Long-range wireless repeater recommendations


I'm investigating the feasibility of building myself the capability to utilize the 'Wireless DSL' service that is being offered to the citizens of a town about 2 miles away from where I live.

Unfortunately, I do not have line-of-sight to the town water tower where my house is located, but I do own land that is high enough (with the use of a tower) which can 'see' the water tower.

Hopefully the ASCII art will paint the picture:

< - 3-4 km ->

Municipal_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Solar- powered Tower Repeater / / / / (500 m) / / / / House

What I am looking for is recommendations people have on the various bits I'll need to assemble/acquire for this to happen.

Constraints: There is no power available at the repeater site - any solar powered gear people like? A tower will be needed at the repeater site - again, any towers people like (20-40 ft)

Will any hardware be required at the house? we'll have wireless notebooks as clients there.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance, Duane

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As I understand it, you will be a subscriber to the WISP and want to repeat the signal from their client to you house that has inside laptops.

*If* you had full control of their client, you could turn it into a sequential repeater...but I don't think they would be keen on you doing that to their equipment, so we'll assume you can't.

That means you'll need to connect their subscriber unit to your own access point just to even get a signal down into you direction using a full duplex repeater set up.

With that said...what are your expectations of reliability using solar and supporting laptops inside a house.

Carrier grade solar starts off at $5,000 in the southern states. It can run two radios for five days without sufficient sunlight for charging. Those $200 solar powered MickyMouse mesh units can only store enough to work over night, estimated price for the $100 unit and $100 solar add-on.

Indoor laptops...You can set up an AP at fifty feet up, and still not connect reliably inside to a house a mere 1,00 feet away. So you'll need more radios.

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Thanks for the follow-up:

That is correct, I can't change the WISP (I _think_ they are doing PPPoE)


I am approaching this from a fairly reliable dial-up link, which is being discontinued by that ISP. My expectations are a faster link (when it is up). I can service this device as needed.

If I can put one of these together myself, I imagine I could get a fairly reliable set-up for between 5000 and 200, no?

If I need an AP at the house, that would not be that bad.

Thanks, Duane

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Depends how north you are and percent of overcast days.

Lets say you have two each 12 volt 1.5 Amp radios (18 watts apiece) that will require 864 watts over 24-hours, and you have four hours of usable sun in the lower latitudes (solar panels loose effectiveness past two hours on either side of high noon).

If you have a solar array rated at 36 watts, it would only be sufficient to power the radios for four hours a day. An 864 watt array would run the units and charge the batteries with 720 watts to run them when the sun gets lower and at night.

But an 864 watt array needs full sun everyday. If your area has up to five consecutive days of overcast, then on the sixth day you need to have an array that can dump charge the system in a mere four hours to store another 4,320 watts for the next five consecutive overcast days (4,320 = 864 watts per day x five days).

So to $500 might get you an array that can charge your batteries to run your radios into the mid-evening each day.

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I threw together a spreadsheet for calculating solar powered radio installs. It was originally designed for running a ham radio repeater site, but can be tweaked to do a simple wireless access point or wireless repeater. See:

I filled in my guess(tm) of the numbers for a WRT54G:

The bottom line, which is actually on the right side of the spreadsheet, is the number of days it takes to recharge the batteries from various states and conditions (full load, no load, etc). If the recharge time is more than a day under full load, you stand an excellent chance of running the batteries into the ground in a few days. The WRT54G example above uses a proposed 50 watt array, which takes about 3 days to recharge under full load, and is therefore seriously under sized.

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Jeff Liebermann

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