Wireless networking problem

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    I have a wireless networking question for you. I’m pretty new to wireless networking and have had an issue which I don’t understand.

    I provide IT support to a small charity that has a simple domain setup. Their office is hosted in a medieval building and has two floors. The walls are about three feet thick and made from stone.

    They have one domain controller which also acts as a file server. It runs DNS and DHCP. The building is cabled with CAT5. The client computers at the charity’s location have static IP addresses and are connected via CAT5 cables to the network.

    However, they have lots of volunteer staff who use their own laptops, iPads, smartphones etc. when working at the office.

    In order to ensure that the extra volunteer staff working on both floors have full access to the Internet and to the local network I placed a wireless router on each floor. A single wireless router is not powerful enough to reach both floors. The wireless router on the ground floor (which is hard wired to the network) is the gateway. The router on the first floor simply accepts wireless connections and is connected via a CAT5 cable to a switch which in turn is connected to an RJ45 wall socket. Both wireless routers have the same SSID.

    They called me a couple of days ago and said the wireless network had stopped working. Devices were being assigned APIPA addresses. I visited their office yesterday and tried connecting my laptop to the wireless network but had the same problem. When connected via a CAT5 cable, everything worked properly. No problems were reported on the domain controller hosting DHCP – nothing was being denied.

    The gateway/wireless router downstairs was obviously functioning. When I checked the upstairs router I found that the switch to which it was connected was not powered on (the power cable had been removed). When I replaced the power cable the wireless network functioned properly and I was able to connect and obtain an IP address without any problems, access the Internet and the local network.

    I don’t understand why the fact that the upstairs router was disconnected from the network should have affected wireless connectivity. The wireless router/gateway downstairs was working fine so I don’t get why the wireless traffic was unable to contact the DHCP server and get an IP address.

    Here’s a diagram showing how the network is configured:


    In reality, some of the clients on the ground floor are connected to the desktop switch and some are plugged directly into RJ45 wall sockets. The first floor plan is entirely accurate.

    I’ve done a little research this morning and have discovered that when using two or more wireless routers with the same SSID you should make sure that the channels used by each do not overlap. However, I’m still none the wiser as to why the wireless network failed, especially as the wireless router on the ground floor (and which I was sat next to when trying to connect), appeared to be working fine. This is the first time I’ve had a wireless network problem so I have very little experience of what the issue may be.

    Can anyone help me with this, please?


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