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We've got the internet ! Now what ?

Whilst we don't provide internet connectivity we do pride ourselves on getting it distributed.

Recently we were recommended as the people who could get a large site all connected, now by large we're talking approx. 50 acres. Our customer having given up all hope of getting decent broadband took the plunge and ordered a microwave leased line. Now to those of you who think a microwave just heats up your porridge there is a means of using these teeny weeny waves to transmit data - ever seen the white drum looking things on cellphone masts ? Well they are microwave transmitters.

The microwave came to a pole on the edge of the site and from there a cable connected it to the nearby admin office. From there it was hooked up to a domestic wifi box (access point if you're a techy) and a weak signal floated about from there. As for the rest of the 50 acre site there was nowt.

They had the internet but it was like having a Ferrari sitting up on bricks.

We had to devise a means of getting the internet throughout the site with the added requirement of internet access for the site manager's house and, more importantly, the owner of the business.

It was a "bread and butter" task in all honesty - we had done projects like this before, we just had to scale it up. Having surveyed the site, it was decided that we would use the main warehouse as a "hub" to distribute the network from - one of the deciding factors was that from the top of the warehouse we could see all the sites we needed to connect.

To get the network around the site we decided to set up five point to point wireless bridges using Ubiquiti's Nanobeam product range. To provide power at the "central site" (the warehouse) we used the Ubquiti Toughswitch - the rugged design also suited the harsh environment in the warehouse.

Once each site was connected it was just a question of getting the internet available, note - the customer uses a cloud based application for keeping track of what's happening in the business. For this it was simply a case of using five long range Ubiquiti access points inside the buildings and the three Ubiquiti mesh units for ensuring the outdoors was covered (just in/around the warehouse and admin building). This effectively covered the entire collection of site offices and the dairy farm where networked CCTV was used to keep an eye on everything.

Having all connected it was just a case of fine tuning each link to achieve a connectivity rate of at least 300m/bit/s to all sites. Note, it is very easy to get one site to connect to another but there is not much point in having a 100m/bit/s internet connection pushed down poorly configured links - you just end up with the customer assuming the "internet is no good" where in fact it is the WiFi infrastructure.

The final stage was a handover and the rather clever app for the owners phone where he could see all that was going on in his WiFi network - courtesy of the cloud based WiFi server we built for such projects.

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