priority, and after that it got low priority. That way small requests were very snappy but big downloads didn't slow things down. The most important thing, I think, will be to make sure BitTorrent uploads get classified as low-priority bulk traffic. At 150Mbps, you can get away without messing with downstream stuff too much, because any download will eventually finish (and at those speeds, it won't take long), while uploads to BitTorrent can go on forever.

In terms of getting the signal to people, it's hard to say without knowing the geometry of the house. If you're putting in a good router like the N66U and you position it well, it will help, but there are complications if you try to do things over coax. Some coax-based networking tech doesn't co-exist with DOCSIS, for example. If the tenants try to get cable TV, they may not be able to use MoCA/HomePNA. Furthermore, these devices don't work well when split many ways; a 2009 review for a MoCA device found that while the device promised 270Mbps throughput, and the ethernet ports were only 100Mbps (which they got with a three or four way splitter), the speeds dropped to 30 Mbps through a 16-way splitter. And you know that if the speed has dropped that much it's not going to be a good 30 Mbps, it's going to be a jittery 30Mbps with packetloss and such.

I think the best solution here, if wifi doesn't cover the whole home, is to bite the bullet and run ethernet. You don't have to run it through walls or use drills, you can get a very nice install stapling it at the top of baseboards and such, around door-frames, etc, and if you use cabling that matches the colour of the baseboard or wall, it won't be very visible. It'll be a bunch of work, but it'll save headaches in the long run. Ultimately, no other home networking technology out there will come anywhere close to ethernet for reliability or throughput, and having a gigabit "home" network will also let the tenants get very good speed to eachother for moving files around the network locally. If that's too much work, it may be sufficient to just run a little bit of ethernet to get wireless access points close enough to tenants so that they can get good speeds anywhere in the house.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org



tdiguy

join:2013-03-13
reply to Teddy Boom

I’m going to echo some of Guspaz’s comments. Asus N66U with some QoS settings should do the trick.

In terms of AP’s you may want to look at Ubiquiti UniFi Pro units (»www.ubnt.com/unifi#appro). They come with a power supply so you don’t need a PoE switch and they have 2 gigabit ports so you can daisy chain them if you wish (less ethernet to run). They are also dual band. Another thing you may want to consider is an iboot device. You can set up a watchdog and have it reboot the modem/router/ap’s, if there are any issues.

Not knowing the layout of the building is a tricky. If you have a diagram of the building or some pictures I would be glad to offer you some advice on cable runs.

Unlimited internet is a must. Having experience with 9 students in 2 properties (1/3 mile 5.8ghz link between btw.) I can tell you that they will drive you nuts if they start having connection problems.


Cloneman

join:2002-08-29
Montreal
kudos:4
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Bell Fibe

1 edit
reply to Teddy Boom

The only thing I would add to that is that some firmwares are a bit heavy and get bogged down with downstream QoS... some people have difficulty sustaining over 50mbit with QoS on enabled on Toastman/Shibby, though I haven't had the opportunity to test it myself. Perhaps whatever Asus comes with at stock could do a good job, as upstream is the real bottleneck here. You'll have to experiment to see if downstream load is able to saturate the router's CPU with QoS on. So basically, the upstream bottleneck is the ISP, and the downstream bottleneck (on something like 150mbit) is the capacity of the router's CPU while handling downstream traffic. Unfortunately, many routers manage "all traffic" when QoS is on, and might not have an option to not touch downstream traffic, (which is in the interest of abundance of capacity vs limitations of CPU Speed on the router.)

Above all else, with a large budget, I would consider getting a 2nd backup internet connection, to use when the primary is down instead of blaming teksavvy and creating a wall of text on dslreports when things go wrong for 15 tenants :P. If nothing else, this make a fantastic connection for VoIP devices and maybe console gaming. Interested people could signup and have their mac address whitelisted to use it.

That's how I would do it


prairiesky

join:2008-12-08
canada
kudos:2
reply to Teddy Boom

Get an alix board running PFsense as a router.

