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The McAllen Creative Incubator Gets a Wi-Fi Overhaul from Frontera

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Where the old library once thrived is now the McAllen Creative Incubator, a facility that encourages creativity in the arts and hosts art studios & schools, music schools, a local LPFM station, and open space for people to come and be as creative as they wish.

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There’s always something fascinating going on with the incubator, but up until recently they’ve had Wi-Fi running off of a hacked version of a Netgear wireless router running DD–WRT. With 18 different offices inside this building and about 30 or 40 people there, teaching classes to 20 to 100 children at any given time, I felt like it was a pretty important initiative to get some new wireless connectivity in that building.

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When you’re trying to teach children and teenagers how to be as creative as they possibly can, the last thing you want to do is limit their capability to do things like get online and access rich content on the web.

Frontera Consulting was hired by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce to engineer, design, and integrate a new Wi-Fi network for the Incubator. The wireless network needed to be robust, able to support hundreds of users, and provide a way for guests and visitors to jump online quickly and easily.

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We installed Ruckus Wireless 802.11n R300 and 802.11ac R700 products around the facility to serve the capacity and user-loading situations. We used 802.11n in the common areas, and 802.11ac in the specific meeting areas where there will be lots of client-to-client communication. Using this combination of access points keeps the costs down while providing reliable, speedy, and well balanced throughput. Ruckus’ patented beamforming and airtime fairness queing adds the ability to support hundreds of concurrent users across the network while providing reliable service on any device they bring on to the network.

One of the things that was asked of us when designing and installing this network by tenant Joe Martinez from KCYP, was the amount of capacity available so that he could start streaming live WebCams from his studio. They currently stream all of their audio over the Internet but now he wanted to be able to show the faces behind their broadcasts online, encouraging friends and family to tune in. We think this is a great opportunity to leverage the connectivity at the incubator, however it wouldn’t be possible unless there’s enough wireless connectivity to support these types of endeavors.

One of the key reasons we pushed AC into the meeting areas is because we are moving our CODE#RGV events over to this facility. CODE#RGV is a social hacking project where anyone who’s building something .. an app, a website, a database structure, something, anything .. is welcomed to come and look for help, donate their help, and contribute to larger group projects. We’ve outgrown our space at IMAS and look forward to bringing more nerds out of the woodwork, and the Incubator allows us the room, schedule, and central location for it. If you can imagine 30-50 geeks parked in front of laptops pushing and pulling a ton of data, that is CODE#RGV, and that’s why we need that 802.11ac capacity 🙂

For more information on how we can use 802.11ac to enhance your network, please fill out the form to the right!

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