Advice For Outdoor 802.11g Coverage

Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

I'm looking for advice on setting up an 802.11g network providing
coverage over a fairly large outdoor area (approximately 1000 feet
across). Opinions on hardware and network arrangement would be
appreciated.

I say "outdoor" even though the clients are inside many tiny
buildings. The buildings are roughly 10-15 feet apart, all with
either very thin wood walls or canvas walls (tents). No bricks,
cinder blocks, metal or tile roofs, or anything I'd expect to hinder a
wireless signal. The area is flat.

The general project is to provide wireless internet access to
approximately 30-60 clients at a time.

Here are some of the choices I'm considering, with rough prices from
online stores:

1a. A single higher end outdoor access point like the Cisco Aironet
1310 - $900.

1b. A single higher end outdoor access point like the Cisco Aironet
1310, with an external antenna (AIR-ANT2506) - $900 plus another $300
for antenna and cable.

2a. 4-6 cheaper access points like th $100 D-Link DWL-2100AP - $400 to
$600.

2b. 4-6 cheaper access points like D-Link DWL-2100AP, plus antennas
(ANT25-0800 or -1500) - $400 to $600 plus another $600 to $900 for the
antennas ($1000 to $1500 total).

3a. 2-4 cheaper access points like D-Link DWL-2100AP plus 2-4 range
extenders (DWL-G800AP) - $200 to $400 plus $150 to $300 ($350 to $700
total).

3b. 2-4 cheaper access points like D-Link DWL-2100AP plus 2-4 range
extenders (DWL-G800AP) plus antennas for all - $200 to $400 plus $150
to $300 plus $600 to $1200 ($950 to $1900 total).


I'm sort of leaning toward 3a, for the sake of cost, wiring
convenience, and no single point of failure (as with 1a/b).

The less wiring I have to do, the better. Range extenders (repeaters)
don't need ethernet cables going to them ... so 3 access points, each
with an associated range extender looks easy. And, it's easier to
extend the network a bit at a time if I buy many cheap bits rather
than few expensive bits.

External antennas for cheap APs cost more than the APs themselves, so
I'd love to avoid using them. Opting to not use an antenna means the
APs will have to be indoors or weatherproofed somehow and put outside.
It gets hot here (90+ degrees daily) so I'm wary about exposing a
cheap AP to the desert sun. One thing the Cisco has going for it is
an operating temp of up to 131 degrees.


Would I be asking for trouble by getting one cheap access point and a
bunch of repeaters? Seems to me that it would be overly stressed by
40+ clients.

How many 802.11g access points can I use before they start interfering
with each other?

Will range extenders tied to different access points step on each
other?


Which is likely to perform better?
- one access point, indoors, with 1-3 repeaters associated with it in
surrounding areas (indoors)
- one access point, indoors, with a 3 meter cable going to an antenna
(outdoors)


Part 2 - network cards for PCs. What's the real world difference
between a $110 Cisco 802.11g PC card and a $50 LinkSys and a $35
noname card?

If I'm going to get all the cards and access points at the same time,
is there anything to be gained from sticking with one brand?

Should I shell out money for better access points, and cheaper cards?


Thanks in advance.
12 answers Last reply
More about advice outdoor coverage
  1. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    monkeyomen@nym.hush.com (MonkeyOmen) wrote:

    >3a. 2-4 cheaper access points like D-Link DWL-2100AP plus 2-4 range
    >extenders (DWL-G800AP) - $200 to $400 plus $150 to $300 ($350 to $700
    >total).

    They don't work as advertized. I bought three of the DWL-G800AP
    boxes, and they don't repeat each other, and in AP mode will hang when
    another shows up as repeater. Run screaming.

    [I have managed to make them work in AP mode when hard-wired to a
    wireless router, but that's hardly the point of a repeater...]

    I'd go with distributing APs around and hard-wiring them back to a
    central point. Repeating costs bandwidth (cuts it in half for each
    repeater, plus or minus), and is (IMHO) a really bad idea...


    --
    William Smith
    ComputerSmiths Consulting, Inc. www.compusmiths.com
  2. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    I would suggest a Linksys WRT54G Transmitter with a Streakwave 800mw
    microamplifier antenna. In total this should cost around $200. With just the
    linksys I got over 400 Meters (1312 feet) so with the amp you should get at
    least 4 times that.

    They pack much more of a punch that you would think.

