It’s not every day I get the chance to climb around a 6th Century building so when I was asked to complete a wifi installation at St Davids Cathedral, I made sure I packed the camera.
Having almost no internet connectivity over conventional telephone wires, St David’s Cathedral had to get ‘up to speed’ to keep up with modern communication and web presence.
With support from WAG broadband grant for broadband ‘not spots’ TFL-Group of Neyland were able to supply fast broadband via a dedicated wireless link as part of their infrastructure across Pembrokeshire.
I’ve been installing end user equipment for TFL for just over a year now and was privileged to be involved in the cathedral project.
With an antenna hidden on the roof of the main bell tower, high speed broadband is received via a wireless radio link. This is then repeated from the same antenna to surrounding buildings within the grounds of the cathedral.
Whilst five of the installations were straightforward, one that posed the main challenge was the feed to the Verger’s office on the ground floor underneath the bell tower. As no radio signal would penetrate the stonework sufficiently to be transmitted from the roof to inside the building, the natural option of running long cables internally was also not an option in this listed building where no additional cables or equipment can be seen within the public area.
The solution was to install a cable from the distribution equipment on the top floor next to the clock mechanism and the St David’s BBC TV Relay transmitter equipment, down one floor in the narrow spiral stairwell to a gallery walkway above the public area.
The walkway is approximately 70′ above the hard floor and has no hand rail. Something they didn’t bother with in the 6th century!!! However, there are pillars to walk behind so the plan was hatched and assessed to be belayed on a safety rope around the walkway to install a WiFi radio antenna that would make the last hop from 70′ up, to the Vergers office on the ground floor…
It was a long winded evening job, but all went to plan and the private WiFi link is up and running with no equipment visible to the public.
Thanks to Rellie from Celtic Quest Coasteering for being my rope-safety man on this job…he can also tell you how LOUD the bell chimes whilst kneeling less than 2 feet away!