Need HELP setting up Wifi for small Town!!

Hello all! I thank anyone that can help me in advance for your time and effort!

Now then, I live in a small trailer park by the ocean in southern Florida. The size of the town is approximatly 45 acres, and it is shaped in a large block. I have the support of the entire community, and will be able to place access points or dishes anywhere to get this up and running. I have never setup a network of this size, but I do have a lot of experience in residential networking.

I am posting here to get some of your ideas on what type of equipment I should use and placement. I was figuring on subscribing to a T1 line at a central location and then using dishes to point the signal to various parts of the park. As I understand it, the beam of the dishes is quite narrow, so I would then use access points to spread the signal around, but I really have no idea if this will even work.

Please Help!! Thank you,


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I would suggest you investigate Meraki

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Their equipment is inexpensive and easy to set up.


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JasonB hath wroth:

Maybe a little light reading would be helpful before you ask us to engineer your municipal wireless network. You may want to talk to other towns that have already done this (hopefully successfully):

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

a few thoughts:

Each residence is a Faraday cage. No radio signal goes in or out through the metal skin. Most windows will allow some signal in or out but in Florida most all have metal awnings to protect from direct sunlight, which also prevents 802.11 quite well.

And lots have awnings (metal) or screen rooms down one side.

So, unless a residence window happens let some rf leak in, true wireless inside the trailers will require an AP inside each trailer. Its about the same in a motor home where they want internet access at the rv campsites. See the following thread for some info:

or this (same thread)

Of note is one of Jeffs comments: "I have a few customers in trailer parks and have a little experience in making them work. The metal boxes are pure hell as they create reflections that cause multipath problems. I found that shooting across the trailer rooftops is a loser. The best results so far was hanging the radio in a nearby tree, about 4 ft above the roof line. That was a ethernet client radio, not USB as the cable would have been too long. I've had to use directional antennas not to get sufficient gain to talk to a distant access point, but to reduce or eliminate the reflections caused by bounces from behind the antenna. An omni will pickup these reflections with equal strength, while a directional antenna will pickup almost nothing from behind the antenna pattern."

Somewhere between 250-500 trailers? (my WAG)

Perhaps try a single mast mounted AP with a 7.5-8 dBi omni antenna on a 20' mast. Installed in a common location (or at your trailer) it would be useful for some ppl now & you could start testing to see what range you are getting.

What about using existing telephone or cable lines? If they go back to a common distribution point then you have the options. Hardwired beats wireless (almost) every time!!


Reply to
Kim Clay

On Wed, 13 Feb 2008 13:39:30 -0500, JasonB wrote in :

Hire professionals, and let them do it. Seriously.

Reply to
John Navas

I hate days like this. 2 fire drills before lunch, one afterwards, and now, nothing. Might was well continue...

You don't need wireless as the trailers do not need to move.

If this really is one big 45 acre trailer park, it must have conduit and underground services to each trailer. Phone and power are obvious, but if there's coax cable for CATV, you can run internet over the existing coax using cable modems, or piggy back with dedicated hardware. See:

Unfortunately, much of this is new technology. Verizon has deployed MoCA technology on their fiber optic network:

My guess(tm) is deploying coax or laying fiber will probably have a substantially higher initial cost as compared to wireless. However, since you have a non-moving customer base, that is not addicted to portability and laptops, I see no reason why you must use wireless. Any of the wired technologies (including DSL) will work to your non-moving trailers. The real advantage will be after initial deployment, the operating and maintenance costs will be much less. For example, what the cost of receiving a few hundred irate support phone calls because the wireless has gone down thanks to someone firing up a leaky microwave oven? While you're thinking about that, who is going to handle the support calls? India? Wired infrastructure (coax, fiber, copper) is MUCH more reliable than wireless.

Ok, now... lets do the math.

How many trailers fit in 45 acres? How many computahs per trailer? 45 acres is about 2 million square feet. Permanent trailer lots are about 50 x 120ft = 600 sq ft. So my guess is about 2500 trailers, leaving space for common areas and roadways. If you guarantee about

300Kbits/sec minimum bandwidth, at 10:1 utilization, that's: 2500 / 10 * 300 kbit/sec = 75Mbits/sec backhaul bandwidth required. That's probably a bit high, but not unreasonable considering the number of users. Plan on negotiating a very expensive contract with your local bulk bandwidth provider, plus a very expensive fiber connection to the nearest telco central office.

  1. How are you going to pay for this? Charge the users, I presume Flat rate pre month? Metered rate by the megabloat? What are you going to do about the file sharing bandwidth hogs? I have a sneaky suspicion that the reason everyone is in favor of this project is that they're assuming the wireless is free.

Gotta run....(again).

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

Does that mean they will be willing to pay $50 or so a month or that they will let you put up a tower? I suspect they are anticipating free internet access.

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or 6000 sq ft :)

& lets not forget about the 125mph winds to be expected 1-3x per year.

Reply to
Kim Clay

Kim Clay hath wroth:

Oops. I just hate it when I screw up like that. Ok, that's about 300 trailers in 45 acres.

Argh. 300 trailers with 10:1 utilization is: 300 /10 * 300 kbits/sec = 9 Mbits/sec which a bit more reasonable. However, it's still more than 6 times the bandwidth of a T1.

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