    Paul


    On 11/7/04 6:24 pm, in article
    d9c5db47.0407110924.6317b6cf@posting.google.com, "MonkeyOmen"
    <monkeyomen@nym.hush.com> wrote:

    > I'm looking for advice on setting up an 802.11g network providing
    > coverage over a fairly large outdoor area (approximately 1000 feet
    > across). Opinions on hardware and network arrangement would be
    > appreciated.
    >
    > I say "outdoor" even though the clients are inside many tiny
    > buildings. The buildings are roughly 10-15 feet apart, all with
    > either very thin wood walls or canvas walls (tents). No bricks,
    > cinder blocks, metal or tile roofs, or anything I'd expect to hinder a
    > wireless signal. The area is flat.
    >
    > The general project is to provide wireless internet access to
    > approximately 30-60 clients at a time.
    >
    > Here are some of the choices I'm considering, with rough prices from
    > online stores:
    >
    > 1a. A single higher end outdoor access point like the Cisco Aironet
    > 1310 - $900.
    >
    > 1b. A single higher end outdoor access point like the Cisco Aironet
    > 1310, with an external antenna (AIR-ANT2506) - $900 plus another $300
    > for antenna and cable.
    >
    > 2a. 4-6 cheaper access points like th $100 D-Link DWL-2100AP - $400 to
    > $600.
    >
    > 2b. 4-6 cheaper access points like D-Link DWL-2100AP, plus antennas
    > (ANT25-0800 or -1500) - $400 to $600 plus another $600 to $900 for the
    > antennas ($1000 to $1500 total).
    >
    > 3a. 2-4 cheaper access points like D-Link DWL-2100AP plus 2-4 range
    > extenders (DWL-G800AP) - $200 to $400 plus $150 to $300 ($350 to $700
    > total).
    >
    > 3b. 2-4 cheaper access points like D-Link DWL-2100AP plus 2-4 range
    > extenders (DWL-G800AP) plus antennas for all - $200 to $400 plus $150
    > to $300 plus $600 to $1200 ($950 to $1900 total).
    >
    >
    > I'm sort of leaning toward 3a, for the sake of cost, wiring
    > convenience, and no single point of failure (as with 1a/b).
    >
    > The less wiring I have to do, the better. Range extenders (repeaters)
    > don't need ethernet cables going to them ... so 3 access points, each
    > with an associated range extender looks easy. And, it's easier to
    > extend the network a bit at a time if I buy many cheap bits rather
    > than few expensive bits.
    >
    > External antennas for cheap APs cost more than the APs themselves, so
    > I'd love to avoid using them. Opting to not use an antenna means the
    > APs will have to be indoors or weatherproofed somehow and put outside.
    > It gets hot here (90+ degrees daily) so I'm wary about exposing a
    > cheap AP to the desert sun. One thing the Cisco has going for it is
    > an operating temp of up to 131 degrees.
    >
    >
    > Would I be asking for trouble by getting one cheap access point and a
    > bunch of repeaters? Seems to me that it would be overly stressed by
    > 40+ clients.
    >
    > How many 802.11g access points can I use before they start interfering
    > with each other?
    >
    > Will range extenders tied to different access points step on each
    > other?
    >
    >
    > Which is likely to perform better?
    > - one access point, indoors, with 1-3 repeaters associated with it in
    > surrounding areas (indoors)
    > - one access point, indoors, with a 3 meter cable going to an antenna
    > (outdoors)
    >
    >
    > Part 2 - network cards for PCs. What's the real world difference
    > between a $110 Cisco 802.11g PC card and a $50 LinkSys and a $35
    > noname card?
    >
    > If I'm going to get all the cards and access points at the same time,
    > is there anything to be gained from sticking with one brand?
    >
    > Should I shell out money for better access points, and cheaper cards?
    >
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
  3. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    "Paul Bayley" <paul@impactsolutions.eclipse.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:BD173CD8.B80%paul@impactsolutions.eclipse.co.uk...
    > I would suggest a Linksys WRT54G Transmitter with a Streakwave 800mw
    > microamplifier antenna. In total this should cost around $200. With just
