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Wireless Workgroup Bridge

Posted on 2013-01-31
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Last Modified: 2013-02-01
Ok guys I have a quick one for you. I have a client that is looking at needing some wireless bridges for their welding machines on the plant floor.  We are running a Cisco Wireless network with a 2504 Controller.

I don't do bridges that often and I have not done one for this situation in an industrial setting.  Basically the machines have Ethernet ports.

I was looking at the Aironet 350 but they are EOL.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Regards,

Tucker
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Question by:Neadom Tucker
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Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 38842326
Whether they're spot, wire or rolling-wheel seam welders, you could have massive interference present. We always ran cat5 to the welders... put another divider in the tray or use beam clamps and bridle rings to get the network cables away from the feeders and control wiring.

I suggest doing a site survey with a spectrum analyzer, while the welders are cycling.
 
If you don't have one, the Wi-Spy DBx from metageek (see http://www.metageek.net/products/wi-spy/) can check both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. All you should need for site surveys is the basic Chanalyzer.

Standalone full bandwidth spectrum analyzers start at about $4,000 and go up from there.  The metageek units look at only specific bands, plus leverage the CPU and display on a laptop to drastically lower the cost.
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Author Comment

by:Neadom Tucker
ID: 38844037
Thanks for that!  I was not sure if the increased power from the welders would send off any EMF that would distort the wireless.  Still need a possible solution for a wireless bridge.
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Darr247 earned 500 total points
ID: 38845497
In that environment, without a 'live' site survey, I can't really recommend ANYthing, because I don't know that anything in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands will work at all.

If you can't do site survey with a spectrum analyzer, at least make a temporary ethernet run and setup an inexpensive dual-band router like a Buffalo WZR-600DHP, then walk around with a laptop using a dual-band adapter and while the welders are running, see how the connection acts, say with a ping -t google.com... see how response time varies, or if you're totally losing packets when the welders fire. Absolutely when you see 3'' thick cables warping apart from each other during the weld, or water-cooled integrated 'kickless' cables jumping around when the sparks fly, there is definitely massive EMF... but whether it gets up into 2400 MHz or 5600-5900 MHz, you can't really know that without empirical evidence.

Once you see if any or what bands are unaffected, then you can look at the budget and decide which Cisco APs to buy, or if they can only afford some Linksys units running DD-WRT Professional mounted in some powered enclosures, a couple D-Link DAP-2360 APs, Ubiquiti Nanostations, or even another Buffalo (those can bridge with stock firmware OR they can run DD-WRT... but I would mount those in enclosures, too).
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Author Closing Comment

by:Neadom Tucker
ID: 38846063
Thanks for your help!!
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