Monday, May 4, 2020

UCCU Center Part 3

Well the install couldn't have gone better. We scheduled for 5 days and it only took 4. Two days to pull the wire, terminate and certify the connections, and two days to hang the AP's and aim the antennas. I printed out the coverage pattern of each AP separately in Ekahau so my guys would know where to aim them and that seemed to work. The first couple of AP's were a bit challenging until we figured out the best way to use the beam clamps we had and the optimal mounting points for the antennas. Once we got that
down the rest went much faster. The arena has a jumbo-tron right in the middle of the ceiling and we happen to have an IDF down inside of it. This is where we pulled the wires to and mounted a 24 port mgig switch there. Worked out perfect because I used 24 AP's. We also used two 10 gig fiber up-links in a port channel to the building core. Since this is where I work and there is no one around because of the panic I was able to go survey anytime I liked. I ended up doing 4 different validation surveys just to tweak a few things and try and get it working the best I could. It's looking pretty
good so hopefully one day soon we can actually have events in there again and we'll see if I know what I'm doing.

UCCU Center Part 2

As luck would have it, not long after I submitted my design for the arena we got called into a meeting with the management team of the UCCU Center. They had just landed a contract with ESPN to have the Olympic finals for gymnastics there (Pre-Corona virus). They asked us if there was anything that could be done to improve the wifi in the arena bowl and we just happened to have a nice Ekahau report printed out with the design specs that we handed them. My director told them how much it would cost and a time frame for the install. A week later we were notified that the design had been approved and they had the money to proceed (funny what the opportunity to be on the national stage can do for a budget). We ordered the equipment and everything was a go. Then the whole world shut down. But all of the stuff arrived  and we had a lift rented and no one was in our way so we decided to go ahead with the install. One of the stipulations with the install was that everything we put in had to be black because it was in the ceiling and they didn't want anything to stick out. We were able to get black Cat6a but I had to get a little creative with the AP's and antennas. We thought of getting enclosures for the antennas but didn't have enough lead time to get then built, so I ended up painting the antennas flat black and we bought some black stretchy swimming caps from Amazon to put
over the AP's. Worked out great!

UCCU Center Part 1

Since I got hired here there have been complaints about the Wifi in the UCCU Center arena being horrible. We would tell them, "All it takes is money." But it never went beyond that. Fast forward three years and after the install of our smaller arena seemed to work I got a wild hair and decided to put all my book lurnin' to use and actually create a High Density wireless design for the UCCU Center. There were many things to take into account for the design such as where I would actually be allowed to install AP's, how we could pull the wires we needed, capacity and so on. I had to design for the many configurations of the arena because it wasn't just used for basketball games. It was also used for expo's and graduations and many High School events from around the valley. We couldn't install in the seating because they "may" get new seats in the next couple of years so it looked like it would be a ceiling mount with tight beam directional antennas. I grabbed some floor plans for the arena bowl and my laser distance meter and measured all the heights lengths and widths I thought I would need for the design. It's an 8000 seat arena and I was designing for basic high speed internet, nothing crazy. There were 4 beams in the ceiling I could mount to and run the wire on so that's where I started my design. I stuck with the Cisco 3802e AP's and used a dual 5ghz design with 20mhz channels to maximize the channel usage. I ended up with 24 AP's with 48 antennas. I used Terrawave antennas with 30 degree beams on the inside two I beams, and 45 degree on the outside two beams that were closer to the seats because of the angle of the bowl. I submitted it to my Director just so we could have it on hand next time the conversation came up.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Using Profiler on the WLanPi

I added a garage and family room onto my house so I need to increase the wireless coverage in a few spots. I also have idiot neighbors who like to use non standard channels in 2.4, and even one neighbor who uses a 40 mhz wide channel in 2.4. Thanks neighbor. Anyway in the 5 ghz spectrum Uni I, Uni II and Uni III are quite crowded as well. I don't live close to any airports so I'm going to use DFS channels where I can. The easiest way I've found to see if your clients can use DFS is to whip out the WLanPi and use profiler.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Wi-Spy Air

In September of last year I went to Wifi Trek in Nashville. I won a drawing for a bootcamp so I talked my director into letting me go to the conference also. I took the CWSP class from Phil Morgan and he was such a great instructor I was able to pass the test with flying colors. It was also my last test of the "Big Four" CWNP tests before I can apply for CWNE (in process). Anyway while walking through the vendor areas I stopped and talked to the Metageek guys and signed up for a drawing. A week later I received and email from them saying that I won a Wi-Fi Air!
Here's a quick video run through of how slick it is.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Lockhart Arena

Once I got my new toys I was anxious to try them out and flex my new wireless abilities. I wanted to try a high density deployment so I grabbed the floor plans for the Lockhart Arena. It is the smaller arena at UVU with seating for around 2000 and occasionally gets used for other functions like graduations where they have a stage at one end and fill the floor with chairs. Threw the plans into Ekahau and used my newfound skills. I used Cisco 3800's with external antennas and two different models of Terrawave antennas in the design. A limitation with Ekahau at the time was I couldn't use both 5 ghz radios on one AP so the ones I wanted to use dual 5 ghz radios on I ended up stacking two AP's in the design and disableing the 2.4 radio on each of them. They have since fixed that problem. The design included high density capability on the floor also for the times the space is used for functions beside sporting events. I ended up with 10 AP's and 17 antennas. I pitched the design to my director and got it OK'd by the powers that be and we started the project. The phone guys pulled the cables and we mounted to AP's
and antennas to the steel beams spanning the arena. We were also able to use a Catalyst 3850 Mgig switch for the access layer. After the install I did my very first validation survey, with a laptop in the days before Survey for iPad, to make sure the signal strength was correct and that devices would roam between cells. The first large scale function they had in there I was watching everything and noticed the AP's were balancing out evenly and thing seemed to be going well. Since we had a 10 gig uplink to the switch the most we ever did was 6% utilization on the uplink. The day I learned about overkill. Well at least I'm future proofed for a while.

First Wireless Cert DONE!

In January of 2018 UETN hosted an Ekahau training for any of the wireless admins in the Utah education space. I registered for the training not knowing exactly what Ekahau was. It was an eye opening experience and was taught by the great minds of Ferney Munoz and Keith Parsons. That week I began to understand not only how important good design is, but the actual reasons why, and how wireless actually works. After I acquired the ECSE certification I went back to work and started an active campaign to purchase Ekahau pro and of course a sidekick. Because what good is one without the other? 🌝 It was approved, we got it, and now I feel special.


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Wireless network engineer at Utah Valley University

UCCU Center Part 3

Well the install couldn't have gone better. We scheduled for 5 days and it only took 4. Two days to pull the wire, terminate and certi...

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