How many Base stations can I use in a roaming network?

I want to deploy a large number of airports in my College. I think I will need about 8 or more to cover the building. What is the limit to the number of base stations I can use with roaming and a single SSID? I am going to use WPA2 enterprise with Radius on OS X server for access.

QA AirPort Extreme Base Station

QA AirPort Extreme Base Station

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2 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    According to apples airport manual (Apple_AirPort_Networks_Early2009.pdf) You can have a virtually limitless amount of Airport devices. They can be placed in a "roaming" network configuration too. Whether it's a true roaming network, I am unsure, but it sounds pretty straightforward.

  • After doing some more research and actually testing a few AEB's and Mac Mini servers I found there are some limitations. The limit for AEB's connected to a Mac Mini Server is 64 base stations when using radius and WPA2 enterprise. The limitation is on the radius server side of things so if your network was wide open (not using the server, or using WPA2 personal in the base station) You may be able to scale larger. Theoretically you could simply add more mac mini servers to expand beyond 64, thus you could call it "virtually limitless". Interestingly, I found that the "Enterprise" solutions have similar limitations and much higher costs. Our colleges' cisco waps and controllers cost 5 times what the AEB's and Mac Mini servers do. The cisco's do have some enterprise features (fine tuning the radios, and monitoring etc) that the AEB's do not.

    All in all I don't think there is any reason that you could not use AEB's for very large scale wireless networks, its just that nobody has ever done it. In my research the largest installed base I could find was about 8 WAP's.