CloudTrax Open-Mesh WiFi Cloud Network Meshing System
CloudTrax WiFi Network Management System & Open-Mesh Access Points
The CloudTrax system used in conjunction with Open-Mesh OM2P enabled WiFi access points allows the installation of WiFi networks with minimum cost and expertise from just a signal access point to an entire citywide WiFi network using a cloud based controller which can be accessed from a centralized dashboard. Designed to be ultra low cost with zero configuration it is ideal for both professional & non professional installers. The network can be set up to provide either free or paid for access or both free and paid for access. The system can be used for not for profit community networks or for profit networks, coffee shops, hotels, schools, hospitals, RV parks, offices, apartment buildings, residential networks and many more applications. Is it ideal for anyone wanting to start a WiFi business.
The Open-Mesh system was developed at MIT and is used to support over 40,000 WiFi networks including a citywide network in Belton Texas, The Fenmorem, a 205 unit apartment complex near Fenway Park & a community network in Peregian Beach Queensland, Australia.
The CloudTrax system includes splash pages and full Paypal integration.
Open-Mesh OM2P Router
The Open-Mesh OM2 routers/access points come pre installed with the Open-Mesh firmware to provide a plug & play system. The access points start from just $55 and provide very high performance compared to similar much more expensive WiFi equipment.
Even the best value units feature 400 MHz Atheros processors, 64Mb RAM, g/n Wireless bands, Self Healing Mesh, Cloud Control, Power over Ethernet Support, FCC, IC, CE, CTick Certificates, IOS/Android Monitoring Apps & Meshing Quality LED's
Open-Mesh offer three basic models
- OM2P - High Power, External Antenna Support, Up to 150Mbps
- OM2P LC - Low Cost, Internal Antenna, Up to 150Mbps
- OM2P HS - High Speed, Internal Antenna, Up to 300Mbps
Open-Mesh OM2P Router
Open-Mesh Access Point
As the name suggests the entire system is cloud controlled which means you can do everything (except physical installation of equipment) from a remote location with just an Internet browser, ideal for multiple site networks and remote troubleshooting.
The Cloudtrax Dashboard allows you edit your network, view real time usage, see the number of users online, view meshing speeds/latency, reboot units. You can also create and edit access vouchers and much more.
Cloudtrax Android App
- CloudTrax App
Monitor, edit and control your network right from your smartphone.
Public & Private SSID
The Cloudtrax system features two SSIDs, a public and private SSID. The public SSID can be left open or used for paid for access for customers or paying guests and the private SSID can be used as a staff network secured with a WPA password. Both can be enabled or disabled and are completely separate from each other.
When used in a hotel or similar setting the public SSID can be used to charge customers for WiFi access and the private SSID to connect staff and hotel systems. Both SSIDs can be controlled and monitored from the centralised Cloudtrax dashboard.
Self Healing Mesh
Each unit (known as a node) in the network connected directly to the Internet (DSL, cable, T1 or leased line etc) is a Gateway and then additional units can be added which only need to be powered become repeaters (also known as nodes) which extend the range of the network to create a self healing mesh. Theoretically there is no limit to the number of repeaters which can be added to each Gateway unit, however if more than five repeaters are added to each Gateway the performance of each unit will suffer. Multiple Gateways will increase the overall performance and resilience of the network. Each node should be able to connect to as many other nodes in the network. If one Gateway should fail the others will support the network.
As an example, in an apartment building, one Gateway should be placed centrally on each floor and a repeater should be placed in each apartment on that floor. The quality and link speed will be reduced for every walls and floor the signal must pass through, especially if they are made of concrete. When planning the installation of the network in a building special attention should be made to ensure to minimise the number of stone/concrete and metal obstructions the signal must pass through.
In an outdoor setting you could have your Gateway unit mounted on the roof of a building in the center of the area you wish to cover. Then place repeater units on the roofs of nearby buildings, ideally so there are no obstructions between each unit.
One other useful feature is a 'site survey', each node in the network will scan for other nearby WiFi networks and give you each networks's name/SSID, MAC Address and channel. This can be very useful if you want to find a less congested channel for your network to improve performance.
Also, if you notice a densely populated area but with few WiFi networks it could indicate that there are potentially more people in that area who might become customers and by adding more units to that area could gain more revenue.
Open-Mesh HS 802.11g/nHigh Speed Router
Power Over Ethernet (PoE)
Power Over Ethernet (PoE) sends both data and electricity to power the Open-Mesh router along a single normal Ethernet cable. The maximum length of the Ethernet cable using PoE is 300 feet which means a router can be installed in a location up to 300 feet from a power source. And as there is only 12v-18v of power being sent over the cable PoE can be installed by non qualified electricians.
Open-Mesh OM2P-HS High Speed AP
Open-Mesh OM2P-HS - Up to 300Mbps, Dual internal antenna, 520 MHz Atheros AR9341 Processor & 64MB DRAM
How To Set Up and Install a CloudTrax Network
Open-Mesh Firmware Support for Other Devices
Another major advantage of the Cloudtrax/Open-Mesh system is that the Open-Mesh firmware can be installed, in general on any device which uses an Atheros based chipset and the Redboot bootloader. This includes Engenius, Ubiquiti, D-Link, FON/La Fonera and many other professional WiFi equipment brands. This is ideal if you already have equipment installed as you don't need to buy new equipment & it can be re-flashed from the ground via the Ethernet cable without the need for a cherry picker or access to roof space.
This was extremely useful for me as I had started building a WiFi network using a billing partner on a revenue share basis so when I started if I didn't make anything it didn't cost me anything. But then the company merged with another company and their policy changed to a monthly fee basis ($200 for 10 units) with no revenue share. The monthly fee together with the cost of two Internet connections ($250 per month) was much higher than the revenue generated from subscriptions.
My only option was to pay the monthly fee and lose money, go with another billing partner and buy and reinstall new equipment at great expense or close the business.
Then I discovered the CloudTrax system, I could just install the Open-Mesh firmware on my existing installed equipment, keep 100% of the revenue from subscriptions and purchase the same equipment at a fraction of the price. I really love this system, its ease of use, zero cost and support from the forums/developers.
Popular CloudTrax / Open-Mesh Supported Devices
Below I will list a few popular supported devices, as you can see you can buy new equipment for less than $100 and get used equipment for around $50 per unit. Ideal for small community networks with minimal funding.
This Video Shows You How To Install Open-Mesh Firmware On a Cloudtrax Supported Device
Had You Heard of the CloudTrax System Before?
How To Build a City Wide WiFi Network
If you found this interesting you might want to read my guide on creating a City Wide WiFi network here.