Inveneo Wireless Networking Archives

Building Haiti Back Better with Unifi

  1. Posted by Inveneo on July 31, 2012 in the categories: News, Projects, Relief

Late in 2011, Inveneo partnered with Green WiFi and the Illinois Institute of Technology to bring WiFi to a semi-rural school in Lascahobas, Haiti. The team wanted to use the most effective technology but was concerned with the hassles in setting up a shared, wireless WiFi network, which include:

  • The need to change passwords frequently (which take extra steps and time)
  • The inability to automatically add MAC addresses onto systems
  • Users unable to seamlessly roam from one access point (AP) to the next
  • Administrators unable to manage all the APs from one location
  • The need for multitude of cables and AC power outlets for all those Aps

Installing a Unifi access point

Inveneo learned of Ubiquiti Unifi, a WiFi system combining carrier class performance, unlimited scalability, and a virtual management controller all at disruptively low pricing. Inveneo wanted to test it and soon installed Unifi devices at mission*social, a shared workspace in California.

The results came in and Inveneo realized that it was stable and usable. Also, users were able to roam through the space and seamlessly connect from one access point to another without disruption. After Inveneo knew that it worked and was excited about the results, the next step was to install Unifi in Haiti.

At the Haitian school École Fondamentale d’Application Centre d’Appui Pédagogique (EFACAP), Unifi was installed by a partner team of Green WiFi, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Inveneo to ensure that students would have Internet. The Internet backhaul was created by establishing a long-distance link that connected the EFACAP school to a communications tower located in the nearby town, Lascahobas.

Bruce Baikie, Senior Director of Inveneo and President of Green WiFi, provided technical advice to the team throughout the process. Additionally, classes were provided for local technicians to ensure the WiFi connection would have local support and long-term maintenance. With the successful Unifi installation, the school’s 400 laptops can give students access to online educational resources.

Inveneo is now a Ubiquiti Authorized Training Partner

  1. Posted by Inveneo on June 14, 2012 in the categories: News

Inveneo has a history of utilizing Ubiquiti products in our broadband deployments, and many Ubiquiti products are Inveneo Certified Solutions.

Now Inveneo is proud to announce that we are a Ubiquiti Authorized Training Partner and Jen Overgaag, our Senior Project Engineer, is a Ubiquiti Certified Trainer. On March 19-21, Jen traveled to Ubiquiti’s headquarters in Chicago, IL, to complete the first Ubiquiti Training Academy course – Ubiquiti airMAX Certification (UAC). Jen says:

“The Ubiquiti Certified Trainer course was an outstanding experience. The instructors Jamie, Salvador, and Matt were incredibly knowledgeable, adapted to the needs of a very diverse class, and created an environment where trainees could share their professional successes and challenges to learn from each other. I’m now armed with all the tools I need to be an effective trainer, and look forward to training our partners on networking with Ubiquiti solutions.”

As a Ubiquiti Certified Trainer, Jen joined the Ubiquiti training community and will bring enhanced skills-transfer techniques to Inveneo deployments around the world, increasing the capacity of our local ICIP partners and the ICT ecosystems in which they work.

Congratulations to Al Bireh Youth Foundation

  1. Posted by Inveneo on November 11, 2011 in the categories: Education, News, Projects

Congratulations to Al Bireh Youth Foundation – one of 30 youth centers now connected with high-speed broadband! The club members can now get access to the internet, hold multi-club video and voice conferences, upload HD videos or other content to their shared central server, or create their own web content in Arabic or English.

Inveneo is excited to announce that the Al Bireh Youth Foundation’s Development Resouce Center (YDRC) is now part of the the YDRC Virtual Private Network (VPN), a modern, high bandwidth virtual private network deployed to 30 youth clubs in the West Bank through a project implemented by RUWWAD, Inveneo, and BCI.

Ruwwad is a Palestinian Youth Empowerment program led by the Education Development Center, Inc (EDC) and funded by USAID. Inveneo worked with RUWWAD to design the network based on the Youth Club’s needs. BCI is the Palestinian networking firm selected to build and operate the network and to train the YDRC’s IT staff to manage the network themselves.

