April 2019: Wireless Network Design, Predictive WiFi Design, WISP Design and WISP Support

Early in the month we designed a wireless network to WiFi and cameras into four parks in a small city. The design calls for a short point-to-point link form City Hall to a nearby radio tower. The radio tower has 2 sector antennas aimed across the city to cover the parks. At each park we will mount a radio, switch, WiFi access point, and security cameras. This is being designed as a managed wireless network solution based on Ubiquity AirMax, EdgeMax, UniFi, and UniFi Video. Digital Ocean is hosting our UNMS management server. Install to begin May.

Completed a predictive WiFi network design for a cold storage warehouse of over 200,000 square feet. Design based on architectural drawings and interviews with the various contractors to understand the various systems and construction methods used. Designed network based on using Meraki access points and switches. Temperatures in the facility are -20 degrees Fahrenheit so all switches in IDFs had to be placed in heated cabinets.

Started work on designing a new WISP on a remote island. Preliminary design awaiting approval and funding to go forward with a full design and rollout to serve over 600 homes and over 200 businesses in a very tourist heavy area. Current Internet service on the island is about 2Mbps down on a good day. Our design will ensure everyone can get at least 25Mbps down, with options for 50 and 100Mbps for high need customers. The design includes a short fiber buildout to reach the NOC, multiple towers, point-to-point and multipoint links, managed WiFi for internet customers, outdoor municipal WiFi in the business district with security cameras. Based on Ubiquiti AirMax, EdgeMax, UniFi, and UniFi Video with management services hosted on Digital Ocean.

We did some support for the WISP we manage, Nighthawk Networks. Designed two new tower sites and acquired the equipment for them. Created a few new links for camera systems deployed. Planning on migrating the main tower to a new site in May.

March 2019: WiFi Site Survey and Phone System Wiring

We designed a WiFi and camera system for a community center using Ubiquiti UniFi and UniFi Video. Includes switches and routers.

Later in the month we assisted one of our managed WiFi customers with sorting out problems with their phones. The phone system wiring was the source of the problem. The lines were installed in the early 1990’s and had not been maintained. The phone demarcation point looked like a bomb had gone off inside of it.

We ran all new phone lines throughout the building through multiple floors, high ceilings, and tough architecture. The building was over 250 years old. We installed proper punch downs and outlets.

February 2019: WiFi Survey and Wireless Network Surveys

Conducted a WiFi site survey in a large ocean side luxury resort. Needed to design flawless WiFi to support a Vocera system as well as large gatherings. Completed design called for 200 Meraki access points inside and outside. Installing the new network starting later this spring.

We worked with a hospital this month designing a wireless replacement for their expensive MPLS network. We conducted a thorough site survey of their facilities. Our design called for a three site microwave ring. At each of the three hub sites, there would be a sector array on the building connecting to several offices to the network. Total of 10 remote sites and 3 hubs.

Our design was based on using Ubiquiti AirFiber, AirMax, EdgeMax, and for remote management, UniFi and UniFi Video.

The last part of the month we trekked up into the mountains of North East Pennsylvania, known as the Pocono Mountains. We were going there to design a wireless network to bring a large summer camp Internet service from 5 miles away and then distribute it around the camp.

Our design called for a 60-80ft tower at each end of the link in order to clear the foliage on the 5 mile link. At the ISP side of the link, we had to use a wireless relay link to reach the fiber connection. On the camp side of the network we had to distribute the service throughout the camp using a point-to-point and multipoint system to reach each area of camp. From there we would deploy a WiFi network throughout the building. This network linked 20 buildings.

The design was based on Ubiquiti AirMax, EdgeMax, UniFi, UniFi Video, and Rohn Towers. The plan is to implement this design in the next year.

January 2019: WiFi Site Surveys

One hospital in Atlanta… tough design. Needed to support Bluetooth and every room had concrete walls all around and metal doors everywhere. Cisco will love this purchase!

