Wi-Fi mesh makers are turning to Google Earth for an added birds-eye view of networks. Why? Mesh creators can use hardware and software from companies like Strix and SkyPilot to obtain location and operational data of network nodes, and create useful maps using Google Earth. DIY mesh builders go have some LBS fun. (Photos below the fold.)
Indian network operator LifeStyle Networks relied on Google Earth to plot and rollout a 20 square kilometer network for 500,000 residents in Mumbai using Strix hardware, according to Light Reading (LifeStyle plans to cover the rest of the city in 6 months). The company used Google Earth to decide where the radios should be placed so that the whole city could be covered with a signal, and then used GPS-based location data of the hardware to create an online network map over Google Earth.
The article says the company can feed info from Strix’s network management software into Google Earth to see the details of the connections of the nodes — if they’re live and if any radios are not operating correctly.
SkyPilot recently sent us an announcement of its SkyControl with Google Earth mapping service. The management system collects node data, like available GPS coordinate info and link states, and is used with Google Earth Pro to create maps and satellite images. The embedded GPS in the nodes automatically provides location info so mesh managers can find network problems like power outages. Check out the image, with the coverage area mapped in purple circles.
If you want a decidely more DIY approach, you can always use Google Maps to just input the location data of the hardware for community-based networks. Meraki uses Google Maps for its Dashboard network management tools. Update: Meraki also says it will offer a “see your network in Google Earth” feature in this week’s dashboard release, using the same data from Google Maps exported to Google Earth.