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Conn Valley Vineywards WiFi case study

Conn Valley Vineyards

Conn Valley Vineyards needed WiFi in the cave system where they store wine barrels because with no WiFi and no cell reception, their staff and guests had no way to stay connected. Since deploying Open Mesh, they have reliable WiFi so they can access their web-based POS system, take and receive phone calls, and winery guests can enjoy WiFi and post to social media while in the cave.

Knowing they could benefit from WiFi in the caves, they turned to David Mercer Consulting, a Managed Services Provider in the area.

“We needed to be able to extend their existing network from the main winery building up the hill and into their cave system,” said David Mercer of David Mercer Consulting.

“They wanted to be able to make sales while visitors were in the caves rather than waiting to return to the main building, they needed to collect data for the winemaking process, and they wanted a VOIP phone at that location as well. No cell reception on the property means that employees and guests alike are dependent on WiFi for internet and call/text services.”

Mercer understood the problem and knew that Open Mesh access points, combined with point-to-point wireless units, was the solution. He chose Open Mesh access points for ease of configuration and the ability to monitor in the cloud.

The setup was pretty straightforward:

Mercer used point-to-point wireless units to travel approximately 1300 feet up the hill to the outside of the cave, and mounted a pole on top of the cave to get line of site back to the main winery building. From there, he ran a cable into one of the cave entrances through an existing point in ingress to supply power to the point-to-point wireless unit.

He ran an ethernet cable to the central point of the cave and installed a PoE switch to power the phone and two MR1750 access points. The structure of the cave provided too many obstructions for access points to be effective as repeaters, so they ran ethernet cables to each device.

Being able to monitor the access points in the cloud became key when the access points in the cave kept going offline.

“A quick check showed that the PoE switch powering the access points was itself powered from a circuit that went off when they turned off the internal lights at the end of the day,” said Mercer. They were able to quickly make adjustments to ensure WiFi performance wasn’t disrupted.

As part of the same project, they also extended WiFi outside of the main winery building by adding two A60 access points outdoors. They already had two MR1750 units supplying private and guest networks at the main building, and adding access points to the network was easy.

“Adding additional units was a completely painless process," said Mercer. "Thanks to the new A60 units, installing outdoors was very simple—we love the integrated weatherproofing and attachment options.”

Overall, the project was a success. “They love not being ‘in a hole’ while in the cave,” said Mercer. Employees and guests alike are now able to communicate and stay connected without driving up and down the hill.

Photos courtesy of Conn Valley Vineyards.