Solutions: Wireless Mesh Networks

If you are planning to set up wireless networks at one of your venues, Surfability has a solution which would work really well and could save you a fair bit of cash - a Wireless Mesh network.

What is a Wireless Mesh network?

A Wireless Mesh network is an overlapping series of special 802.11b access points (called a MeshAP) that create a single, scaleable wireless network. If you want to increase the size/range of your network, you just add another MeshAP. And because it's built aound standard 802.11b (WiFi) hardware, all you need to access the network is a standard WiFi network card.

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How does it work?

You start by plugging a MeshAP into the internet or a local area network (LAN). This is known as a gateway node. If you then want to extend the range of the Mesh, you just add another MeshAP which is in range of an exisitng MeshAP - it automatically detects existing MeshAPs and then uses those to route packets to the LAN or Internet gateway. You can also have as many gateway nodes as you like for a fault tolerant network.

The MeshAP can gain its internet access from WiFi, local broadband, dial-up modem, ISDN or even a self contained GSM/GPRS module for really unconnected locations.

A Mesh network is ideal for providing broadband access to rural communities.

How do I control access?

If required, users of the Mesh network can be assigned to a pool that requires authentication though a captive web portal that runs on the MeshAP. You can configure how long a user can access the network for along with bandwidth restrictions. Once a user is logged in, all regular internet services are supported. These settings can be changed to suit your needs.

What else can a MeshAP do?

Simply add a mouse, keyboard and monitor to a MeshAP and you have a public access terminal that allows users to surf the web, check email etc using the built in Mozilla web browser.

You can also connect to the MeshAP via Secure Shell (SSH) for remote administration.

Bluetooth

The latest incarnation of the MeshAP supports both WiFi and Bluetooth, providing mesh extendable wireless internet access for many different devices and now with MMS integration for Bluetooth enabled mobile phones.

You could use this as the ultimate pub / bar hotspot solution. 'beep beep - Last Orders!'

Competetive pricing

Tell us your networking requirements and we'll give you a quote - it would be surprising if we couldn't offer a cheaper and better solution than BT openzone.