CTS 061: Wi-Fi For The Non-Profit Community

Glenn Cate, guest hosts.

Glenn Cate, CWNE #181, is our special guest who has done many Wi-Fi projects for the non-profit community. He provides his experience and tips on giving back.

Wi-Fi has become an expected service throughout our communities.  From shopping malls to restaurants to businesses to airports to our homes, we just anticipate using Wi-Fi connections with our smart devices.  Yet, there are many organizations that give so much back to our communities that also need Wi-Fi:  free health clinics, community service centers, churches and religious organizations, schools and neighborhood centers.

The problem usually is not that Wi-Fi is not important, but that these non-profit organizations do not have the skilled resources or financial backing to install Wi-Fi services.  So many times, poorly designed Wi-Fi is installed or no Wi-Fi at all is present.  WLAN professionals can give back by providing their skill set in helping plan and deploy Wi-Fi for non-profit organizations that give so much to our communities.

Projects Glenn Cate has worked on:

  • Church (three buildings)
    • Six APs
    • Server closet
    • Five 24 port unmanaged switches
    • Ethernet pulling/punch down.
  • MS/HS/elementary school of 600+ students (four buildings plus small trailers)
    • Site survey
    • Vendor AP comparison
    • Pulled/punched down Ethernet cables
    • Deployed APs
    • Initial cloud configuration
    • Knowledge transfer.
  • Several churches
    • Consultation on Wi-Fi uplift and recommendations
  • Church(three buildings)
    • Site survey
    • Pulled/punched down Ethernet cables
    • Ethernet drops to offices
    • Security appliance configuration
    • AP installation
    • Fiber run to remote building
    • Post validation testing
    • Knowledge transfer.

In this episode, Glenn speaks about getting into the project management side of things including talking to directors, steering committees, and technical resources. A question Glenn answers is how do some of non-profits have the funds to pay for enterprise-grade equipment? You’ll be surprised.

One question I give to Glenn is what kind of obstacles does he run into while doing the installation? What if the work requires more than just your expertise and manpower?

Lastly, why does Glenn provide his expertise and services for free to non-profits? The reason why is important.

I hope you enjoy this interview with Glenn Cate. If you have any questions please submit a comment below. You can find Glenn Cate on Twitter and on his blog.

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About the Author
Rowell, CWNE #210, is a network engineer in Higher-Ed. He enjoys working with wireless networking technologies and loves to share and engage with the community. You can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

3 comments on CTS 061: Wi-Fi For The Non-Profit Community

  1. Joel Crane says:

    Excellent podcast, Rowell and Glenn! I’m in the middle of a non-profit deployment, so getting your thoughts about it is super helpful.

    In my experience so far, one of my recommendations is to try to get a key stakeholder meeting up front. I think it’s easy for them to think, “You’re the technical one, you just handle it”, when one of the most important steps is to find out what the users actually need from the network.

    If you don’t make it clear that a stakeholders meeting needs to happen up-front, it can be pretty difficult to make that happen later on. The nature of non-profits that I’ve worked with so far is they are pretty ad-hoc (organizationally, not *that* ad-hoc!), so normal business process and procedure isn’t exactly their thing. 🙂

    I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts about budgeting, and how to work around those issues. Again, great podcast!

    1. Rowell says:

      Thanks Joel! I think getting a stakeholder in there immediately is key to a successful project.

      Thank you for providing that tip in there. Great to hear others giving back to the community.

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