I believe somewhere around Mid 2021; I received a message from Jussi about setting up some time to discuss some stuff. We had our call setup, the day arrived, I had a couple of my coworkers, Brian Powers and Robert Haviland, on the call as well. We went through the usual introductions and discussed some of our day-to-day responsibilities as Jussi was taking down notes meticulously.
We talked for almost two hours going over work flows, how we collaborate and work on the projects, what are our pain points? We had an idea that Jussi has some amazing plans and whenever he is going to announce something, it will be amazing.
Fast forward to Feb, 2022 (WLPC 2022, Phoenix). I get a text from Brian Powers that Jussi is presenting the new, “Wi-Fi Planner App”, he gave me some high-level information on the application (web-based, Wi-Fi planning, CBRS, BoM, Notes, IoT etc). It was exciting to find out about this, only regret I had was that I could not make it to the WLPC 2022 Phoenix event. I am certain that all the audience in the room who were just finding out about this app were excited to hear the announcement.
I messaged Jussi and congratulated him. We connected and chatted briefly about the app and he showed me the interface. Even the pre-beta release was impressive.
I had the privilege of being one of the beta testers; during the beta testing stage, the whole team from Hamina collaborated with engineers from all over the world. Different features, suggestions, ideas, modifications were discussed and lots of them were implemented within days.
After months of hard work, collaborating with people from all over the world, beta testing, on October 27th, Hamina was finally public.
Hamina has lots of great features, and I’ll go over some of the features. But I highly encourage you to go check out the full datasheet located here.
- Wi-Fi Design including 6E (6 GHz)
- Private 5G/LTE Design (From 450 MHz to 6 GHz)
- BLE Design
- PoE, Switching, Cabling, MDF/IDF
- 3D Planning
- Project Sharing and workflow
- Import floor plans (CAD, DWG/DXF, PDF, PNG, JPEG, WEBP)
- Supports about 20 wireless vendors
One thing that caught my eye on the last bullet point regarding vendors was this:
My First Hamina Project:
I was already doing some project work and testing in Hamina successfully for months. Idea behind the product is to have something that has a good work flow and ability to collaborate with different people involved in the project; customer, low voltage vendor, field engineers, architects, professional services, management, project manager. It is a good idea to keep that in mind when going through building a site in Hamina. It was time to work on a complete project in Hamina and truly utilize all the features and benefits.
NOTE: For the purpose of this blog post I have used a sample floor plan along with all the other company related details, but the process has been the same for an actual customer.
Start a New Project:
Starting a new project is simple; type the name of your project, choose the environment and you are on your way.
Next screen has two options, you can either upload the map, but if you do not have a map yet, you can start adding notes.
These notes could be anything technically add the title and then your notes. Keep in mind these will also be displayed when you are creating a report. It is best to put some thought into what you are going to add in here. It gives you some options for the formatting, adding pictures, links and lists. I’d love to see options for “Headings” and font coloring here, eventually.
I am using a sample floor plan, but I have uploaded a PDF file of a 10 story building and Hamina processed it in seconds.
Once the floor plan is uploaded, first step is to scale the floor plan. Simply draw the line on the map and add your measurements.
- Edit – If you want to edit anything
- Notes – Add notes on the map
- Scale – Scale map
- Draw Walls – Add walls and objects
- Out of scope zone – Draw zones
- Access point – Add access points
- Network Equipment – Add Switches/MDF/IDF
- Client view – This is really cool and I’ll talk about it in detail later.
NOTE: you have an option to use “meters” or “feet”, similarly when you are working with the access points, you can use “dBm” or “mW”. This can be changed under “Edit Account”.
I will not go into every intricate step of drawing walls and setting up a map as Hamina offers a nice Getting Started Knowledge base located here. I want to shift my focus to some features that are extremely useful, new, save time and add great value to the overall user experience for WLAN Engineers, customers, low voltage vendors and project managers during the different phases of the project.
I love taking notes when I am walking a site, notes and pictures make life easier. This can also make the initial kick off call easier if I could not go onsite and the salesperson and/or the customer could take some initial notes for me and uploaded pictures.
Lots of this data can be added to the maps by anyone who is onsite. Even the customer can add this data and review this with the architecture and design team. Existing network jacks and/or any move, add, changes can be easily specified, notes about different areas/what they can be added. Ability to better collaborate and communicate about the project, using notes feature can save lots of time, errors and money for all the parties involved. A simple feature like using icons makes a huge difference. I don’t have to write/type most of the things, simply add the icon. One thing I’d like to see here is the ability to add pictures to the notes. Pictures play a vital role when working on any technical projects. Multiple people collaborating on the project can easily add pictures related to their notes that are crucial to the success of the project. Wish list, ability to upload pictures to the notes.
Adding access points is easy, and I counted about 21 vendors that are currently supported by Hamina. What I love about adding access points and moving access points is that all the calculations happen in the background and I don’t have to stop working. Wish list, ability to add notes and pictures to the access points.
Here is a quick video that show’s the behavior
Hamina has added an excellent feature that allows us to add network equipment, MDF/IDF closets and even client devices. I can add one or more switches, specify if this is an MDF or IDF, add client devices such as cameras, computers, phone. Hamina Planner will automatically run the cables to the nearest switch or you can specify the switch you want the cable going to from a particular device.
Power and Cabling Details:
I have seen people try to accomplish this in spreadsheets, word documents etc, but adding some automation to it and specifying not only the access point placements but clients along with where those devices will need to connect creates an excellent flow and documentation that low voltage teams can use to run cables. Power and Cabling details view also displays the PoE budget. No, guess work. They will know exactly where each device needs to connect. My wish list:
- Map devices to ports. Once I pick a switch, another drop option shows up that allows me to topic the port.
- Ability to adjust cable path.
- Columns in Power and Cabling budget view/report mapping the Closet/Switch/Ports with the device.
This quick report can be shared with the low voltage teams to collaborate and they can start their install. Using this feature along with some automation reduced errors will save my time. It is easier for me to share the project with the low voltage teams to get a quote. If they have questions that need to be answered, they can simply add notes and anyone working on the project can easily update the requested information. No need to create multiple spread sheets or word documents and try to put everything together manually and hope that you missed nothing.
To be Continued, I’ll talk more about Client view and some reporting features …..