Wireless Hardware Installation

On May 5, 2012 (a Saturday), following from the successful Bell Aliant Fibre Op installation one week previous, installation of the wireless access points was carried out by Ken Williams and Peter Rukavina under the guidance of Principal Terry MacIsaac.

Installation commenced at 9:00 a.m. and continued to approximately 2:30 p.m., with a break for lunch. Ken Williams did the bulk of the hardware installation and Peter Rukavina did network testing, cable cleanup and cloud network setup.

Seven Open-Mesh OM2P were obtained for the project. Two were donated to the Prince Street Home and School and an additional five were loaned for a six month period by Ken Williams.

While the OM2P access points will "mesh" together wirelessly, when they do this each "child" access point provides one half of the full available bandwidth to its clients. To allow the greatest possible bandwidth to each access point, the decision was made to hard-wire as many of the access points to the Bell Aliant Fiber Op as possible. For this purpose, 1000 feet of Cat5e Solid UTP Cable was purchased ($164 from Amazon.ca).

Additional tools and supplies required for the installation:

  1. Ethernet cable cutting/crimping and male cable-ends.
  2. Wire snips (2 pairs).
  3. Homemade "cable pusher" to aid in moving cables above the drop-ceilings; this was approx 10 feet long and was constructed of two interconnected lengths of 1/2 inch PVC pipe.
  4. Ladders (one from the school custodian, one brought by Ken).
  5. Cable ties.

To bridge the two levels of the schools, cable was run through an existing hole in the floor of the HVAC mechanical room on the upper level down into the lower level furnace room.

Power to the OM2P devices was provided in one of two ways:

  1. Direct power supply from ceiling outlets pre-existing for SMART boards.
  2. Power Over Ethernet (POE).

An example of the in-ceiling SMART board outlets (one receptable is used for the SMART board, the other appears generally to be free):

The access points were set above the ceiling tiles in all installed locations, which had the benefit of placing them high up (for better wireless coverage) and keeping the access points and their wiring out of view and not subject to accidental tampering:

Devices were labelled from 01 to 07, with the standard Prince Street School prefix of PRINC-347 used by IT Shared Services.

A small piece of orange tape was placed on the ceiling under the location of the OM2P units to allow for easier identification for maintenance:

Devices were installed as follows:

Device Room No. Grade Connectivity Power
PRINC-347-06 8 2 Cable to router Ceiling plug
PRINC-347-07 10 K Wireless mesh Ceiling plug
PRINC-347-05 Outside 6 2 & 3 Cable to switch in Rm. 8 POE
PRINC-347-04 Outside 9 1 & Resource Cable to switch in Rm. 8 POE
PRINC-347-01 29 6 Cable to router Ceiling plug
PRINC-347-02 25 4 Cable to router Ceiling plug
PRINC-347-03 Outside 33 4 & A+ None None

Technical Issues Encountered

The original plan for the PRINC-347-03 access point was to "daisy chain" it from the PRINC-347-02 unit in Room 25, both for power (via POE) and connectivity. However we learned that this configuration isn't supported by the OM2P firmware at present; from the Open-Mesh support site:

You cannot daisy chain the OM2P node to another OM2P node via an ethernet cable.  This feature will be addressed in a future firmware build.

As a result, this unit was not running after the initial install, although it was left in place in anticipation of an alternative solution.

A similar plan was in place from PRINC-347-07 in the Kindergarten: it was to receive bandwidth daisy-chained from PRINC-347-04. However in this case because local power was available, it was not reliant upon POE, and so, for the time being, we disconnected the cable and allowed the unit to run in wireless "mesh" mode.