Wi-Fi Location Monitor leverage a set of Wi-Fi access points that need to be deployed in the area to monitor. The nodes are programmed to detect Wi-Fi signals transmitted by nearby Wi-Fi devices and report this information to the Accuware server. To ensure proper communication with the Accuware server at least 1 of the nodes needs to be connected to the Internet using an Ethernet cable. This node will be the gateway of the system. All the other nodes not connected directly to an Ethernet cable will be the repeaters.

Compatible nodes

Accuware Wi-Fi Location Monitor makes use of the Open Mesh Wi-Fi access points (nodes) that run our proprietary Accuware firmware. The Open Mesh infrastructure deployed in order to run the the Accuware services is separate from any other Wi-Fi infrastructure you may have in your environment.

We have chosen to rely on the Open Mesh routers for multiple reasons:

  • They are inexpensive, reliable and very easy to configure
  • They can be managed using a powerful cloud dashboard
  • They work on a mesh network and this means that you do not have to connect each one of the nodes to the Internet using Ethernet cables
  • They are FCC, IC, CE, RCM (CTick) certified devices that can be used to provide the Internet connectivity as well.

All the technical specifics regarding the Open Mesh nodes can be found in this page

At present the Accuware services can be used with the following models of Open Mesh Wi-Fi nodes:

  • the OM2P (with external antenna)
  • the OM2P-HS
  • the OM2P-LC, OM1P and MR600 (discontinued)

Currently the Accuware firmware is not compatible with the OM5P-AC, MR1750.

Accuracy of the locations: the accuracy of the location estimated by Wi-Fi location Monitor is not a function of the Open Mesh model chosen.

Compatibility with other type of Wi-Fi access points: in the past we have ported our Accuware firmware on a number of different access points on various architectures, but not all the access points are compatible with our firmware.

Please submit a support request using this form and send us the exact model of a particular Wi-Fi access point so we can take a look at it and see if it is compatible with our firmware. Anyway please keep in mind that:

  • we might consider to port our firmware on a new model of access point only if there is a considerable number of such access points already installed or planned to be installed
  • the cost of the porting efforts and engineering can be significant because that is not a work that we routinely do
  • you might be able to take advantage of a wireless mesh network and this means that each one of the installed access points will need to be connected to the Internet through an Ethernet cable to communicate with our cloud server and to download the Accuware firmware.

Purchase the nodes

The Open Mesh nodes (OM2P or OM2P-HS) can be purchased from us using this form.

Mixing together different models of nodes: different types of nodes are able to mesh together and to provide the Internet connectivity to Wi-Fi devices detected. Despite this, different types of nodes could not work with some Accuware services when mixed together. In particular:

  • when using Accuware Wi-Fi Location Monitor: you can not mix different types of nodes in the same site.
  • when using Accuware Analyticsyou can mix different types of nodes in the same site.

Electricity

Power supplies: can be ordered directly from Open Mesh during the purchase of the nodes. It may sound obvious but please remember to choose the power supplies that meet the electricity standard of the country where the nodes will be installed (otherwise you may damage your nodes).

Battery packs: it is possible to use any battery packs to provide electricity to the nodes. The battery packs need to meet these requirements:

  • Voltage: 12 – 18 Volt
  • Current: >= 1 Ampere
  • DC plugin: 5.5/2.1 mm

PoE (Power over Ethernet): if you want to use PoE (an Ethernet cable that provides data connection AND electricity) you can do so. In this case you need to read carefully this article.

Wall, ceiling and weather resistant enclosures

Open Mesh makes available weather resistant and wall/ceiling enclosures for a proper installation of the nodes indoor and outdoor. You can find them in this page.

Detection radius of the nodes

The detection range depends from these factors:

  • Model of the node – different models of Open Mesh nodes have different detection radius:
    • OM2P (with external antennas): up to 150 feet indoor (45 meters), up to 600 feet outdoor (182 meters)
    • OM2P-HS: up to 150 feet indoor (45 meters), up to 600 feet outdoor (182 meters)
  • Physical location of the node.

Accuware Analytics: the data collected by Accuware Analytics are influenced also by the Node Sensitivity setting that can be found under the Advanced tab of the Accuware Analytics dashboard.

Meaning of the LED lights on the nodes

You can find detailed information about the meaning of the LED lights of the nodes inside this article.

