Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Temporary Wireless Installation

We were asked, rather last minute, if we could provide wireless coverage for a manufacturing conference. One of the stipulations was that they didn't want to spend any money(!). What we expected to be a job that took a few hours though naturally ran into nearly a full week.

Day 1

We found where they were erecting the venue, worryingly, on a patch of wasteland. Not only was half the marquee not yet erected, there was also no power.

The nearest building was all brick walls and fire exits. No windows or doors that we could use to run services our of temporarily. We found access to the roof, but then had the problem of no data connections nearby.

We thought about using a point-to-point solution but there was nowhere flat or secure at the 'tent' where we could put the remote end.

We eventually found a plant room with data we could use, but this was well over the 90 meters cable length we specify, and probably another 90 meters to the cab. We therefore decided to put some active kit in the plant room and another switch, this time PoE, at the conference end. 

Back at the office (as the generator was not yet on site) we put ends on the cable at around 190 meters and tested it running four wireless access points. Not ideal, but all worked, even if only at 100Mb rather than 1Gb.

Day 2

Department meeting in the morning so only a bit of time in the afternoon to get set up. Spent the afternoon running cables around to the positions we would like the access points.

The generator was not working so couldn't test everything on site.

Day 3

Hooray! The generator is working. We finished running the cables out, as we now have beams where we would like all the access points, and tie-wrapped the access points to the beams.

We deployed four Cisco 1142 access points (2 per tent) and checked for full coverage. We have two SSID's, one for staff and one for guests. As we used a little less than the 190 meters we tested in the office we actually got a gigabit connection.

We did carry out some proper tests, but I also took the quick screenshot on my phone below.

Day 4

An early start to run the cable out and find some tubing and boards so nobody tripped over it (we didn't have a pickaxe to dig a trench and the ground was too hard for the hammer).

Thankfully no problems with any of the kit, and soon after we were set up we saw upwards of 80 users connecting.

At this point we left them to it to get back to the day to day jobs. Informing the staff on site about passwords and locations. 

Day 5

Clean up and pack away.

I wonder if people realise how much work goes into these things?

No comments: