I decided on Monday, when I knew that I was just about done with my major E-Rate work, that today would be the day. I glommed various members of my crew in the morning and afternoon to help me rack the new controller and then mount in the ceiling four new APs. Two others are running in wiring closets so there's no funky ceiling mounts for them. I have one more ceiling mount to do now -- it's in the middle of our office area, and I need a TALL ladder. (I'll do that one on Friday when the Boss is back in Atlanta.) The 8th AP is supposed to go into the Grants office, but one of the new APs turned up lame, so that unit will have to wait until we get a replacement.
This gear -- APs and controller made by a company called Airespace that Cisco bought -- is really quite nice. With the controller-based system, the APs are very dumb. You don't configure them at all. You do all the configuration in the controller and the controller pushes it out to the APs. Need to add a new SSID and WLAN? Add it at the controller et voila! Within about 30 seconds all of the APs will know about the new WLAN. Much nicer than the old way of configuring each and every AP. Something that's OK when you're doing one wireless AP for your house, but decidedly NOT OK when you're looking at deploying 1,800 of them district-wide.
All in all, a very good day. If I remember my camera, I'll have some pictures tomorrow.