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Directional WiFi Antenna Question

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Nerumph

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Hello all!

First of all, my apologies if this is in an improper forum section. Please feel free to relocate it to somewhere more appropriate...

Quick question here. I am helping to design a system for a client that has need of a wide-area wifi coverage system as well as some far-reaching IP cameras on the far ends of their 45-ish acre property. I am currently in a bit of a noob state in relation to PPP antennas and just how I can work with as little antenna redundancy as I can get away with.

My question is: will I be able to use a 180 degree antenna with around a 11/13dBi gain (dual wifi band) on one end with a 24dBi+ yagi antenna on the ip-camera side?
 

mmckenna

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You'll need an omni-directional antenna at the base end. That'll need to receive/transmit to/from all directions on the property IF the location is near the center.

If the home is not in the center, then you may benefit with an antenna that has more of a radiation pattern that matches the coverage area. If a 180º antenna, like a panel antenna, covers the property, the Yagi on the other end will work fine.

At the remote ends, use the directional antenna to point back at the base.

Since coaxial cable losses are very high on these frequencies you'll need good coax. Even short runs will benefit from good stuff.

I've got a co-worker that recently retired to 20+ acres in the Sierra foothills. He did a similar setup, but since his home was not in the center of the properly, he set up an old wifi access point near the center running in a "repeater" mode. It'll pick up some of the farther off locations and repeat it back to the house.
 

jwt873

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You might consider something like the Ubiquity Nano. It's a combo WiFi TX/RX, router, and antenna bundled in a weather proof enclosure.

You just feed it power and point it to where you want to go. A mile LOS is easy with these.

Since the TX/RX, the antenna and the router are together in the same case, all you need to do is run Cat5 from where it is mounted to your equipment. (WiFi Camera, computer etc). The Nano has an RJ45 connector. https://www.ubnt.com/airmax/nanostationm/

Some of the guys use these in our 2.3 Ghz HSSM ham radio network. They work well.

For an omni configuration, you can use a Ubiquity Bullet. It's a weatherproof RX/TX and router combo without an antenna. It has an N connector which allows it to connect directly with a high gain vertical so there's no loss at all with cable. Again, you mount it as high as you want and use Cat5 instead of coax to bring the WiFi into the house: https://www.ubnt.com/airmax/bulletm/

There are a lot of WiFi verticals with N connectors that a bullet will fit.. Here's one: High-Gain 8dBi 2.4GHz Outdoor WiFi Antenna > Antennas > WiFi Antennas | C. Crane
 

bharvey2

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What you are describing should work fine if you only have two communication points. You can even use two yagis point toward each other if that is the case. If your central location needs to be accessed from multiple directions, then an omni at that point will be needed as mmckenna points out.
 

jonwienke

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A yagi pointing at an omni may work well enough. If not, your only option is to point two yagis at each other.
 

jim202

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Before everyone goes out and orders antennas, coax cables and connectors, I would like to point out that most of the WIFI equipment on the market today uses reverse polarity connections. What this means is that normal coax connectors will not mate with these devices and even the antennas if they are designed for WIFI use.

You need to make sure you understand just what the correct connectors are. On a reversed polarity coax connector, the connection is not a pin, but a female receptacle. Standard coax connectors will not mate with WIFI coax connectors.
 

bharvey2

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Before everyone goes out and orders antennas, coax cables and connectors, I would like to point out that most of the WIFI equipment on the market today uses reverse polarity connections. What this means is that normal coax connectors will not mate with these devices and even the antennas if they are designed for WIFI use.

You need to make sure you understand just what the correct connectors are. On a reversed polarity coax connector, the connection is not a pin, but a female receptacle. Standard coax connectors will not mate with WIFI coax connectors.
Very good point. I've been burned before with the variation in SMA connectors. Pay close attention to what you'll need if you have to order connectors.
 

lmrtek

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Since the 2.4ghz band is heavily congested, you may want to use horizontal polarization to try and reduce interference

And the higher you mount the AP antenna, the more interference it will see to keep that in mind
 

jonwienke

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That is unlikely to be an issue in a rural area with 40-acre lots.
 

freddaniel

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Your original question has two issues. Technical and legal. There are legal limits on the Effective Radiated Power [ERP] of the radio with antenna gain. That is why the FCC required the manufacturers to use reverse polarity connectors, so only the manufacturer supplied antennas would be easily connected. This never quite worked out as the special connectors are widely available.