After Atlanta we headed north to Massachusetts to work with another team doing a WiFi site survey in another manufacturing plant. Surveyed warehouse space, outdoors, offices, and production areas. Spent time duck walking an entire area so we could survey the “mezzanine” that was full of very hot pipes full of steam and water. Had fun doing the outdoor work including surveying around their “tank farm” with over 40,000 gallons of iso-pentane. The smoking lamp was out. Had to be very careful our equipment did not ignite any floating fumes. When we finished we had walked an average of 8 miles per day for 10 days and had surveyed 600,000 square ft indoors and another 400,000 outdoors.

To end the month, we headed south to Jacksonville FL. We were there to survey an aircraft maintenance, repair, and operations facility. Four buildings at over 1,000,000 square ft under roof and over 500,000 square ft outdoors on the ramps. We did some interesting modeling of how WiFi does in an airplane fuselage. We tested two versions of a Boeing 757. One set up for cargo and one for passengers. We needed to design a system that would project the WiFi network into the plane while it was in the hanger or on the ramp. No wires allowed.

Our design uses Ubiquiti AirMax technology to bridge the network out to a WiFi access point (Cisco or Ubiquiti) inside the plane. We surveyed hangers, warehouses, paint booths, office space, and the ramps.

December 2018: WiFi Site Survey

Ended the year with a long WiFi site survey at a manufacturing facility for pharmaceuticals. Over 650,000 square feet indoors and over 400,000 square feet outdoors. Full AP on a Stick in manufacturing areas, warehouse, special labs, clean areas, and office space.

Designed for a Cisco solution that would support their barcoding system as well as routine network access.

November 2018: Recruiting, Wireless Network Install

Worked on recruiting for two clients this month. A new client, a well-established WISP that was growing and needed a number job descriptions and job postings written, along with interview questions to evaluate skills. Then began actively recruiting for their positions.

Designed a wireless bridge system for the a regional office for the PA Game Commission. Used Ubiquiti AirMax devices to bridge three buildings together.

October 2018: Recruiting and WISP Support

Worked on some recruiting needs for a client this month. Mostly wireless and tower technicians.

Helped a WISP in Saudi Arabia resolve some performance problems by helping them get better alignments and performance tuning the radios. All from the other side of the world.

September 2018: Troubleshooting WiFi and WiFi Site Surveys

While returning from Burning Man, we stopped in Alabama to visit a client we had never met in person. While there, we took care of some issues with their WiFi network. They are a large church with a Ubiquiti based system.

After returning, hopped on a place to San Diego to do another hospital WiFi site survey. Five floors. Pretty big facility with many issues related to channel overlap and interference.

August 2018: Wireless in the desert

Packed up the truck and headed off on an adventure. Helped design, set up, and operate the wireless network at Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. About 2 hours north of Reno. In the middle of nowhere.

Spent 6 weeks onsite living in an 8×10 box (with AC!). Helped set up numerous towers, mount and align radios, and ensure the network provided the services we needed. The event network supports the business operations as well as casual access for up to 70,000 people.

Wireless backhaul of 12 miles to the nearest connection to the Internet (which was a microwave link of over 40 miles). Incredible experience working with some of the greatest minds in wireless and networking. Luckily once we had the network operational, we were able to kick back and enjoy the incredible art installations built out there. Once the event was over, we proceeded to tear it all down and pack it away for the next year.

July 2018: Event Venue WiFi

Spent this month setting up a system for a vineyard to support their concert series. Needed to provided WiFi at several locations so they could run credit cards.

Crafted a solution based on Ubiquiti gear. We used AirMax products to project the network wirelessly out to 2500 feet from the building. Then we used UniFi access points on mobile rigs lined back to the main network via the AirMax radios. Great solution, low cost, high ROI.

Plus we got to enjoy Puddle of Mud, Uncle Kracker, and .38 Special at one of the events. Bonus!