There are two things Levi Angst likes about service contracts: “The recurring revenue from service contracts is paramount to our business model,” says the owner of Lebanon, MO-based integrator Bailey’s. “But just as important is being on the client’s speed dial. It means that I’m the first call the clients make when they need anything. And that just means more opportunities.”
This was the case when Angst got a call from one of his customers for whom he’d installed several flat screen televisions, sound bars, and other streaming devices for enjoying their subscriptions to DirecTV, Amazon, and Netflix, as well as the over-the-air television channels they were able to receive. The reason for the call: poor performance. All the televisions were operating wirelessly, and it wasn’t working well.
“Poor WiFi strength has become an increasingly common complaint by homeowners today,” says Angst. “I know it’s one that we’re hearing frequently.”
Many problems, according to Angst, stem from trying to use off-the-shelf routers or cable company products that are not designed to meet the increasing number of content streaming demands being placed them with today’s home entertainment and automation technologies. It has caused he and his team to expand their technical expertise.
“The movement of AV and other home systems to digital platforms has made it necessary for us as installers to become proficient in what used to be the domain of IT professionals,” he says.
In the case of this customer, the WiFi was being delivered using an off-the-shelf wireless router. It had been in place for a couple of years, but was inadequate in covering the entire 5000-square-foot home with its ten 1080p and 4K televisions, as well as an assortment of other wireless devices.
After conferring with his client, Angst understood that running cables to all the televisions was a non-starter. The home was completely finished on all three levels, and installing any wiring would have been time-consuming and disruptive. A better solution was required.
Angst decided that the best alternative was to install a new “mesh” WiFi network that had the capacity and range to serve the entire home.
After considering their options, they chose an Araknis AN-300, Araknis AN-310 switch, and a Wattbox WB-300-IP-3 IP controlled power conditioner for the wired side of the network. They would then install one cloud-managed Open Mesh A60 access point to the router, with three additional A60s placed strategically throughout the home in their repeater mode to deliver WiFi throughout the residence.
While having used the Araknis products before, Angst had recently been introduced to Open Mesh’s access points by a local distributor. Curious, he had his team participate in a training webinar that included an overview of Open Mesh’s cloud-management platform, CloudTrax, which would allow them to monitor and manage the access points from their office should there be any issues. From there, the team tested an A40 access point.
Related: We ask a sampling of network technology leaders how they make their systems secure.
Having put their test unit through its paces and becoming more familiar with CloudTrax, and given the parameters of this installation, Angst and his team felt Open Mesh’s A60 model would be a solid choice.
According to Angst, they chose Open Mesh for several reasons:
- The access points were compatible with a wide selection of routers and switches
- The access points were budget friendly
- They could be installed quickly, and their repeater mode eliminated the need for running cables
- They had a track record of reliability
- The CloudTrax management platform
“The CloudTrax platform was a natural fit for us, and it proved its value immediately,” he says. “We used it to easily manage a post-installation issue from our office.”
Going into the job, the Bailey’s team did have had some general concerns regarding throughput, but those proved fleeting. The installation of the router, switch, and three access points was completed without any issues in one day. A fourth access point was added shortly thereafter to ensure total coverage of the home.
In the end, the success of any job depends on the customer’s satisfaction, and given his customer’s complete satisfaction with the streaming quality and dependability, Levi Angst is pleased to call this job a complete success.
For more on Open Mesh, visit www.openmesh.com.