    the
    > linksys I got over 400 Meters (1312 feet) so with the amp you should get
    at
    > least 4 times that.
    >
    > They pack much more of a punch that you would think.
    >
    > Paul
    >
    >
    > On 11/7/04 6:24 pm, in article
    > d9c5db47.0407110924.6317b6cf@posting.google.com, "MonkeyOmen"
    > <monkeyomen@nym.hush.com> wrote:
    >
    > > I'm looking for advice on setting up an 802.11g network providing
    > > coverage over a fairly large outdoor area (approximately 1000 feet
    > > across). Opinions on hardware and network arrangement would be
    > > appreciated.
    > >
    > > I say "outdoor" even though the clients are inside many tiny
    > > buildings. The buildings are roughly 10-15 feet apart, all with
    > > either very thin wood walls or canvas walls (tents). No bricks,
    > > cinder blocks, metal or tile roofs, or anything I'd expect to hinder a
    > > wireless signal. The area is flat.
    > >
    > > The general project is to provide wireless internet access to
    > > approximately 30-60 clients at a time.
    > >
    > > Here are some of the choices I'm considering, with rough prices from
    > > online stores:
    > >
    > > 1a. A single higher end outdoor access point like the Cisco Aironet
    > > 1310 - $900.
    > >
    > > 1b. A single higher end outdoor access point like the Cisco Aironet
    > > 1310, with an external antenna (AIR-ANT2506) - $900 plus another $300
    > > for antenna and cable.
    > >
    > > 2a. 4-6 cheaper access points like th $100 D-Link DWL-2100AP - $400 to
    > > $600.
    > >
    > > 2b. 4-6 cheaper access points like D-Link DWL-2100AP, plus antennas
    > > (ANT25-0800 or -1500) - $400 to $600 plus another $600 to $900 for the
    > > antennas ($1000 to $1500 total).
    > >
    > > 3a. 2-4 cheaper access points like D-Link DWL-2100AP plus 2-4 range
    > > extenders (DWL-G800AP) - $200 to $400 plus $150 to $300 ($350 to $700
    > > total).
    > >
    > > 3b. 2-4 cheaper access points like D-Link DWL-2100AP plus 2-4 range
    > > extenders (DWL-G800AP) plus antennas for all - $200 to $400 plus $150
    > > to $300 plus $600 to $1200 ($950 to $1900 total).
    > >
    > >
    > > I'm sort of leaning toward 3a, for the sake of cost, wiring
    > > convenience, and no single point of failure (as with 1a/b).
    > >
    > > The less wiring I have to do, the better. Range extenders (repeaters)
    > > don't need ethernet cables going to them ... so 3 access points, each
    > > with an associated range extender looks easy. And, it's easier to
    > > extend the network a bit at a time if I buy many cheap bits rather
    > > than few expensive bits.
    > >
    > > External antennas for cheap APs cost more than the APs themselves, so
    > > I'd love to avoid using them. Opting to not use an antenna means the
    > > APs will have to be indoors or weatherproofed somehow and put outside.
    > > It gets hot here (90+ degrees daily) so I'm wary about exposing a
    > > cheap AP to the desert sun. One thing the Cisco has going for it is
    > > an operating temp of up to 131 degrees.
    > >
    > >
    > > Would I be asking for trouble by getting one cheap access point and a
    > > bunch of repeaters? Seems to me that it would be overly stressed by
    > > 40+ clients.
    > >
    > > How many 802.11g access points can I use before they start interfering
    > > with each other?
    > >
    > > Will range extenders tied to different access points step on each
    > > other?
    > >
    > >
    > > Which is likely to perform better?
    > > - one access point, indoors, with 1-3 repeaters associated with it in
    > > surrounding areas (indoors)
    > > - one access point, indoors, with a 3 meter cable going to an antenna
    > > (outdoors)
    > >
    > >
    > > Part 2 - network cards for PCs. What's the real world difference
    > > between a $110 Cisco 802.11g PC card and a $50 LinkSys and a $35
    > > noname card?
    > >
    > > If I'm going to get all the cards and access points at the same time,
    > > is there anything to be gained from sticking with one brand?
    > >
    > > Should I shell out money for better access points, and cheaper cards?
    > >
    > >
    > > Thanks in advance.
    >

