SHCC WYSIWYG Article from October 2012

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the October 2012 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Routers, Thermostats, and other Trivia

by Don VanSyckel

My wife and I own a condo 'up north', well not that far up. The condo is 30 minutes west of Mount Pleasant so you basically go to Bay City, turn left, and go due west. I've finally convinced our condo association to purchase internet. This would be like any business that provides internet to their customers.

I presented several solutions or options to the board. These options ranged from simple to deluxe. The simple solution was to put one wireless router on the cable modem positioned in a central location like you do at home. This has several disadvantages. First the obvious one is the radio signal might not reach the locations in the complex farthest from the router or be weak and not support full speed. Another disadvantage, to me anyway, is every time someone has a problem I would have to deal with it as administrator of the router. Of course we could let multiple people administer the router but this is a recipe for disaster or at least problems. Then there is the fact that everyone on the router can 'see' each other. I trust all the owners but from time to time some of the condos are rented and who knows who the renters are.

Because I don't feel like writing a small volume about the various other options, I'm going to jump to the deluxe solution. This solution places the cable modem and router out of the way in a central location with the router wireless turned off. Then from the router, switches is used to provide enough connections to run a cable to each condo, the units interconnect and this can be done. Then in each condo the owner can provide their own wireless router that they manage themselves. We can also limit the devices able to connect to the main router to the specific router in each condo. This prevents people from packet sniffing and some other hacking that I won't get into here. When any of the owners have company or renters, they can be told the code to get into that condos wireless and there is no exposure of the PCs in the other units.

There are also other advantages to this approach. The amount of administration on the main router by me goes to almost zero because the wireless (radio) will be turn off. No codes to share. No connecting to the wireless. If someone replaces their router, I'll have to enter the new information so the device can connect. Other than this I believe most issues will be fixed by rebooting or turning the power off and on.

I have wanted to get a thermostat that would allow remote control and reporting. When we had a phone at the condo I check out various thermostats and never found what I was looking for. I have found what I believe to be a network thermostat solution. There is no out of the box solution for this that I could find and I could write a small volume about networked thermostats. The deluxe wired solution above also allows me to connect the thermostat. People leave the setting too low in the summer and too high in the winter and I would be able to correct this. Then there's the case if no one is there for a while and the heat stops working, I want to know so I can arrange for a little human intervention before there's freeze damage.

This is not all in place yet, I am still collecting the pieces to put it all together. More when it's ll up and running.

End of Article

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