MMI Blog
Friday, 09 December 2011 18:16

In Part One of this series, I introduced you to the Firetide equipment that had been deployed in Phase I of the project.  In Part Two, I described the Wireless Mesh Backhaul and Wireless Mobility Mesh components.  In this installment, we will go over the WiFi Access portion of this project.

WiFi Access
The client requested WiFi access for permanent tenant activities and for intermittent activities that use the client’s facilities.  Sorry, I cannot provide more detail, but in the interest of complying with our NDA and National Security, we have to be a bit vague at times.  Anyhoo, The facility has multiple permanent clients that require WiFi access to support inventory control, Line of Business (LOB) applications and general internet access.  The intermittent clients will come and go but require a portable WiFi node be available to connect to their organic network and provide internet access.  Also, local law enforcement could potentially use the WiFi access to view the facility’s video security systems.  This would allow incident commanders full access to the facilities resources without having to have a mesh node in their vehicles.  Our local law enforcement vehicles have mobile WiFi access already.

The product chosen to supply the WiFi access is the Firetide HotPoint 5000 Series Access PointsHotPoint5100These devices are managed by the Firetide HotView HotPoint5200Pro software that also manages the Firetide Meshes at the facility.  The radios are a tri-band access point with 802.11 a/n and 4.9GHz capabilities.  There are two models.  The 5100 Indoor node and the 5200 Outdoor node which sports a rugged NEMA 4X/IP67-rated cast aluminum enclosure.  Did I mention both models support MIMO?  The dual radios are individually configurable and can operate in channel widths of 5, 10, 20 and 40 MHz (MIMO Only).  You can also place one radio into a dedicated monitor mode for rouge AP detection, mitigation, abuse prevention and faster adoption to RF environment changes.  HotPoint wireless access points can be mounted to a Firetide mesh node to provide Wi-Fi access to any indoor or outdoor location without the need for backhaul cabling.  HotPoint access points can also connect directly to a conventional wired infrastructure eliminating the need to install a mesh node in locations where wired connectivity is readily available.  Unlike conventional mesh networks that combine mesh backhaul and Wi-Fi access in the same enclosure, Firetide mesh nodes and access points can be physically separated allowing system integrators to optimize RF separately for both the mesh backhaul as well as client access.  For example, in a multi-building mesh network, mesh nodes should be placed in areas that enable the best connectivity between buildings, which is typically at higher locations.  However, the best locations for the access points tend to be lower to provide the best connectivity for Wi-Fi clients inside a building.  Because the access points and mesh nodes are kept in separate enclosures, they can be independently positioned for optimal RF connectivity.

In our configuration, we will be connecting the 5000 WAP to a HotPort 7000 for outdoor locations and direct Ethernet connections for indoor deployments.  We have designed the mobility network node placements to coincide with the WAP placements.  Thus we will use the Mobility mesh to carry the WiFi traffic.  The Backhaul Mesh will carry the Mobility and WiFi traffic.  The following depicts the relationship between the Mesh networks and the VLANs:

VLAN Plan 
In the next installment we will discuss the mounting configurations for each component and discuss the physics related to antenna positions.

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Tuesday, 06 December 2011 21:13

In my first post, “A Firetide Video Security and Mobility Project,” I gave a high-level overview of the project and a brief description of some of the existing hardware. In this post, I will go over the wireless design and the new Firetide line of wireless radios used to provide backhaul, mobility and WiFi access.

The project is to provide video security as a force multiplier. In support of this main goal, the facility has chosen Firetide wireless gear to reduce deployment costs. Firetide Mesh Networks act as a virtual network switch providing connectivity less expensively than typical fiber optic cable deployments. Since the facility already has Firetide 6000 series radios in place for backhaul and mobility, we will be using these radios as well as the newer 7000 series radios. The wireless design can be broken down into three different functional groups: Wireless Mesh Backhaul, Wireless Mesh Mobility and WiFi Access. We will discuss each of these functional groups in detail.

Monday, 11 July 2011 11:07

I've decided to post a blog on a Firetide, Pelco and Netmotion installation and configuration project.  Since we are the IT subcontractor, I will be focusing on the wireless and IT components.  However, since the end user application drives the design of the wireless infrastructure, we will discuss the Pelco and other componentnts from time to time.