    Wow! Just looked at the Streakwave site. Great looking antenna stuff!

    Bob Alston


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  4. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    William P.N. Smith wrote in message news:<nq43f01ebiibh97v4l9s24u5fgq3qrkalg@4ax.com>...

    > I'd go with distributing APs around and hard-wiring them back to a
    > central point. Repeating costs bandwidth (cuts it in half for each
    > repeater, plus or minus), and is (IMHO) a really bad idea...

    Thanks for the feedback. I've yet to hear any positive things about
    repeaters, unless it's just a handful of users on an otherwise
    uncongested network.

    Do external antennas really improve range that much? Some of them
    cost more than the access point itself, and decent cables are $50-100
    or more too.

    Thanks.
  5. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Do external antennas work to improve range. Yes very much so but they
    must be used properly. I will give my take on type on best use for
    antennas. BTW I do this for a living.

    As for the original question. Are the 60 clients going to be active
    all at once? What is the intended use IE web surfing, email, games? Is
    the distribution point to the clients in the center, a side or, a
    corner of the area in question? Is the ground flat with all buildings
    in the same plane? If internet access is the goal what is the link
    speed to the internet?

    That being said in a center feed location the omni may be the best
    choice but I would not go more than about 8 dBi in gain. For a
    location on a side or corner I would suggest flat panel antennas. For
    a corner it would need two flat panels of 75 degrees beam width to
    cover the area. Each one connected to a separate access point. For a
    side location it might take three access points.

    High gain omni

    Pros are low in cost for the gain achieved, easy to install, low wind
    load,

    Cons are higher gain equals a very small usable beam width maybe 5
    degrees or less. All clients must be in the plane of the beam width
    and this is very limited. Gain is omni direction and usually that is
    not what is needed. If multiple antennas are located within a small
    area they will need vertical separation to function well. This
    vertical separation will likely place one or more outside of the
    desired plane.

    Flat Panels

    Pros are moderate cost, high gain in a more limited direction, small
    size. wider beam width than omni antennas but in a more limited
    direction typical beam width is around 75 degrees horizontal and 25
    vertical (Andrew dl 2412)The limited beam width in any given direction
    can be a big asset in reducing interference and making better use of
    channels or frequency reuse.

    Cons are more difficult to install, less esthetically pleasing, more
    may be required to cover a large area.

    Dish antennas

    Pros, Highest gain and smallest beam width. Best suited for point to
    point links only.

    Cons, Alignment can be difficult for long links beyond the visual
    range. Wind load can be very high for solid dish antennas and mounting
    becomes more difficult. Solid dishes get very expensive as the size
    gets bigger.

    Yagi antennas

    Pros, Low cost for the gain achieved. Easy to mount, Low wind loading.

    Cons, Suitable for point to point links only.


    Now for access points and a recommendation. the choice depends on the
    use and needs. For a corporate environment I would suggest Cisco or
    maybe proxim. Both
    are much more difficult to configure but offer better range and
    security. For home use I would not suggest any access point from any
    manufacturer that also sells a booster. Why buy something that even
    the manufacturer knows has a range problem.
  6. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    monkeyomen@nym.hush.com (MonkeyOmen) wrote:
    >Do external antennas really improve range that much? Some of them
    >cost more than the access point itself, and decent cables are $50-100
    >or more too.

    They can, but as you've noted, they are expensive, and APs are cheap.
    Study your RF theory to see if they'll help, but I'd still think you
    were better off with a bunch of APs...

    --
    William Smith
    ComputerSmiths Consulting, Inc. www.compusmiths.com
  7. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    kbloch2001@hotmail.com (K Bloch) wrote in message news:<26cfcb15.0407121501.4f997a2@posting.google.com>...
    > As for the original question. Are the 60 clients going to be active
    > all at once?

    Very unlikely. That's my best guess for the maximum anticipated load.
    Average load ... maybe around 30. Very hard to guess as there are
    many factors that I can't predict or control.

    > What is the intended use IE web surfing, email, games?

    Web, and web-based email for the most part. We'll have some VOIP, but
    not on wireless clients. Some games between wireless client, but not
    over the internet connection.

    > Is the distribution point to the clients in the center, a side or, a
    > corner of the area in question?

    The center.

    > Is the ground flat with all buildings in the same plane?

    Yes.

    > If internet access is the goal what is the link speed to the internet?

    Planning on 1024 down, 256 up; we can go as high as 2048 down, 512 up
    if needed. It's a business class two-way satellite connection. I've
    got a Linux box that will serve as a Squid proxy with delay pools set
    up for bandwidth throttling.

    > That being said in a center feed location the omni may be the best
    > choice but I would not go more than about 8 dBi in gain.

    Would it be better to use 3 access points at the same location, each
    covering 120 degrees, or 3 access points with omni antennas, each a
    few hundred feet apart?

    > Now for access points and a recommendation. the choice depends on the
    > use and needs. For a corporate environment I would suggest Cisco or
    > maybe proxim.

    Any opinion of 3Com? Their $400 802.11g 7250 access point is about
    halfway between a $70 LinkSys and $900 Cisco.

