Open Mesh 101: Step-by-step guide to setting up your CloudTrax network for the first time

Open Mesh 101: Step-by-step guide to setting up your CloudTrax network for the first time

Last week we covered the basic terms you’ll need to know and equipment you’ll need to set up your own CloudTrax network (Read More), this week we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide to setting up your network for the first time along with a few quick tips.

 

Step 1: Create a Master Login

The first time you use CloudTrax, you need to create a Master Login. This account will be your login for all networks you create.

 

From CloudTrax.com, click the “Create account” link just below the login fields. You’ll see a page similar to the one below.

 

screenshot-2015-08-31-12-20-27

 

Fill in the following information:

First Name: They’ll use this to address you in email correspondence.

Username: This is your master login you will use to access ALL networks you create. It allows you to login once and edit/view all your networks. It MUST be different from your network name(s) which you will create in a second step. You may want to use your company name here.

Email: You’ll receive an email at this address asking you to verify this master login to continue.

Password: This is your master administrator password. It can be used with the above login name to access all of your networks. Make this password different from the individual network passwords you’ll create later.

 

When finished, click “Create/Edit” to save your account settings. In a few moments, you’ll receive an email asking you to confirm the account you just created. Just click on the “Verify Account” link to create your new CloudTrax Master Login.

 

Step 2: Create a new network

You’ll automatically be taken to a page, similar to the one below, to create your first network.

 

screenshot-2015-08-31-11-14-39

 

Fill in the following information:

Network name: This is the name you want to give this specific network. You will use this name to make changes to the network, display reports, etc.

Password: This is the password for local administrators and should be different from your master account login. This limits access and prevents users from making changes to your network.

Email: Enter your email address or the address of a local administrator to contact. We will never share this with others.

Network Location: Enter a street address for the first access point. To add access points, you will be shown a map that you click on to place access points. By entering an address here, you will be centered on the correct location for your network.

Email for Notifications: Enter the email addresses, separated by spaces, for all people you’d like to receive “outage” notifications. These are sent hourly.

When finished, click “Create” to save your new network settings.

 

Note: Once you have your first network, you’ll access the “create network” page from the bottom of the Networks dropdown on any network “Edit” page.

screenshot-2015-08-31-11-15-25

 

Step 3: Add access points to your network

It’s time to let CloudTrax know which access points you want to include in the network. Adding them to CloudTrax will allow you to manage and monitor the access points from anywhere.

 

Navigate to the Manage > Access Points screen.

 

There are three options to add access points to your network: click the “Add New” button to add access points one at a time by clicking on a map, or use the down arrow to the right of that to add access points in bulk.

 

screenshot-2015-10-30-16-14-30

 

If you add access points the default way, you’ll be taken to the Map tab of the Access Points page. A Google map, centered on the address you entered when you created the network, will show a popup to enter your first access point. You can often (depending on location) click the “Satellite” view button and zoom in for a closer look.

screenshot-2015-08-31-11-15-01

 

Fill in the following information:

Name: Enter a name for this access point. This name is used to reference its location and will be displayed in reports. It does not affect users.

MAC address: A MAC address is a sequence of 12 numbers and the letters A-F often separated by colons (Eg: 00:02:6F:8A:B2:6E). This can be found on a label on the bottom of the router and on the side of the product box. For the MR500, there are 3 MAC addresses shown, and you want to enter the one on the top, listed as the “WAN MAC.”

Description: You can enter optional descriptive text that will be shown on the reports. This is typically used to keep notes on where the access point is installed, etc.

Click “Add” and repeat the process for each additional access point.

 

Quick Tip: Moving access points you’ve already placed

Didn’t get the placement of an access point quite right? You can move it around by clicking and dragging an access point to a new location.

 

If you need to add a large number of access points, you may want to add them in bulk. You can do so two ways: by entering the MAC addresses in a text field (one per line), or by uploading a list of access points (along with optional name, location, channel overrides, etc.) in a CSV file.

screenshot-2015-10-30-15-02-04 screenshot-2015-10-30-15-01-40

 

 

For both of these options, your access points will be added to the map based on your network location (similar to how the CloudTrax iOS and Android apps add access points). You can reposition these access points on the map after adding them.

 

When adding by CSV, the CSV file must be in a specific format. You can download a sample CSV file here.

 

Step 4: Install the access points

Once your access points are added to CloudTrax, it’s time to install them. If you’re using an enclosure, video installation guides are available here.

 

First, connect your Gateway unit to the Internet with an Ethernet cable. This can be plugged in directly to your high-speed modem (if it has a single Ethernet port, power cycle it first), or it can be fed from a router or switch. If it can get an Internet connection through the cable, it’ll connect to CloudTrax. Once the Ethernet cable is plugged in, connect power.

Next, plug in additional access points as either gateways (connected to Ethernet) or repeaters, connected only to power.

 

To ensure strong, consistent signal coverage, follow these guidelines:

  1. Place your gateway in the center of the network. For most devices, every time data is transmitted over one repeater hop, it loses half its speed. A central gateway minimizes the number of hops required.
  2. Never go through more than three to four walls or floors.
  3. Never go more than 50-150 feet (depending on building materials) between access points.
  4. Install no more than about five repeaters to every one gateway.

 

Once all access points are plugged in, you should see them turn green on the CloudTrax Network Status page in about 5 to 15 minutes. For more detailed information on planning and optimizing your network, see the Network Planning Guide.

 

Quick Tip: Where should your Gateway go?

Your Gateway as central to the area you want to cover as possible. Place repeaters around this gateway to extend coverage, as shown here.

quicktip-whereshouldyourgatewaygo

Adding more gateways as you expand the network helps ensure consistent speeds and improves reliability.

 

 

 

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