North Walsham Public WiFi
North Walsham is an expanding market town situated in North Norfolk. The town council are implementing a regeneration project known as ‘Regenerate North Walsham’ in a bid to support this growing town. One of the main provisions of the project was to provide utilities which are fundamental to growth, this included town WiFi.
The aim was to provide a public WiFi system for North Walsham town centre. The town has a population of around 11,000.
Having implemented the town WiFi in Great Yarmouth, FreeClix were thrilled to put their previous learnings into practise and play a vital part in the Regenerate North Walsham project.
FreeClix knew that using certain WiFi frequencies(5Ghz) on a large scale could affect the WiFi quality, as it would likely cause large amounts of local interference. Therefore, our recommendation was to invest in 60Ghz radio links for the core network and keep 2.4Ghz frequencies for local WiFi access.
FreeClix recommended using a 60Ghz frequency for the following reasons:
- It is a full duplex radio that provides incredibly high speeds and is rated to a Gbit per second, just like fibre ethernet.
- It is highly directional.
- The signal is absorbed by oxygen in the air; therefore it is only capable of transmission over relatively short distances before the signal dissipates. This means there is little or no interference for the frequency.
Once the 60GHz frequency was confirmed, the next design step was to maintain a fully routed network rather than a single broadcast domain. If a network spans a large distance, as you add more devices the amount of broadcast traffic is increased. This is unnecessary, adds load, depletes capacity and makes the network inefficient. By operating a fully routed network, the amount of broadcast traffic can be kept locally to the nearest access point. This keeps the backbone of the network free of unnecessary traffic, increasing efficiency and overall speed.
At each access node, the wireless access point is centrally managed by a single controller based at the core of the network. This provides a single guest portal where public users can register and gain access to the internet. This image below displays the location of each access point. The location for each access point was carefully determined using Google Earth, every access point has to have a power source which is instrumental in planning where the access points are located.
Technical network design tip:
The 60HGz transmitter can connect multiple stations into separate networks, which provided FreeClix with the ability to run two independent sub nets and operate OSPF between all three nodes independently. (Between the 60GHz point to multipoint transmitter node three and the two subsequent receiving 60GHZ stations at nodes 4 and 5.) The bridge for the two networks was then linked to independent VLAN’s and handed back to the core router at node 3. This then prevented OSPF broadcast storm on the point to multi point 60GHz service.
A public WiFi guest portal has successfully been designed and installed throughout the centre of North Walsham. The project has only just begun but now the town has WiFi North Walsham are well on their way to reaching their aim of becoming one of the best places to live in the UK.
The following technology was used:
- 60Ghz Point to point and point to multi point wireless networks.
- 802.11 AB,G,N,AC (Standards for the wireless access points.)
- MikroTik CAPsMAN – wireless controller.
- Leased line access.
- MikroTik Gigabit PoE network router.
- FreeClix Social-I WiFi guest portal system.
FreeClix designs, builds and implement secure networks for a range of individuals and businesses. If you are looking to set up a network the contact us today.
If you are working on a project, we also offer a network consultancy service. Contact us to find out how we can help you achieve your networking goals.