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Meetinghouse "commercial" WAP installations
Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:23 pm
I'm looking to install WiFi into the 3 buildings of our stake. All three buildings are different design, but I believe are similar to what you find all over the Church, certainly in Utah.
The marching orders from my leadership have been for sometime now "WiFi available everywhere in the buildings". I.e., someone holds a class on Family Search Indexing in some remote classroom in the building, they want people to be able to turn on their laptops and practice in realtime.
Can anyone share solutions provided by commercial WiFi installers that seem to work really well, with the buildings full of people, etc?
It seems to me that this would be really good information to spread around. The idea is to share what are basically best practices for each of the cookie-cutter building designs that I think most of us have in common. For example, if you have paid for a robust, commercial design/installation in one of our newer stake centers, that same design will likely work in every one of them.
If possible, I'd like to focus here on simply creating a robust signal throughout the building. We have threads all over that talk about security - I would really appreciate it if here we could just tackle simply the plans that work for creating a great connection (reasonably high signal strength and SNR).
Also, I would like to only talk about commercial installations that work - not what in theory should work, but what actually does.
Some of the things I'm specifically looking for:
1) make/model or simply the important specs of the WAP used?
2) configuration (type/specs, orientation) of the antenna(s)?
3) amplifier(s) used?
4) optimal placement/location(s) of the WAPs, antenna, etc?
I'd like to not have to reinvent the wheel, and I'm done with the hobbyist approach. Make sense?
Can anyone help?
Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:46 pm
eyoungberg wrote:I'd like to not have to reinvent the wheel, and I'm done with the hobbyist approach.
I hear ya. I'm interested in the same thing. There's got to be a good guide out there on the web, but so far I've not stumbled onto it.
Edit: Hmmm, now that I think about a different tactic, I found this
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:31 am
Maybe I don't understand what you mean by the "hobbyist approach". Just last Saturday I assisted our STS in taking the existing Internet access from the FHC in our Stake Center, added the Cisco ASA, wired it to the 3 clerk's offices and one stake office, and added secure WiFi access for the rest of the building. We had quotes from professional installers that our FM group often uses ranging into the thousands of dollars, so with the approval of the FM group and the volunteer time of one licensed electrician and a couple of members, we did it for about $350.
To get the WiFi going, I configured 3 Netgear Wireless G routers (from Wal*Mart) into secure WAPs. (I can explain how this is done if you like. Cheaper than buying "real" WAPs and more versatile, IMO.) Two of the WAPs were placed into the overhead area above the clerks offices on either side of the chapel and one at the far end of the building over the cultural hall stage. Coverage is very good throughout the building. (I would have probably opted for "Draft-N" routers, but I wasn't the one doing the buying.)
I'm really not sure what to report, other than the Stake President (and quite a few clerks) were very pleased with the results. I would just caution that if you're not familiar with a /27 CIDR and/or the DHCP range of your ASA firewall, you will probably need help selecting the fixed IP addresses for the WAPs. I can certainly help there, if that's where you have questions.
This is probably not a "typical" Stake Center as we also house an FHC, but I'll bet it's not too far off.
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:17 am
In my building, a Heritage building, the standard 3 to 4 ward building being built for the last 5 or more years, we wired the clerks computers and put 3 wireless access points in. One right at the Dmark upstairs in the back of the building, one all the way down one wing above the clerk and bishop office and the third about half way down the other side. You can go anywhere in the building and get service. I am not sure what a professional would do differently, but they could not give us better coverage because the whole building is covered. If you have an older building or have extra thick walls or some uniqueness’s like that then maybe you might need some professional assistance, but if it is a standard building that is say less than 10 years old then this type of layout should work fine. Does your building have something unique that we don’t know about?
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:27 am
tsheffield wrote:In my building, a Heritage building, the standard 3 to 4 ward building being built for the last 5 or more years...
I wonder if there is a way we could know the names of the common building layouts and what they look like (just generically, not like an official blueprint or anything)?
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:15 pm
Mikerowaved wrote:Coverage is very good throughout the building.
But what is the Signal Strength and/or the SNR? That's probably one of the first differences between a professional approach and a hobbyist one. A professional one is a engineered
solution. A hobbyist one just slaps some stuff up and sees if it works. A hobbyist one may
work well, but because a professional pays attention to the numbers it's more likely to be reliable under different conditions.
pro versus hobby/diy
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:57 pm
Mikerowaved wrote:Maybe I don't understand what you mean by the "hobbyist approach".
Thanks, Mike, for the response and question!
The professional approach is you paid a contractor that installs WiFi for a living, and especially if he and his pocketbook are on the line for support should the system fail, or if it needs updating or tweaking to get the performance where it needs to be.
Hobbyist/DIY is anything/everything else.
If I'm not mistaken, I think we could have a respository of .pdf docs at this site, correct? I would propose we do that - have a section where people can go to download and look at professional installations for their chapel type, and another that is "DIY" (again, by building type). If nothing else, it provides a reference point for those of us trying to save not only $, but especially time and frustration.
I know the pro installs exist out there - people have referenced them in other posts. But there is no one place where we can all go look, by building type. Seems to me that should be at this site - somewhere ...
What's a "Heritage"?
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:06 pm
tsheffield wrote:In my building, a Heritage building, ...
Thanks for the response!
Is there a place I can go to find the terms "Heritage", etc, so I can understand the "class" of my buildings? Is that something the FM guys know about? Is there a place here we could start posting this kind of information? These are sort-of fundamental terms that I think a number of us coming online here don't understand, but probably should.
Bring on the pro installations
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:22 pm
RussellHltn wrote:But what is the Signal Strength and/or the SNR? That's probably one of the first differences between a professional approach and a hobbyist one. A professional one is a engineered solution. A hobbyist one just slaps some stuff up and sees if it works. A hobbyist one may work well, but because a professional pays attention to the numbers it's more likely to be reliable under different conditions.
Exactly. If I know what definately works, I can start with that. It is easy to downgrade cost and performance. It is much more costly, time consuming and frustrating to upgrade to the point of satisfaction. Plus, I don't have to pay the fee to have the system engineered again - I simply replicate what has been proven, by numbers or pro experience, to work.
Even if the installers don't have much in the way of hard numbers, they have a "feel" for what works, which is born out by the low numbers of complaints from users over the 100's of systems they have put in, or by the fact that they stand behind the system they put in for you, and you have no to relatively few complaints.
I think that building a repository for this information here is a place for contribution for the forum.
... information, please ...
Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:35 pm
Mikerowaved wrote:We had quotes from professional installers that our FM group often uses ranging into the thousands of dollars,
1) Would it be possible to get your hands on the commercial layout plans that correspond to the quotes? This would give the rest of us an idea of what the pro suggests for the building type.
2) Would you be able to publish .pdf docs of those plans to this forum under the building type(s) with which you are working?
3) Can you share the information as to the installation company(s) for your area that provided the quote(s), and whether or not they are just local or part of a national chain?