Newbie: Wireless repeater on tower set-up

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DuaneKaufman
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Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:50    Post subject: Newbie: Wireless repeater on tower set-up Reply with quote
Hi,

First off, I am a newbie, so if this question has been answered ad nauseum, please just point me towards a tutorial.

I want a broadband connection, but the only source of said bandwidth is a wireless DSL set-up in a town approximately 2 miles away. Here in snowy Wisconsin, this two miles is _not_ line-of-sight to my house, so a direct link won't work.

Did I say I want a fast link?

I _do_ have access to a ridge about 1500 ft from my house, that has both line of sight to the water tower with the wireless source (ok, I'll need a tower...) _and_ to my house (ok, through the tops of some trees). I think I should be able to repeat the signal from a tower on the ridge to my house.

My question is: what hardware do I need to accomplish this? To be certain, I can install high-gain antennas to both receive the signal from the source, and repeat it to my house (I think) on the tower. Of course, to make things harder, I'll need to make a solar powered electrical source for this tower, so any anecdotal advise on this front would be appreciated too.

Thanks in advance,
Duane
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Sash
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Joined: 20 Sep 2006
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Location: Hesse/Germany

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 20:23    Post subject: Reply with quote
there are many topics the last days that nearly fit your setup. plz read the forum.. u will find many answers.

the hardware depends on your moneybag and what u can get Very Happy
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices
broadcom or atheros. there are many discusses about pros and cons.
i like atheros....better wlan. and often better hardware

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DuaneKaufman
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Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 16:14    Post subject: Reply with quote
Sash:
Thanks for the reply. Maybe I don't know how to search these forums (which I did), but, while there is a fair amount of dialogue on _repeaters_, I couldn't find anything on the task I have set before me: using a device (or _two), with two separate external antennas to act as a repeater.

I read a lot of posts where people want to extend the range of an AP to include their basement, or their yard out back. All dealt with omni-directional antennas, used for both receive and transmit. I do not think such a topology will suffice for my needs.

In addition, I haven't found any information (yet) on powering such a repeater off solar power.

>the hardware depends on your moneybag and what u can get <Very Happy>
>http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices
>broadcom or atheros. there are many discusses about pros and cons.
>i like atheros....better wlan. and often better hardware

Do any of these devices you like support two separate external antennas?

Thanks,
Duane
Glider
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Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:01    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi Duane,

I'm actually working on the same subject. We want to provide WLAN access on the ends of an airfield (1500m long), source & target cannot "see" each other.

I'm not familiar with setting up networks and don't know yet exactly what I have to watch out for, but I plan to place two units at the relay point because of two reasons:

a) the full speed is available. A units in repeater mode would have to cut speed in two halves

b) The units I've seen so far use two or more antennas for antenna diversity, which is not recommended to be misused to point the antennas in different directions. With two units each has its own antenna.

The only thing I have to find out, how I tell the two units to connect to each other via Ethernet ports.

If you do not want to use two units, you might consider a power combiner that connects two antennas (even with different directions) to one unit. A power combiner splits a signal into two by transforming the impedance to a value that ensures impedance matching on all ports. This cuts power down to 50% on each antenna (transmit AND receive).

Regards,
Klaus.

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DuaneKaufman
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Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 14:19    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi,

Klaus, thanks for the information, our endeavors do seem similar.

For the 2-AP solution, what I _think_ you are looking for is to make both be _bridges_ (both are bridging wire<->wireless)

Do you have power available, or do you have to go solar? If solar, how are you going about that?

Thanks,
Duane
Glider
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Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 22:52    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi Duane,

well, I looked at one of Buffalo's Routers, they need 1.1 Ampère at 3.3 Volt. For a Solar solution with rechargeable batteries, you would prefer a battery with 12V and use a DC-DC converter, because Solar panels with regulators for rechargeable lead batteries for 12V are more easy to obtain.

With an 80% efficiency converter from 12V to 3.3V, you'll need 375mA @ 12V, which leads to 6 Ah to operate router during the "dark" 16 hours of a winter day. Now you need a solar panel that delivers enough current to charge the battery (say 10Ah) within 6 hours of light, even if the sky is cloudy or even rainy.

Charge needed is about 6Ah *1.4 divided by 6 hours = 1.4 A. And 1.4A * 12V = 16.8W.

This minimum size of your solar panel is only meant as a quick estimation what we are talking about. You would have to think about
- sleep mode consumption of router
- maximum hours of operation (without light)
- minimum temperature on the hill
- snow covering the solar panel
- safety against passers by
- etc.

We have power in the hangar, on top of which I'll mount my bridges...

Regards,
KLaus.

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Sash
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Joined: 20 Sep 2006
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Location: Hesse/Germany

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 15:05    Post subject: Reply with quote
hi klaus

here is some info regarding solar powered devices

http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=23872

btw is auch n link fuers berlin freifunk bei...sehr interessant.

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jonfitt
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Joined: 01 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 22:05    Post subject: Reply with quote
In each case are you sure the end points really can't see each other?

If you can get a directional antenna up high enough so that it can see the other end point then it would be the cheapest and probably most reliable route.
http://www.radiolabs.com/Articles/wifi-antenna.html

You can mount a directional antenna on the ridge of a house on a high pole and run cabling down into your router. It really depends on how high that ridgeline is.

Otherwise you could use 2 routers set as wireless bridges ethernet cabled back to back so that you can mount directional antennas on each pointing to their respective destinations. Waterproofing and solar powering those will work out pretty expensive.

Have you thought about moving Laughing
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