After the owner of a rebuilt multimillion-dollar home in the Royal Palm community in Boca Raton, Fla. conducted what he described to TYM Home Theaters and Smart Homes President Matt Montgomery as a “scholarly level of research” on home integration and networking technology, he tasked the Utah-based integrator with that technology’s execution.
The home includes a USAI lighting system that entailed the installation of more than 200 fixtures, explains Matt Montgomery, with full color and temperature control for every light in the home, which the client desired for the wellness benefits.
“Outside of the lighting, the network was the most significant piece of the puzzle,” Montgomery continued. “The home network on this project included a staggering amount of technology per square foot,” echoed Brad Montgomery, TYM’s marketing/creative director. “Additionally, there were numerous structural challenges with this home, due to the fact of its cement structure and that it was built to be hurricane-resistant.” Matt Montgomery pointed to that very same set of home characteristics – hurricane-proof glass and concrete flooring, which can affect Wi-Fi layout. But the project was still at an early enough stage that these issues could be addressed – with the right strategy.
Matt relates that a different network solution had been selected for the client’s Aspen home the year earlier, but that it was apparent that “the Boca home would need a superior network design and deployment. We had three objectives: rock-solid Wi-Fi; network design to support the enormous amount of devices on the network; and follow-up support to assist the client with ongoing network needs.”
So TYM tapped into the expertise of the folks at Access Networks. “We reasoned that Access Networks could provide us with the type of concierge-level service that was needed for a project of this scope,” Brad Montgomery said. “We had already prewired the home, but Access assured us they could work with us to smooth out the Wi-Fi design and improve our network design.”
Robert Krueger, Access Networks’ network design engineer, outlines some of the challenges: “This was an interesting design request, as it had a lot of requirements from a network perspective. The network needed to handle lots of wireless clients and the construction materials were not in our favor. Florida-based projects usually have storm doors and hurricane-resistant windows which don’t really play well with wireless signals, so placement is key. Greg [Montgomery, TYM’s VP, technical operations] was able to provide pictures of the structure, giving us eyes onsite to help us locate where the APs should be placed. There was excellent back and forth between us and TYM.”
Bryce Nordstrand, chief sales officer at Access Networks, explains more of the process of collaboration, and how his team and TYM’s, together, moved the install forward.
“Much of our original focus was on educating the team at TYM on how to design and deploy an enterprise grade network into a residential application,” he says. “We also assisted with a live design conversation, documentation, access point placement and deployment best practices. Multiple teams within our Client Services group were involved from sales process to order fulfillment.” He is laudatory about the amount of close communication among all parties involved. “Because TYM had made a decision late in the game to take an existing project and flip the quoted network solution into a more robust solution from Access Networks, many people from both companies had to commit to meeting timelines and then execute based on those commitments. This was a tightly choreographed project for all involved and could not have been accomplished without all involved believing in the common goal and creating a high level of satisfaction for TYM’s client.”
Overview of the Solutions
Access Networks worked with TYM’s team to redesign the Wi-Fi layout, Matt Montgomery said, and to deploy a custom-designed Layer 3 network with the over-200 network devices, along with an enterprise-grade firewall and 24/7 pro-active remote support. “One of the major concerns for us was partnering with a team that could help us give support to the client remotely, after we left,” he added. “The first day the system was deployed, we maxed out the DHCP reservation on the network. True to Access Networks’ marketing, they were on the phone with our team immediately, opening up more IP addresses and helping us service the network for our client. They had the system back up and running, and they did it at a moment’s notice. When you’re in the field, that’s when the marketing hype sometimes falls down. But, true to their marketing, their guys were on it…
“They went over and above our expectations, testing Wi-Fi signal strength remotely as well as the health of the network, and regularly checking in with our lead programmer to verify the network was running smoothly” – and to make minor tweaks as the USAI Lighting and Savant system came online.
“Our team’s immediate reaction at deployment was that they never could have pulled off this job without Access Networks in our back pocket. Knowing they’re there for our client 24/7 gives both us and our client great confidence,” he said.
“Most importantly, says Matt Montgomery, “the client has been thrilled with his network. We expect in short order he’ll be revamping his Aspen home’s network. I can’t imagine doing a home of any complexity, or where the network is mission critical, without utilizing Access Networks’ services. They were very much a partner on this job and saved the day more than a few times.”