Hi to all my friends and family. As many of you know, Julie and I will be headed to Liberia, Africa in a little while and some of you have been asking for me to run a blog. Well, here it is. I have had this site as my experimental website where I play with new tools and so I thought “hey, use this!’
So let’s start with some basic geography, Africa is a big continent, really very big and has many, many countries and they change frequently enough (South Sudan is the most recent new country) so it is no surprise if you don’t know where Liberia is. The map insert here shows Liberia is on the western coastline of Africa. The red dot on the map is the capital, Monrovia.
OK – now let’s get a little closer in…. The university is in the capital city of Monrovia. A little bit mroe of a zoom and you can see the eventual target for our work, the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine.
You can see it is right on the ocean. A few miles from the center of town and also a few miles from the main campus for the University of Liberia. One of the first challenges I was presented with was a desire to link three buildings together on the campus. The original UMass Medical School people suggested we run fiber optic cable but I had no idea how we could accomplish that. Were there existing telephone/electrical poles? How far apart were the buildings. I turned to Google Earth to find the school and see if I could determine anything helpful.
The annotated image below shows each of the three buildings but not a whole lot more except one very important thing, there are no other buildings in between them! That’s where I decided to use something different. I had experience on Guam installing the first Wifi on the island years (OK decades) ago. We used Wifi mounted in a weatherproof box we built to connect two buildings together. Fortunately wifi has come a long way. Now there are weatherproof, off the shelf external wifi systems. I picked a unit (actually there will be 4) that has a capability of sending signals (encrypted!) up to 1.5 miles and even handles trees pretty well. They are PoE (power over Ethernet) so I wont have to run power cables up to the roof mountings. The buildings are all less than 500 feet apart.
Well, that’s all for this update. I hope you enjoyed it!