Open-Mesh 101: Network Planning (Part 4)

Open-Mesh 101: Network Planning (Part 4)

Last week, in our blog series on how to plan a cloud-managed wireless mesh network with CloudTrax and why, we gave you a few tips on how to plan your node placements (Click Here). This week we’ll explain how to scale your network to your specific needs along with a few other additional tips to make you get the most out of your Open-Mesh network.


Scaling your network

CloudTrax networks are highly scalable. To build large-scale networks, simply repeat the model described in the previous mailer (Click Here) as needed by adding additional gateways and repeaters. There is virtually no limit to the number of gateways and repeaters you can have on a single network (although we recommend 200 or fewer nodes for readability of reports). Larger networks can simply be broken up into discrete zones under the same login.


There are two primary ways to add additional gateways: you can have multiple DSL’s (cable modems, etc.) or have a switch with Ethernet cables, both distributing gateways evenly through your network.


The advantage of multiple DSL’s feeding your network is twofold. First, you avoid running any Ethernet cabling. Second, you have a built-in failover: if one DSL were to go down, your network will switch-over to the other DSL(s) keeping your network up, if a bit slower.


However, there is typically a higher ongoing cost to providing multiple low-speed DSL’s compared to one high-speed DSL. With a switch running Ethernet to multiple gateways, you have a one-time investment but a reduced on-going cost because you are only paying for one DSL connection.


Additional tips

Here are some additional network planning suggestions:

  1. Have the edges of the signals from nodes overlap so that each node can talk to at least one (and preferably two) other nodes, with good signal quality.


  1. Don’t under install. Having redundancy built into the network by having extra nodes allows CloudTrax’s self-healing, self-configuring mesh protocol to keep users connected and minimize outages.


  1. To avoid bottlenecks, don’t have more than five repeaters running off of any one gateway.


  1. Think vertically in multistory buildings. If you have two or three floors to cover, place the nodes on the second floor. This keeps them centred between the floors where they can provide coverage both above and below. You get all of the coverage with half of the nodes.


  1. Use straight lines when broadcasting through walls and floors. The less material the wireless signal needs to penetrate, the stronger the signal will be.


  1. If you are installing in an apartment complex or hotel with internal hallways and no in-room cat5/6 Ethernet cabling, consider placing most nodes in the hallways. As this is common space, you’ll have access to them without disturbing residents. Secondly, placing the nodes down a long corridor means they can all see each other without having to go through as many walls. This maximizes the signal between the routers and minimizes potential “hops” and low signal quality that will slow down the network. Add additional nodes as needed (typically in larger units) to boost signals in specific areas.


If you are installing a building that has cat5/6 Ethernet cabling to each room, consider using the indoor Ethernet enclosure to add gateways to as many rooms as needed. In this scenario, you could do without repeaters completely, maximizing your network performance.


  1. If there is no power outlet where you want to place a node, you can power it through an Ethernet cable (power over Ethernet, or PoE). Any OM Series device can be powered through passive PoE; however, only the OM2P-HS, OM5P-AC & MR1750 devices are compatible with PoE switches using 802.3af standard PoE. Two enclosures—the outdoor enclosure and indoor Ethernet enclosure—are best used with PoE, while it is option in the indoor ceiling enclosure and not recommended for the indoor wall plug enclosure.



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