Mission Solano, a non-profit in Fairfield, CA, needed seamless WiFi coverage and more control over the network. Since deploying Open Mesh, they have consistent WiFi wherever they roam and can focus on doing what they do best: developing long-term residential treatment for homeless addicted men, women, and veterans.
Mission Solano’s previous wireless system was pieced together over time as different people set up consumer routers when they needed wireless in different areas. There was no plan or central information about the network.
They knew they needed to unify their system, so they turned to local MSP David Mercer Consulting for help.
“Not only did they need to unify the network structure, they needed to create both a private wireless network as well as one for the clients staying and working on the property, bandwidth controlled and managed,” said Mercer. “They also desired a network with higher bandwidth for those who earned the privilege.”
Knowing that Open Mesh would address their needs, Mercer installed five MR1750 access points, all wired to the internet. After the initial deployment, he installed an additional MR1750 as a repeater to boost the signal in a corner of the property with poor coverage. The addition was easy: "Adding the repeater we needed was as simple as scanning a barcode on a smartphone, and plugging it into power," said Mercer.
“The Open Mesh system is so easy to manage and configure. It makes the setup entirely simple, even with a fairly sophisticated level of need,” said Mercer. “The clients also find it valuable to have access to the web portal to gain insight into use of the guest network and have enhanced visibility to the users on it.”
The cloud management tool, CloudTrax, makes it easy to monitor the network and diagnose issues. “It was invaluable to be able to place the access points on the Google-powered map, so we had an accurate representation of the physical locations,” said Mercer. “And the live status of the units enabled us to quickly see that one of the units that should have been in gateway mode was in repeater mode, allowing us to find the dead ethernet at that location.”
Mission Solano now has a unified wireless system covering the entire property, with a private network for the employees, another private network for consultants that work on site, and a guest network for the people they serve (bandwidth limited) as well as a voucher system to give higher bandwidth access to those who need or earn the privilege.
“They love having consistent wireless wherever they roam,” said Mercer. “Previously, as they moved from building to building, they had to have their phones or laptops connect to that building’s wireless settings manually, and had large gaps in coverage. It's also far simpler to manage, and they love having the usage data.”Photo courtesy of Mission Solano Facebook Page.