Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Technology I Use: Open-Mesh

A little over 6 years ago I was hired as the youth pastor at Grace Fellowship.  We were a small staff, with even smaller offices (yes, that is possible).  Being the youngest on staff and a tech junkie, one of my first orders of business was to put a wireless router in our office (yes, also possible to not have one in 2006).

Since 2006 our church has grown tremendously.  We've built an addition on to our building.  Built adequate administrative offices, and continued to grow in how our technology is used each week.

But when we moved into our building we wanted wireless throughout our 11,000 sq. ft. building.  So I put multiple residential wireless routers around the building.  Some with no password security for out people, and some with it - allowing for secure access to our database and system by only our people.  But in doing so we had 5 different wireless networks in our building - mass confusion for our people (and me).

I wanted a solution like at large venues, but didn't have a clue how to do it.  So with a little research I found out that that kind of system was EXPENSIVE!

Enter Open-Mesh.  An extremely low cost, robust, cloud-controlled wireless system for our building.  And it's scalable for about any size of building you can imagine (it's designed for hotels and apartment buildings).  Now we have only 2 wireless networks in the building - one open, and one secured.  I can track usage and see if there is an outage on my iPhone.  I can limit bandwidth per user.  I can place a sign-in page once someone connects.  And, at only $80 per router/repeater, it's very handy!