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Colgate installs Tropos mesh network but units aren't meshing

Colgate installs mesh network to support students who have 3 to 4 devices apiece, but technological hurdles abound.
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Colgate University in New York state is broadening its Wi-Fi horizons by launching a campus-wide outdoor network using Tropos Networks' MetroMesh equipment— but none of the units are meshing, reports Wi-Fi Planet

The university decided that it needed to expand its reach after a student survey found that students had as many as three to four IP-based devices—everything from PCs to game consoles to handheld devices used primarily for text messaging.

"We just wanted maximum throughput," says Rich Grant, the associate director of technology planning for the liberal arts school. "We have backhaul on all the Tropos access points. That's an unusual implementation, but we wanted to maximize the number of users. It wasn't about geographical area — we wanted to service a large volume [of users]."

"To be competitive, any campus needs to support some kind of Wi-Fi," says Grant. The network was installed for Colgate by Integral Wireless Solutions, an integrator based in Atlanta.

There have been some technological hurdles in implement in wider Wi-Fi system, however.

It was hoped that the Tropos hardware would provide a very strong signal strong, which worked fine on the lower part of campus where most of the buildings are wood-frame construction. The upper campus, however has stone buildings and needed interior APs. For that, Colgate turned to Cisco products supporting 802.11a/b/g.

The network is free to the college community of 2,750 undergraduates plus faculty and staff, plus it's open to visitors for Internet access.

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