The Internet connection used by the Open Mesh nodes

Some of the Open Mesh must be must be connected to a DSL router, modem, or network switch using an Ethernet cable plugged into the Ethernet port located on the back of the node (using the socket next to the PoE socket) in order to act as gateway nodes. If you can’t provide Internet connection to these nodes using an Ethernet cable, there are different alternatives that you could take into consideration:

  • If you can not connect your node to your LAN through an Ethernet cable but you are allowed to connect to an existing Wi-Fi network , then you can buy a Wi-Fi range extender in order to convert the existing Wi-Fi network into a wired one through an Ethernet port (RJ45 port).  At this link you can find some examples.
  • If you can not even connect your node to an existing Wi-Fi network then you can buy a portable router in order to share a 3G/4G/LTE Internet connection through an Ethernet port (RJ45 port).  At this link you can find some examples. Before purchasing we suggest to double-check with the seller if the SIM data connection can be shared through the Ethernet port.

In the future, we might be able to provide Internet connection to the Open Mesh nodes using an existing Wi-Fi network in the same area. If

If the Internet connection used by the Open Mesh nodes is behind a firewall, then you have to check if ports 53/tcp (DNS), 80/tcp (HTTP) and 443/tcp (HTTPS) are open on the firewall and if the following domains are accessible:

  • its.accuware.com
  • s3.amazonaws.com
  • www.cloudtrax.com
  • downloads.openwrt.org

As a general rule, you have to make sure that the Ethernet cable used by the Open Mesh nodes provide a valid Internet connection. This can be easily tested by connecting a laptop to the Ethernet cable and by checking if you are able to access the domains listed above.

Bandwidth used by the nodes

The Open Mesh infrastructure is mostly passive. The amount of traffic generated is very low and proportional to the amount of Wi-Fi devices detected in the environment. Each Open Mesh node typically transmits on average about 0.7 MB/hour (assuming that the Open Mesh node is detecting 40 Wi-Fi devices constantly every 5 seconds). It is clear that the traffic produced by the Open Mesh network has negligible impact on the bandwidth and on the channel capacity, especially at 802.11 n speed.

The Internet connection provided (optionally) by the Open Mesh nodes

The main purpose of the Open Mesh nodes is to run the Accuware firmware. In parallel, while detecting all the Wi-Fi enabled devices, the Open Mesh nodes can be used to provide the Internet connection (at this link you can find some examples of success stories). Anyway you need to be aware that, since the network traffic is routed between nodes, it could be that the bandwidth will not be super high, especially when the Open Mesh network has many repeaters (nodes connected only to the electricity) and only few gateways (nodes connected directly to a network router). This means that:

  • for medium-light tasks (e.g instant messaging, email, Web browsing, social apps etc..) – there won’t be problem in providing Internet connectivity using the same Open Mesh nodes that are used to run the data collection of the Accuware firmware.
  • for heavy tasks (e.g. multimedia streaming, video chat etc..) – some tests on field should be carried out in order to make sure the data collection of the Accuware firmware is not affected by the fact that the Open Mesh nodes are used to provide Internet connectivity.

The SSIDs of the Open Mesh network are NOT visible even if they are active inside the Cloudtrax dashboard: if you are not able to see the SSID of your Open Mesh network even if the SSIDs are active inside the Cloudtrax dashboard, it means that your Open Mesh nodes are running a special version of the Accuware firmware that blocks completely the transmission of the SSID (to lower the noise on the Wi-Fi channel used by the Open Mesh network). If you need to activate the SSIDs in order to provide Internet connectivity please submit a support request using this form and we can push the regular version of the Accuware firmware on your Open Mesh nodes within 24 hours.

Interference with other Wi-Fi networks

The Open Mesh nodes used by the Accuware products are FCC, IC, CE, RCM (CTick) certified Wi-Fi access points that operate in accordance to the IEEE 802.11 protocol. In particular the OM2P serie:

  • does not interfere with the 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks because the OM2P nodes use only the 2.4 GHz frequencies.
  • does not interfere with Wi-Fi networks that use channels that don’t overlap with the channel used by the Open Mesh network (the one that can be chosen inside the Cloudtrax dashboard). Example:  if an existing Wi-Fi network uses the channels from 1 to 6 and the Open Mesh network is set to work on channel 11, there will be no interference between the existing Wi-Fi network and the Open Mesh network.
  • interferes very little with other networks that share the same 2.4 GHz channel. The interference is minimal because the Open Mesh infrastructure is mostly passive (the amount of data exchanged between the nodes is really negligible as explained in the next paragraph). The interference can be:
    • lowered – by connecting as many nodes as possible to Ethernet cables lowering the amount of packets sent over the air between the Open Mesh nodes.
    • eliminated – by connecting all the Open Mesh nodes to Ethernet cables.

Wi-Fi channels and detection frequency: the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi channel of the Open Mesh network should be set taking into account the important information inside the paragraph “Wi-Fi devices NOT running a custom App” of this page.