For wireless, Ubiquiti Unifi AP's



elitefx

join:2011-02-14
London, ON
kudos:2
reply to Guspaz

Would one 150/10 connection split 15 ways even function? 10mbps divided by 15 users=.66666mbps upload. Would webpages even load? Would the 1/15th connection be usable? If 1 tenant was uploading @10mbps first would the rest of the network function? What happens if 1 guy was streaming video? What if all 15 were all online simultaneously?

I don't know enough to make a judgement call........


Cloneman

join:2002-08-29
Montreal
kudos:4
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Bell Fibe

said by elitefx:

Would one 150/10 connection split 15 ways even function? 10mbps divided by 15 users=.66666mbps upload. Would webpages even load? Would the 1/15th connection be usable? If 1 tenant was uploading @10mbps first would the rest of the network function? What happens if 1 guy was streaming video?

I don't know enough to make a judgement call........

A router handling upstream QoS would be a good call in this case to downsize torrents and pretty much any activity that transfers more than a few MB upload.


tdiguy

join:2013-03-13

QoS is a must. Assign BT traffic as low priority, VOIP, HTTP requests as high priority. Keep in mind that with 15 users they will have 4-5 devices each (laptop, smartphone, tablet, game console, smart TV, ipod, etc.) plus all their friends/peers that come over to work on projects etc. I would recommend setting your DHCP timeout to 24 hours (1440 minutes) max. Keep that fresh pool of IP's available.


morisato

join:2008-03-16
Oshawa, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy Cable
·TekSavvy DSL
·ELECTRONICBOX

ya if they are on 150/10 I believe even mark has Said please feel free to pay 152 for unlimited to rogers instead as they lose money on 150/10 especially with 15 students on it p:)
--
Every time Someone leaves Sympatico an Angel gets its wings.


juggie

join:2007-04-25
Nepean, ON
reply to Teddy Boom

Teddy,

Did your customer put a phone line in each room which runs back to a central dmarc point?



battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to elitefx

Get the 150, and allow each tenant 20-50 each and everything will be just fine.


prairiesky

join:2008-12-08
canada
kudos:2
reply to elitefx

said by elitefx:

Would one 150/10 connection split 15 ways even function? 10mbps divided by 15 users=.66666mbps upload. Would webpages even load? Would the 1/15th connection be usable? If 1 tenant was uploading @10mbps first would the rest of the network function? What happens if 1 guy was streaming video? What if all 15 were all online simultaneously?

I don't know enough to make a judgement call........

yes, it's similar to running an ISP, Oversubscription principles apply and it will be just fine. It may require some QOS.... But even by your theory, a .6 mpbs upload is more than what some families are getting......


Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23
reply to Teddy Boom

Every DSL user still on 5/800 or 6/800 who gets 640 Kbps of practical throughput probably wishes they had more, but is able to function

QoS on upstream will be very important. Another option is getting multiple slower connections and load balancing them to get a higher overall upstream, but that's getting fancier.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org



blueeyesm

join:2003-09-05
Waterloo, ON
reply to Teddy Boom

Perhaps it may just be easier for him to remove that benefit altogether?

If he's using a residential account and he's making money off of that use, he could be in violation of his ToS.

Tim Horton's, McDonalds, etc. franchisees would have a contract with that entity to use enterprise-level equipment. This would be to ensure the service works as the corporation advertises. If they were left to defend for themselves, I.T. wise, they'd receive no end of complaints.

(If they aren't - omg wth would they be thinking??)



Teddy Boom
k kudos Received
Premium
join:2007-01-29
Toronto, ON
kudos:21
reply to Teddy Boom

So... I'm not sure where to begin I wasn't when I originally typed the question, which has caused us to go off in several directions, some not relevant at all to this conversation (ToS should be left for the lawyers and is between the customer and their ISP, this is a technical question).

Of course I've thought about many ways to improve his network. It is frustrating, because I can't really give him hours of free help, but similarly I don't feel good charging him for my learning process.

