A simple little network. Part 2

Last we left with the Open Mesh equipment it was being shipped to the final destination. The hardware was shipped to my office first so I could check it out. I really wanted to see what the switches looked like. I heard they had a little fan and I wanted to know how loud that was. Really not bad, if your office is pretty quiet you can hear it, nothing too loud or annoying. But, I think if you have it sitting on your desk everyday, you’ll get tired of hearing it .

The S8 is actually 13 physical ports. One is a console port–which I didn’t even bother connecting to or figuring out how to connect to it–this is a cloud managed switch. You have eight switch ports and two “uplink” ports–copper or SFP.  I like having dedicated copper uplinks as I didn’t have to buy SFP’s to link them together. A little money saved on that.

Switch-OpenMesh

The Open Mesh interface is really simple and to the point. Not bad, but I wish you could see the devices on each switch port under the Clients page. Otherwise you have to view the switch, then select the port, which has a drop down, then it brings up a little dialog box showing what’s connected. See the image below…

SwitchPortDevice

And here is the Access Point page, clean and simple. One thing good about the Open Mesh dashboard, it’s clean and minimal, easy to find settings and features/functions.

As for the what is shown on the Clients page, any device that is connected on an Access Point. See the image below…

Clients

Overall I was pretty impressed with how easy it was to setup. I did notice something odd, for a few hours it was showing one switch as not “checked in” and showing offline. Even, though devices were connected to it and functioning fine. I figured it was a delay someplace, never figured out what that was. But did not cause any issues with management of the switch.

One thing we did notice was performance, I had enabled 802.11r, which that feature was shown as being in “beta”. And, with that enabled performance on the wireless was only around 20Mbps. Once we disabled that, Speed Test and Fast.com showed around 100Mbps(about the speed of the WAN link). Keep in mind doing a WAN speed test is highly debatable showing wireless performance. However, for our reasons it was fine.

Another nice feature is how Open Mesh brands the hardware and CloudTrax — this is the actual interface that you use to setup, update and configure the Open Mesh hardware. They have a nice feature that you can use your own branding, i.e. logo on the interface and hardware.

Now, the missing piece is some type of router/gateway/firewall to the Open Mesh gear. Also, if they can keep the interface on CloudTrax nice and minimal, while adding more features. I think they might be on to something here as for being considered a better option for the market. Not sure if they plan on being in the Enterprise space. But, right now they seem to be doing well in the SMB arena.

A simple little network.

I play Xbox a few times weekly and several weeks ago, a friend says “hey, I need to see all the stuff on my network”. So I asked what he currently had setup. Well, the cable modem had a couple network ports, that connected to other stuff and one port went to a “wireless router” that had some more network ports and those ports connected to other stuff.  Well hello double NAT.  Hi.  Usually something had to be power cycled for his Xbox to work better. Basically took about 15-20 minutes before each game session, as we’d have to figure out what the hell was not working. Sometimes voice chat would work then stop, just a bunch of odd stuff.

So I told him we need to get this fixed and a good test was with Open Mesh.  I had played around with Open Mesh, but really didn’t spend much time with them. But they came back on my radar after hearing Datto had acquired them.

Good thing about his house, it was already setup with CAT-5 all over the place. Each room had a network port. Good thing for newer construction. After doing a FaceTime call and seeing the main locations that needed good wireless, we decided on three zones.  Each zone would have an Access Point, mainly because of the house layout. Also, being a few states away I had to make this simple, plus I figured we could move Access Points around or add/remove if needed.

So yeah, this was an entirely calculated guessing game for a small wireless deployment. No scans to see what might be close by.  So yeah, we guessed.  Since we’re only using three Access Points, this makes the channel plan simple; 1, 6 and 11 on 2.4, and we did 40 wide on 5GHz staying in UNII-1 and 3.

So we picked two Open Mesh switches, model S8 and three OM5P-AC Access Points. One switch would go upstairs and one downstairs. The upstairs area, has the Xbox, Audio Receiver, TV and one Access Point.  Nice thing about the S8 switches, they have PoE support.

Another reason for picking the OM5P-AC was the physical size, it looks like a bar of soap. It does get a little warm to the touch, not a big deal, just don’t put a stack of papers on it. We had the equipment shipped to my office, I set everything up, made sure it powered on etc… left it on for a few days. After that, boxed it up and shipped it a few states away.

Hold on!  Why not just ship to the final destination? I thought Open Mesh is all cloud setup and controlled?

Stay tuned for Part 2….