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How many wireless access points?

When you use 11Mbps wireless access points (802.11b), is there a maximum amount of users that an access point can serve? I mean if 90 people can fit into the area that one access point serves, isn't 100 users a little much to share 11Mbps (or possibly lower)? Is this an instance where a 2nd AP should be used?
In my experience, WLAN design is a black art. If you talk to the manufacturers, they say "Oh yeah! 50+ nodes per AP," but then want to sell you plenty more APs because "for GREAT performance you need one AP per 15 nodes!"

15-25 nodes per AP works well, in my experience, with a good switch (fast backplane) behind the APs. Accurate surveying is needed to ensure that the zones are slotted together efficiently.

My honest advice is to REALLY think about your deployment, use architect plans, tools like Visio, etc. to really understand your environment, as selecting the correct antennas for the various areas of your facilities can make a world of difference to the performance. Best of luck.
This was last published in October 2001

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