McDonalds and Tim Hortons come up because he asked me what they use and if it would be better and/or affordable at all. I don't have a good answer for that. My instincts (biases, if you like ) tell me the equipment is more expensive but doesn't perform any differently. It is, however, actively supported by technicians, and the support mechanisms (aka remote administration) are probably more effective than on consumer equipment. I'd like to be able to answer him about what they use, even if that is the end of that branch of the conversation.
--
electronicsguru.ca



Teddy Boom
k kudos Received
Premium
join:2007-01-29
Toronto, ON
kudos:21
reply to Teddy Boom

In more specific technical terms..

He has a three story house, with a basement, the tenant rooms are around the outside walls with a staircase in the middle, and shared facilities in the middle. It might actually be a couple more than 15 units.

He does actually have both DSL and Cable right now. The DSL was added very naively to stop complaints from the third floor tenants.

I think the ideal solution is a pfsense-ish box to do fail over, load balance, and QoS. MoCA to get signal to 4-8 key locations, with simple switches to put Ethernet in every room. Then add wireless access points at some of those locations as needed.

Realistically, that is at least $1000 of work and materials for the wiring, and at least another $1000 in equipment. I've been hesitant to recommend it, because he isn't going to like the sound of it, even though it is the right solution.
--
electronicsguru.ca


OTIS3

join:2011-09-29
reply to Teddy Boom

Hey Teddy, most of the places I've checked out like McDonald's use Motorola APs. Don't know what is behind for a router.

Similar to these
»www.motorola.com/Business/US-EN/···31_US-EN



Teddy Boom
k kudos Received
Premium
join:2007-01-29
Toronto, ON
kudos:21
reply to Teddy Boom

Anyway, I do really appreciate the time you guys have taken. It is just one more reason for me to bury my head in a mid-range router distribution (pfsense, monowall, whatever..). I have a very long todo list
--
electronicsguru.ca


prairiesky

join:2008-12-08
canada
kudos:2

pfsense is easy.... For a small fee I could set it up remotely. Most devices will have wireless. I would do 2 access points. (maybe more if they get over loaded, but not likely. The Unifi system is Great for that. Devices can roam from AP to AP and load balance between them.



TypeS

join:2012-12-17
London, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·TekSavvy Cable
reply to Teddy Boom

Can the N66U handle 15+ connections though? That's a lot for a consumer grade router to handle, especially if its going to route WAN, LAN & WLAN and switch at once.

I think the best option would be install one router where the modem for internet is, have it only do routing and then use 18/24 port connected to handle LAN switching. Doesn't need to be anything really expensive, something like Cisco's SMB switches. Then run ethernet through the home. That is probably the best way to go than trying to do HPNA, get it done once and thorough and it will be worry free for a long time. Just find colored cat6 that matches the wall/baseboards best and run them along with wire staples.

Then just install a WAP on every floor to handle WLAN, something like these: »store-ca.linksys.com/en-ca/acces···prod.htm

This is how most restaurants will do it, they have their Internet CPE device, a router and then enough WAPs to cover the dining area.



Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23
reply to Teddy Boom

The N66U is about as beefy a consumer router as you can get, currently. Beyond that you're looking at a PC running pfsense or a microtik hardware, anything else would be crazy expensive, I think.

Benchmarks seem to show the N66U can handle more than enough routing bandwidth to support 15 users:

»www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless···&start=2

The worst case results there seem to be more than enough to handle a 150Mbps connection. QoS will hurt it, but the stock firmware will be faster at QoS than Tomato. The question is how much will it hurt it?

After that, Microtik has some higher-end options. The RB1100Hx2 is $395 and has a dual-core 1066MHz PowerPC, for example.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org



TypeS

join:2012-12-17
London, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·TekSavvy Cable

I'm aware of how good the N66U is but is only marginally better than everyone else's top offering (Linkysys, Netgear, Buffalo, etc). And those reviewing sites don't typically hook up 15 users concurrently and test out the performance. The issue isn't total routing throughput, it's routing that many connections at once. And then handling WLAN connections as well, the CPUs in all of these routers are all junk really, they aren't design to handle much load, which is why a lot suck at wireless performance when they're used as an all-in-one unit in houses.