On the technical side, it is generally accepted the antenna with more gain provides the best performance. You will always want to mount the radio as close to the antenna as possible. I find no more than 12 inches to be good. Then you can run lots of CAT5 cable without a problem. Your best bet is to use the radios and antennas at www.ubnt.com as many of the radios and antennas use dual transmitters and receivers, with dual polarity antennas. This makes a huge improvement in performance. The products are widely available from many distributors and many have information on the best way to configure your system.

Depending upon the number of trees on your property, you may want to consider the different WiFi bands. But remember, the higher the frequency, the more antenna gain available and the greater signal loss from trees. The lower the frequency, the lower the antenna gain, but the lower the signal loss from trees.

Buy and try is the word. Good luck.
 

wa1nic

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I am doing exactly what you want to do.

I have wifi cameras out at about 1000 feet, and part of the path is through evergreen trees.

All the cameras are powered by solar setups, so power IS an issue. I am using Foscam FTZ cameras with built in WiFi transceivers. They are each connected to TP-LINK 2.4 Ghz parabolic antennas (about 2' x 4' rectangular) mounted on a mast about 10 feet in the air.

In the central location is a Ubiquati bullet TI Access Point directly connected to a 15 dBi omni vertical antenna that is about 12 feet up.

ERP is within legal limits on all locations.

The signal strength is extremely solid most of the time. I did loose connection once this winter for a few hours when we were getting snow at a rate of about 4 " per hour. Normally, even heavy rain isn't an issue.

As Jim points out, you may run into reverse polarity connectors when you tackle this. I quickly ordered a bunch of each type from China off ebay right at the beginning. Also, use short, quality coax The Ubiquity access point needs no coax at all... it's integral N connector screws right into my omni antenna.

Lost In Our Back Yard Llama Farm...[cam page]


Rick
 
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A couple of things (from someone who makes a living with microwave IP systems).

The distances you are wanting to cover (45 acres for example) are fairly straightforward. Keep in mind, for a 720p stream you need 5 Mbps per device. Single chain radios (such as the Ubiquiti Bullet and Mikrotik Metal/Groove radios) are limited to a max throughput of only 150 Mbps.

An Omnidirectional AP would be fine but I'd recommend a dual polarity setup like a Ubiquiti M series Rocket matching AirMax antenna (which doubles as a mount).

For subscribers I'd use either Nanostation M LOCOs or LiteBeams (either will be fine).

Just remember when you begin doing the routing not to stack consumer grade routers on top of one another as you'll creat double NAT issues. Also makes life easier from a management perspective if you bridge the AP and SM radios versus routing with them). For all intents and purposes only one router is needed (you can assign different subnets per Interface if it makes management easier for you).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

wa1nic

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If you wish to view all of the cameras simultaneously ( I don't need to do that), bandwidth may become an issue.

I am in the process of extending coverage to more remote areas of my farm. I plan on putting up a couple more 2.5 Ghz access points in locations that are line of sight from my house, but that can see areas that are not line of sight.

I have no plans on putting the 2.5 Ghz access points into repeater mode. I am going to put up 5 Ghz links to each 2.5 Ghz location. Ubiquaty makes some nice, low cost units with dish antennas... well under $100 each. They are POE powered, which is nice when power sources are a bit unpredictable. There will be an Ubiquity Bullet-TI 5.0 with an omni antenna going up on the house very soon, not to far from the 2.5 Ghz version. I will link the remote 2.5 Ghz access points back to my house over 5 Ghz. That will also give me a 5 Ghz access point near the house if I wish to go into that directly from a camera (I havnt seen a WiFi camera yet that uses 5 Ghz though.

Anyway, not only will this extend coverage to areas that are currently 1/4 mile or so away, though the trees, but it will also give me more overall bandwidth if needed.

As I mentioned, everything but the main node at the house is solar powered in my case, so power considerations are significant. The power sources cost way more than the cameras and access points that they power. I am using 6 volt Trojan T-105 batteries so that I have enough extended capacity to take me through several days of bad weather. The solar panels are oversized so that they can charge the big batteries back up quickly when the sun does come out. Rather than a single big panel, there are multiple panes pointing in slightly different directions to catch the sun no matter when it shines. One panel even points straight horizontally to to south to catch reflection off the the snow in the winter. I also dont have to worry about that panel staying snow covered after a storm.

Its all fun, and very useful, but it isnt a no-brainer and it's not maintenance free. Battery water needs to be maintained, panels need to be cleaned, and annually tree branches that block either the sun or the Wifi signal need trimming.
 
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