The Fenmore is a 205-unit apartment complex located just steps from the home of the Boston Red Sox: Fenway Park. Built around 1912, The Fenmore originally boasted such amenities as an office staff who would receive packages or call one a carriage for a trip to the shops in Copley Square, maids who would change the linen, and a house-keeping service which would tidy up by using the latest in centralized vacuum systems.
But a century later, the residents were looking for a much more modern amenity: wireless Internet.
When Brendan Burroughs and his team at K&J Integrated Systems first explored installing a system, they were presented with a number of challenges. The biggest issue was the construction itself. Typical for the time period, the seven buildings that make up the Fenmore were built with brick and mortar, horsehair plaster and wire lathe, making the required cabling extremely difficult.
Burroughs said that he recommended Open Mesh to the condo association board for three reasons: “It’s easy to manage, easy to deploy, and it’s incredibly cost effective.” The board understood the value immediately.
After an initial site survey, Burroughs brought in three 50 Mbps business-class data lines, seven 24-port switches and 6,000 feet of shielded CAT5E cable. He used 83 Open Mesh single-band series access points, which were placed strategically throughout the property.
Burroughs found the network deployment and ensuing management easy thanks to Open Mesh’s free cloud-based network controller, Cloudtrax.
With Cloudtrax, he added each access point by simply clicking on a map and entering the device’s MAC address and name. From there, he could set bandwidth limits, control access with a community-wide password, and much more.
“The project was a huge success from the first day on,” said Burroughs. “Everyone at the Fenmore has cancelled their own broadband service and are now enjoying free wireless throughout the property."
Burroughs noted that the community is saving over $6,000 a month.
When issues do arise, Burroughs’ company provides Fenmore residents with remote support and network maintenance. But because each Open Mesh access point includes a hardware watchdog chip that resets each unit in the case of power bumps or outages, truck rolls are next to zero.
“The network is easy to maintain,” he said. “And when downed nodes do need to be replaced, it’s fast and the cost is very low.”
Burroughs said he has relied on Open Mesh for similar wifi systems in about three-dozen Boston-area condominium buildings.