VAR Works Wireless Wonders

Sanibel Moorings, a 122-suite, 16-building condominium complex on Sanibel Island, Fla., advertised wireless Internet to its guests. There was only one problem. Its existing infrastructure didn't work. So it called Entech Computer Services, a Fort Myers, Fla.-based VAR for help.

Entech arrived on site with no previous experience building a wireless mesh network. It enlisted the help of distributor Tech Data and wireless vendor Proxim to design a new solution for the client.

The first thing Entech technicians saw was a mess. Sanibel Moorings' existing wireless system was not only low-end equipment, but it was also piecemealed together amid empty soda cans and other garbage.

Entech, Tech Data and Proxim designed a wireless mesh network that would ensure consistent Internet access from virtually anywhere on the condo's premises. The price tag was $30,000, more than the client expected, but a necessary cost to satisfy the growing IT demand for the condo complex's guests.

Mike Goodell, a product sales champion in Tech Data's Wireless specialized business unit, helped monitor the project from Entech's Encontrol support center.

The mesh network's access points are located on the roofs of the complex's 16 buildings.

Here's a look at one of the Proxim AP-4000MR-LR access points, with direct connect Orinoco 2.4 and 5.8GHZ antennas.

Laura Monsrud, general manager at Sanibel Moorings, is finally able to connect to the Net anywhere on the complex's six acres. Other condo complexes in the Fort Myers/Sanibel Island area heard about the project and Entech has quotes out to at least five potential clients. Almost overnight, the solution provider became a wireless mesh network expert.