Though I think the N66U will be perfect as the main router handling the internet connection, the switching & WLAN load should be carried off. Not to mention spread out WAPs will create consistent wireless range throughout the home.

Gotta remember Teddy Boom's acquaintance here is renting their home and presumably including internet access in the rent, so it's 15 other tenants sharing the connection and will be less understanding if internet goes down or is slow or wireless is poor.



Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23
reply to Teddy Boom

The thing was tested in that review up to something like 32k or 36k connections, so 15 users should be doable even if they're all torrenting (the default on most home routers until recently was 4096).

Failing that, the midrange Microtik stuff is definitely much faster, in the $400-600 range.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org


prairiesky

join:2008-12-08
canada
kudos:2

said by Guspaz:

The thing was tested in that review up to something like 32k or 36k connections, so 15 users should be doable even if they're all torrenting (the default on most home routers until recently was 4096).

Failing that, the midrange Microtik stuff is definitely much faster, in the $400-600 range.

Remeber that it's not just 15 users, as it would be with a typical hotspot scenario, it's 15 people. So each person has a smart phone, and a laptop, maybe some have tablets. I'm also guessing there would be at least 1 netflix type device.

I really want to see if a 150 mbps line can handle 15 students. If it's not maxing it out, then it just adds to the argument that a 1gbit connection is WAY ahead of it's time. This house IS the argument people are currently using for gig connections.

yyzlhr

join:2012-09-03
Scarborough, ON
kudos:4

Small businesses with 15-25 employees routinely utilize connections that are much slower than 150/10, so the internet connection itself shouldn't be an issue. If it does become one, they can get two 150/10 connections and setup two separate networks and split up the tenants between the two networks.



Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23
reply to Teddy Boom

150/15=10, which is a faster connection than most people have for a whole family. The speed is not an issue, properly managing it is. Particularly the upstream.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org



tdiguy

join:2013-03-13

150/10 is plenty for this application. It’s not about the bandwidth here. It’s all about deployment and management. Personally I would configure the system like this :

(internet)---> (cable modem*)---> (N66U**)---> (8/16 port Gigabit switch)---> (UniFi Ap’s#)---> client

*optional DSL for back-up/load balance
**Enabled: NAT, DHCP, Qos (loadbalance if applicable) Disabled: Wlan
#UniFi pro’s (dual band)

Some people may disagree with this: But I would go with UniFI Ap’s (or multiple on each floor) and avoid Ethernet connections in each room. It will save you a few bucks in installation and will help prevent unsecured routers from being connected to your network. The only downside is if the client has a VOIP device they will not be able to use it in their room. However if you have phone lines in each room back to a central location you can attach the VOIP devices to the network at your switch and be your own phone provider too.



ground

join:2008-01-16
Toronto, ON
Reviews:
·Rogers Hi-Speed
reply to Teddy Boom

said by Teddy Boom:

pfsense, monowall, whatever..

My experience shows that 99% of landlords will not like the idea of a separate computer running 24/7 because of increased electricity usage. Get something small business all-in-one from a reputable brand and forget it, otherwise get ready to be on that guy's speed dial list

Cloneman

join:2002-08-29
Montreal
kudos:4
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Bell Fibe

said by ground:

said by Teddy Boom:

pfsense, monowall, whatever..

My experience shows that 99% of landlords will not like the idea of a separate computer running 24/7 because of increased electricity usage. Get something small business all-in-one from a reputable brand and forget it, otherwise get ready to be on that guy's speed dial list

There's nothing wrong with a backup plan, he could always resell the Asus easily if it doesn't work out :P

34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON
reply to prairiesky

said by prairiesky:

I really want to see if a 150 mbps line can handle 15 students. If it's not maxing it out, then it just adds to the argument that a 1gbit connection is WAY ahead of it's time. This house IS the argument people are currently using for gig connections.

If anything is going to be an issue it is going to be the pathetic upload speed on that connection.