Like many other WLAN professionals out there, the one thing that never seems to be available when doing onsite survey work is power. Whether it be to recharge your laptop or power up your access point for an active survey, you can never find an outlet nearby. It’s like someone took into account proper AP placement for the WLAN and conveniently moved every outlet away from that position. In my search to find a mobile power source, I came across the Omnicharge.
The main purpose for my search was to find a portable battery that could be used primarily in an AP-on-a-stick (APoS) kit, and provide enough juice to get me through most average sized surveys. Since most of my active survey work is typically in hospitals and large warehouses, an average sized survey would be around 500,000 square feet (or ~46,500 square meters for those strange metric folks). Based on that, the battery needed to meet the following criteria.
- The battery capacity must be sized to meet FAA regulations for traveling in carry-on baggage. (Click here for the FAA battery FAQ)
- The battery must be small enough to place into my backpack that includes my laptops etc.
- The battery must be capable of providing power to an enterprise class AP for a minimum of 6 hours.
- The battery must provide multiple outlet types for device charging (USB, etc).
For those of you familiar with the WLAN community, industry veteran (and surveyor extraordinaire) Keith Parsons recommends the ReVolt G2 battery pack which by all accounts is a fine battery. While I like the ruggedness of this pack, I wanted something that wouldn’t require a lot of additional pieces like POE injectors, etc and was able to get things up and running quickly. Other sources I have seen lately are bottle-type batteries designed for electric bicycles, that seem to be large enough to power an AP for a month lol. For me this wasn’t an option due to requirement #1.
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