Last week, in our blog series on how to plan a cloud-managed wireless mesh network with CloudTrax and why, we covered the networking planning basics. This week we’ll be looking at the key elements of building a strong wireless network: Bandwidth, Access Points and Enclosures.
Choosing Bandwidth, Access Points and Enclosures
Bandwidth and your ISP
CloudTrax requires one (or more) incoming Internet connections to feed the network. If you are not using an existing office LAN, this will usually be a DSL, cable or LAN connection.
When choosing an Internet service provider (ISP), consider what you’ll need for bandwidth—both download and upload. Your needs will vary depending on the type of network, how many simultaneous users you have, and the type of network activity from users.
We’ve included a few common online activities and the minimum bandwidth required for each of them, see below. The highest demand for bandwidth comes from streaming video services such as Netflix and YouTube, video chat services such as Skype and FaceTime, and automatic backup and file syncing systems such as Dropbox.
Just a few users sharing files or streaming video can quickly use up all available bandwidth. CloudTrax helps manage this with per-user bandwidth limits and the ability to block individual users.
Even with the management capability of CloudTrax, the more bandwidth you have available on your network, the better the experience will be for the network users.
Choosing the right access points and enclosures
CloudTrax supports the OM and MR Series of modular access points (or nodes) and enclosures. Because the system is modular, you can choose the node that is optimized for your wireless demands, then choose the enclosure that best fits your environment.
- Access Points
There are currently four models that are built to meet specific needs and excel in very different environments.
|Summary||External antenna, great value||High speed, long range||Higher speed, dual-band||Highest speed, dual band|
|Speed (Max)||150 Mbps||300 Mbps||300+867 Mbps||450+1300 Mbps|
|Power||23 dBm||23 dBm||19 dBm||23 dBm|
|Antenna||Single External||Dual Internal||Four Internal||Six Internal|
|PoE Option||Passive||802.3af or passive||802.3af or passive||802.3af only|
|Compatible enclosures||Outdoor, Wall Plug||All Enclosures||All Enclosures||All Enclosures|
The OM5P-AC excels in dense, noisy, high-demand environments such as hotels, dorm rooms, care facilities, apartments and food and beverage establishments. As a dual-band 802.11ac model, it operates in the 5 GHz band in addition to 2.4, so it is better in noisy environments. This unit can handle the highest throughput and the most simultaneous users in the smaller OM Series form factor. This is recommended as the best performing unit in most situations where mesh or long-range coverage is not required. It includes passive and standard 802.3af PoE ports, so it can run with our line of injectors or with standard PoE switches.
The OM2P-HS performs well in the same environments as the OM5P-AN, but as a 2.4 GHz-only device, performs better when there is less interference from other devices. With dual antennas and 23 dBm flat power, this unit can handle high throughput and the most simultaneous users. This is recommended when users need a high combination of range and performance, but don’t need a dual-band device. It includes passive and standard 802.3af PoE ports, so it can run with our line of injectors or with standard PoE switches.
The OM2P, with an external antenna connector, makes an ideal solution for outdoor areas where range is desired. This model can use third-party antennas.
The OM5P is a 5 GHz-only model. The 5 GHz band is less congested than 2.4 GHz, so the OM5P is ideal for offloading 5 GHz-capable clients to the faster 5 GHz band, leaving 2.4 GHz for legacy clients. In most situations, you will want to pair this access point with an OM2P, OM2P-HS or OM5P-AN, but some users deploy these exclusively for machine-to-machine networks or other specific use cases.
The MR1750 is our highest performance model, offering 802.11ac hardware, 3×3 MIMO 450 + 1300 Mbps rated radio speed, good range and excellent meshing capabilities. A future firmware upgrade will unlock 802.11ac performance.
- OM Series Enclosures
Enclosures allow you to place access points exactly where they are needed and minimize theft and tampering. They are designed to work seamlessly with OM Series access points. These models are available: