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Networks & Automation Part 1: Network Reliability

As readers of this blog have already learned, there are many components involved in building and designing a functioning Crestron control system. Proper power supply, clean installations, and well written code begin to build the foundation of our simple, intuitive and reliable automation systems. Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle however, is the reliability and security of the networking systems. In the past 15 years the internet has become one of the most dominating forces in our lives, and without properly built and managed network infrastructure, your Crestron automation system will always fail to live up to expectations.

GMI takes many steps to ensure that home and office networks are strong, secure and reliable. 

This starts with the physical design of the network itself. We utilize managed switches to segment out our system into multiple Virtual Local Area Networks, or VLAN’s. Each component of the networked system – core network, Crestron component network, user network, etc. – are designated their own individual VLANs. This allows each network to operate individually, without interference from the other segments for increased efficiency. Even though there will be many different system components broadcasting at a variety of levels, we take care to mold this network traffic so that end users only see and interact with the pieces they need.

Local WiFi systems are segmented in a similar fashion and different wifi network names will be associated with each individual VLAN. This infrastructure is built in such a way that nothing will change for the end user, they can even use the same wifi network they are used too, while maintaining the high level of encryption and efficiency needed to connect to and properly use their control systems.

Wi-fi systems, despite their ubiquity, are much more complicated than one would imagine. In order for a wi-fi signal to move properly through a connected ecosystem, while being powerful and dynamic enough to suit a user’s needs, it needs a certain level of intelligence. There is no way to predict the way people will move around a space, or the way the wifi will navigate the physical infrastructure of the home or office. In order to work with these unknown factors, we use a technology known as ChannelFly, a native program to Ruckus Wireless wifi systems and controllers. ChannelFly creates a minute by minute database that learns how the wi-fi environment acts as users begin to move and live throughout the home or office. As the system gains this knowledge, it constantly updates itself, providing seamless wi-fi signal and zero downtime for end users.

Designing wi-fi systems doesn’t stop with hardware and software. The Done Right Not Easy Crew utilize our tools and knowledge to interpret other people’s wireless technologies and understand what frequencies they run on and how they interact with our networking and control equipment. Understanding the language in which networks speak to one another allows us to properly consult clients by documenting the whole of the estate or office, applying this knowledge to build effective, secure and reliable wi-fi networks.

Of course, no network system is ever as simple as setting it up and walking away. This is where GMI’s concierge level service comes in. The compartmentalized VLAN’s and wi-fi networks are built to allow back-end access, which allows our team to step in and stop issues before they happen. We monitor and manage our systems throughout their lifespan in order to ensure network infrastructure is always running reliably and efficiently. This lets our clients live and work without the fear of losing network connectivity or dealing with network downtime.

Stay tuned for our part two of our Networks and Automation series, where we will review the steps we take to ensure our client’s  network and automation systems are secure from outside threats. 


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