This project is the first of a series of projects where Inveneo is working to deliver high speed broadband to youth centers and schools across the West Bank. Our involvement in this effort began over two years ago when Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility team invited Inveneo to assess how best to deliver faster and more cost-effective broadband to under-served areas in the West Bank. Cisco is continuing support for Inveneo’s work across the West Bank.

Pictured above is Omar Dahman, one of the IT administrators of the RUWWAD VPN: the high band-width private network that will soon link together all the youth clubs in the West Bank together. Omar is plugging in the short patch cable that brings the 30+ computers online at the Ramallah Al Bireh Youth Development Resource Center (YDRC) with at what is, for them, blazingly fast speed.

The eyes of the watching staff and club members went wide when an Internet speed test measured actual speeds much faster than the 10 Mbps dedicated, symmetric connection the clubs will ultimately share. This high speed access is now available among all the clubs and can also be accessed wirelessly throughout the YDRC in the media labs, business incubators, training rooms, and “robot room” equipped with tools like LEGO® Mindstorms robotics kits.

Omar and all of our teams are excited to connect West Bank youth at a very important time for the Middle East.

Spreading Goodwill Through In-Kind Donations

  1. Posted by Inveneo on February 18, 2010 in the categories: News, Relief

In our five years of work, Inveneo has had one very specific guiding principle: employ quality, appropriate technology in the developing world. Whether it be ruggedized computers and other low-power solutions for challenging environments, we’ve always espoused the benefits of new, relevant equipment for use in the field. Haiti has proved no different.

Help during the immediate response

In their hasty last-minute preparations to send engineers to Port-au-Prince in the aftermath of the January 12th earthquake, Inveneo staff gathered the Ubiquiti networking equipment that has served us so well in rural deployments in 23 other countries, thereby depleting our cache of reserves and backup stock.

Luckily, Ubiquiti Networks management generously donated, piece-for-piece, replacements for these antennae, radios and other gear as our long-distance WiFi network for NGO use extends to 18 nodes and looks to be operational through March 2010.


ICT deployment takes teamwork

Yet we’ve also improvised new solutions just for Haiti. When we realized that building antenna stands from locally available supplies – our usual practice – wouldn’t work in post-earthquake Haiti, Guitar Center gave us a great discount on 30 speaker stands. The stands are now supporting multiple Ubiquiti antennas in Port-au-Prince.

Also of great use to the Inveneo engineering team was a network of transporters and other logistics experts. Looking at 3/4 ton of freight for this first round of Haitian connectivity installations was daunting, to say the least.

But United Airlines and Airline Ambassadors came through with generous space and transit donations for our engineers and gear, meaning that Inveneo was able to develop the Port-au-Prince-based wireless network at only minimal cost to us!

(As mentioned in earlier blog posts, additional expenses were generously covered by both NetHope, whose consortium of humanitarian organizations was the primary recipient of the WiFi network, and by the EKTA Foundation as well as individual donors.)

Supporting ongoing efforts

For our second shipment of networking equipment to Haiti, the logistics ecosystem had already broadened and we received gracious in-kind donations from Novo Express (carting our gear from Inveneo HQ to San Francisco International Airport) JetBlue (flying our pallets of equipment to South Florida) and Flightstar Trading LLC, which covered the last leg, transporting the goods from Miami to Port-au-Prince, where our engineers were ready and eager to make use of the new equipment.

We may know technology, and we may also be good at importing equipment into hard-to-reach places, but we also know when to accept a hand from folks who do it even better! Thanks to Ubiquiti, Guitar Center, United, Airline Ambassadors, Novo, JetBlue, Flightstar and everyone else, without whom we would not have been able to make nearly the impact that we did in Haiti.

Just as the standard Inveneo deployment model employs a collaborative structure of client, ICIP, funder and Inveneo, we’re finding that emergency projects such as in Haiti also require a heightened level of teamwork.