How to setup a wifi mesh network in a 6 story full brick home

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Hi,

We have to create a solid wifi mesh network in a 6 story multi mil $ home. The home will have complete home automation and requires wifi crestron touch sceens to utilise the network and also all the IT hardware. There will be the ability to run cables to all access points however I am looking to build a power over ethernet mesh secure solution with also an external access point that will never break down or drop out. Each floor has more concrete then you can imagine however the floor span is no more then 30 meters with little walls. If we can create a vlan for crestron control systems then this will be the ideal situation. Your help is very much appricated with recommending a best solution.

Regards - Jay

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rghernandez Mon, 07/30/2007 - 05:45

Wifi Beginner I am, but I would start out with a site survey, Once the site survey is done, it will tell you the location of the accesspoints and the quanity to use. if you have a qty of 8 AP's or more i would look into getting a 4400 series WIFI Controller, the controller will allow you to manage all AP's from a central location, as for switches you have the functionality of POE switches. make sure to confgure the switches and AP's with QoS, Some Routers have Built in WLAN controller.

Here are some links to help you get started:

Wireless

http://cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/wireless/index.html

Routers

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps5854/index.html

I hope this helps.

r.davisii Mon, 07/30/2007 - 09:48

Start out with a profession site survey from a professional wireless engineer (alot of people claim to be but only know enough to screw you up). Proper AP placement will give you the proper overlap and coverage you desire. It is important to tell the person doing the survey ahead of time what the network will be used for (and he should ask if you dont offer this information). The survey results will be different depending on the type of technologies you will employ i.e. data only, VoIPoWLAN, location services/RFID, etc etc... You should not takle any wireless project like this without a clear plan and site survey. As for technology Autonomous APS are cheaper but the WLC (Wireless LAN Controller) helps alot (such as centralized point of entry into the wired network, QoS tagging, ease of administration, etc etc). For you outdoor deployment you will probably want a 1310 bridge/access point. This device can be used in LWAPP mode (with a WLC) or autonomous mode (without a WLC) and can be ordered with a integrated 13 dbi sectorized antenna or wihtout allowing you to add the antenna of your choice. Again, know what the system is going to be used for and have a site survey done so you dont spend alot of money for something that will give you endless problems.

scottmac Mon, 07/30/2007 - 18:49

Mr Davis has it pretty much nailed.

There are so many potential gotchas, depending on the front-end choices, there is no way (none, zip , nada, bupkis ...)to do this without (at least) one comprehensive survey by a real pro. If you talk to anyone that says this will be easy, say "thanks" then show them the door.

As an example, if you decided to go with 802.11g (2.4G), you get three channels total that won't overlap (1, 6, 11). Overlap will kill performance as it is seen as interference.

You will need to break the floorspace into "cells" such that no two adjacent cells will have the same channel assignments, but overlap enough to permit seamless roaming for things like VoIP.

In addition to the lateral cell structure, you may (site survey will determine) also have to consider the vertical, such that two cells on the same channel do not see each other through the floor, or by reflection up the stairwell or elevator shaft.

Adjusting the cell shape and diameter is done by changing the type of antenna (omni, sector, panel ...)and the power to each antenna.

The central controller system supports an "automatic" mode that theoretically could figure out these adjustments dynamically (within the propagation physic permitted by the antennas and environment) ... but auto modes are best used to maintain the operational design when things get dynanmic (like people walking around, pasing interference, passing Bluetooth, leaky microwave ovens ...)

This is just ONE very small piece of figuring all this stuff out. You need experienced eyes and equipment on-site, probably for a couple days depending on the ultimate application suite you decide to implement.

A VLAN for the touchscreen / control system is trivial (and common) compared to the other site engineering.

Good Luck, it sounds like a really cool & fun project.

Scott

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