Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2012

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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The Challenges Of Wireless Network Design Today, MDU residents demand wireless access for their mobile and not-so- mobile devices. This cautionary tale of a wireless network installation gone awry shows why network designers and property owners must communicate about their objectives and develop appropriate design standards. By David Daugherty and Clinton Cory ■ Korcett Holdings Inc. A property we'll call "the Shadows" is a brand-new stu- dent housing community with about 750 beds. It incor- porates all the latest amenities, including an assortment of government-sponsored energy management technology. It also contains a typical range of wireless noise generators, in- cluding resident wireless access points, microwave ovens, wire- less telephones and wireless power meters. Te history of the Shadows illustrates the challenges of working with wireless communications, which has all the complexity of traditional wired networks along with such wild cards as signal strength, radio interference and additional over- head. Unfortunately, there was little or no systemic review dur- ing the design stage of how the planned property amenities would interact. Te designers made no provisions for attach- ing third-party devices, such as security cameras or sensors for managing appliances. Because there was little or no review in the design stage, designers made no provision for attaching devices such as security cameras or sensors. Tus, two significant and unexpected problems had to be resolved after the network had been installed and students had begun moving in – at the same time that the developer was rushing to complete the installation of amenities. Te first problem developed as the contractor began installing environ- mental controls to the network. Because network designers had had no advance knowledge or warning that additional devices would be attached to the network, a Dynamic Host Configu- ration Protocol (DHCP) conflict arose between the environ- APRIL 24 – 26 • INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL – DALLAS David Daugherty will moderate a session on metrics for multifamily Internet access at the Broadband Communities Summit in Dallas, April 24–26. mental control system and the wireless access points – that is, multiple devices had the same IP address. IP address allocations for a residential network are based on expected usage of resident devices, so when a third party installs additional devices that require IP addresses, the num- ber of IP addresses falls short. Additional address space must be obtained and deployed to cover this unexpected addition to the network. In the meantime, managers must shut down the third-party devices or tolerate users' being affected until additional IP space is obtained and deployed. In this case, resi- dents were very irritated for several days until the problem was identified and corrected and service levels returned to normal. From a network design and performance perspective, this was a normal experience. From a property operations stand- point, however, this kind of oversight can significantly im- pact the reputation and subsequent business performance of a new development. About the Author David Daugherty is the founder and CEO of Korcett Holdings, and Clinton Cory is the senior network engineer. Korcett Holdings ( is dedicated to the development and deployment of next-generation managed service solutions. 32 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012

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