need guidance for a sparse wireless network

I don't have any significant experience in setting up wireless networks, so I may use the wrong terms in what follows.

In a small religious community in rural Australia, most of the residents are scattered in small single person dwellings (studio's) up to 2Km from the main "house". The main house has a satellite internet link and a Netgear wireless router which serves the two residents who live in that house. Other residents either have their desktop computers located in the main house, carry their laptops to the main house or use dial up (slow and expensive).

I have established that studio's with clear LOS to the house can receive a wireless signal (up to 48Mbps) to a laptop with a Netgear USB wireless adapter if I am outside of the studio, in some cases on its roof. Because the house is situated at the high point of a ridge some studios don't have LOS at ground level to the house.

What I'm thinking of doing it put an external aerial at each location with an Ethernet-802.11b/g bridge (hopefully with PoE). At the main house the bridge would be Cat 5'd to the Netgear router (only one of its Cat5 ports is used), at the studio's the bridges would be Cat5'd to the residents computer.

- Would this work?

- Are there other approaches I should consider?

- What sort of bridge should I use?

- What sort of aerials should I use?

- Might I need to use multiple aerials at "the house" (omni directional for the closer studio's and a directional for each studio further away)?

- Should I put bridges in roof (hence PoE) to minimize aerial cable length.

- What about lightning arrestors, the area gets lots of storms ?

Cost is a significant issue, so if I can assemble bridges and aerials from parts etc then I would consider doing that - although because I live 200Km away I have to consider support.

Thanks in anticipation - Phil Daniels

------------------------------------------------------------------------ View this thread:

formatting link

Reply to
Loading thread data ...

On Thu, 10 Jan 2008 21:59:54 -0500, urbantiger wrote in :

Don't trust that speed if it's coming from Windows. Your actual speed under load is probably way less than that.

The external antenna should be directional (and weatherproof of course) and pointed at the main house, which will greatly improve signal over an omni antenna.

I suggest you try good high-gain antennas at the studios before messing with the main house.

I use and recommend Buffalo high-power products.

Either panel or dish antennas, depending on how much gain you need. Start by testing a panel at the worst studio, going up to the dish if necessary. The wiki below has links to antenna manufacturers, although it's oriented to the USA, so you might have to do your own hunting in Australia.

Possibly, in which case you'll also need multiple access points, but a medium-gain omni might be sufficient with high-gain antennas at the studios. A high-gain omni might have too small a vertical pattern.


Not a bad idea.

With that kind of support distance I strongly recommend high-grade kit.

Reply to
John Navas

Does Australia still have that law that prohibits offering wireless beyond your property line?

Reply to


formatting link

Hi. Your setup sounds a bit like ours. I have 10 clients getting internet through a sat dish at a central location on a remote "ranch". The houses are spread around a 300 M radius, with two distant ones 1 KM away.

I tried to find a way to use an antenna to distribute the signal everywhere, but found that it was not possible get in all directions at once as there is too much altitude variation for a high gain omni. High gain omnis have very narrow vertical beamwidth.

So, going on excellent advice from here and elsewhere, the first thing I did was determine which houses were within cabling distance or could be powerline networked. Whenever possible, we ran cable or, in one case, are doing a powerline network connection.

We asked each client to pay for their own connection extension, whether it be cable or their local bridge/AP setup. That kept the cost down for the community and each decides if they want the luxury or not.

Cable is most reliable if you can do it. In cases where the end user has a single desktop, we just ran the cable in. In cases where they have laptop(s), we put an AP on the end of the cable at their house and gave them their own personal wifi. In one case,there are now two houses that operate off of the same AP on the end of a cable. The cable allowed me to place the AP down low in the valley where those two houses are.

In the direction where I had a cluster of houses and good line of sight, I put a directional panel antenna on a pole (using a lightning arrester). That antenna feeds three houses at about 300 meters, allowing us to just use our laptops directly.

The most distant pair of houses don't get a strong enough signal, plus trees block them. In that case, I put a wireless ethernet adapter up on a pole in a 14db "Rootenna". I cabled that to a local AP that covers those two houses, so they also have a wireless connection around their houses.

For gear, I like using the Buffalo HP routers with DD-WRT replacement firmware installed. WHR-HP-G54 or somesuch, I forget. They are not currently sold in the US, but should be availible in Australia?

Also, the DD-WRT site sells these with DD-WRT pre-installed. Not cheap at $100 US each, but saves trouble of installing and you get the premium version of a very flexible and well support (by community) firmware.

The Linksys WRT54GL (emphasis on the "L" model) will also take DD- WRT and act as a client adapter/bridge, though it's not as powerful a radio as the Buffalo HP.

A $40+ US Rootenna will get you a good 15 dbi antenna setup as well as an outdoor box for the router to avoid lossy cable runs.

formatting link
For around $130-$180 USD, you can also use the Engenius EOC....or NOC Outdoor AP/Client adapters. They are all-in-one units with power over ethernet too.

formatting link

I also see that this site is offering Engenius cards installed in Rootennas (higher gain):

formatting link
Again, the main point, is to consider multiple solutions, not just a single approach.

There are a lot of details to deal with, but this should get you started.

Cheers, Steve

Reply to
seaweedsteve Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.