    In general, how accurate are the manufacturer-stated sensitivities?
    Are they a good way to objectively compare range?

    $70 LinkSys WAP54G: couldn't find
    $100 D-Link 2100AP: -66 dBm at 54 mbps, -85 at 12 mbps, -89 at 2 mbps
    $400 3Com 7250: -66 dBm at 54 mbps, -82 at 12 mbps
    $400 Proxim AP-600: couldn't find
    $900 Cicso 1310: -72 dBm at 54 mbps, -85 at 11 mbps, -94 at 1 mbps

    > Both are much more difficult to configure but offer better range and
    > security. For home use I would not suggest any access point from any
    > manufacturer that also sells a booster. Why buy something that even
    > the manufacturer knows has a range problem.

    Interesting point. :-)

    Thanks.
  8. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    MonkeyOmen <monkeyomen@nym.hush.com> wrote:
    > I'm looking for advice on setting up an 802.11g network providing
    > coverage over a fairly large outdoor area (approximately 1000 feet
    > across). Opinions on hardware and network arrangement would be
    > appreciated.

    1000 feet across? Does that mean you could locate a WAP in the center and
    have no more than 500 feet to any client?

    > Part 2 - network cards for PCs. What's the real world difference
    > between a $110 Cisco 802.11g PC card and a $50 LinkSys and a $35
    > noname card?

    I would get DLink DWL-122 mini-USB "dongles", and put them permanently up
    high in the tent/cabin, and run the USB cable to the appropriate place
    inside the tent. Some of the dongles could be in front of reflectors, some
    could be in cans for better performance. There's a separate thread running
    in this group about the mini-USB dongle.
    http://makeashorterlink.com/?L308519C8

    The price of the dongle and USB cable will be far less than a PCMCIA card
    and external antenna. Also, the high-value item will be semi-permanently
    mounted, instead of installed in a client computer. You didn't say, but I
    expect that the clients will be transient. The Dongle is currently on
    closeout for as low as $12.99 locally. This might be the last opportunity
    for purchasing new 802.11b equipment instead of "g".

    That way, people could use their own laptops, as long as they had a USB
    connector, and were willing to install the drivers. Or they could use
    their own wireless setup, if it happened to work.


    > If I'm going to get all the cards and access points at the same time,
    > is there anything to be gained from sticking with one brand?

    I'd buy all of one brand, just because you'll know how to run various
    programs and web pages without thinking about it much.

    ---
    Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8-122.5
  9. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Bob Alston <bobalston AT aol DOT com> wrote:

    > Wow! Just looked at the Streakwave site. Great looking antenna stuff!

    But it's so expensive.
    If you did the Marina over again, would you go with StreakWave?
    I didn't notice: Is your USB-cantenna for your personal use, and not
    typical of the marina installation?

    --
    ---
    Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8-122.5
  10. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    <dold@AdviceXFor.usenet.us.com> wrote in message
    news:ccvbb8$23o$3@blue.rahul.net...
    > Bob Alston <bobalston AT aol DOT com> wrote:
    >
    > > Wow! Just looked at the Streakwave site. Great looking antenna stuff!
    >
    > But it's so expensive.
    > If you did the Marina over again, would you go with StreakWave?
    > I didn't notice: Is your USB-cantenna for your personal use, and not
    > typical of the marina installation?
    >
    > --
    > ---
    > Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8-122.5
    >

    Not sure I would change the antenna I bought from www.fab-corp.com

    It was about $70 for a +11dBi antenna. Has worked out real well.

    Yes, the cantenna is for my personal use, at my desktop PC in my condo,
    adjacent to the marina.

    --
    Bob Alston


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    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
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  11. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    dold@AdviceXFor.usenet.us.com wrote in message news:<ccv95u$23o$1@blue.rahul.net>...
    > 1000 feet across? Does that mean you could locate a WAP in the center and
    > have no more than 500 feet to any client?

    Yes.

    > I would get DLink DWL-122 mini-USB "dongles", and put them permanently up
    > high in the tent/cabin, and run the USB cable to the appropriate place
    > inside the tent.

    I hadn't even considered USB items. That seems like a pretty good
    idea, if only to get the antenna up high.

    How fast are USB network adapters, relative to PC cards? (This might
    be a non-issue, given our 1-2 mbps internet downlink.)

    What's setup like? I'm used to plugging in USB devices and having
    them just "work" - what does the user need to beyond entering the
    SSID, etc?

    > You didn't say, but I expect that the clients will be transient.

    Sort of. Some present for days, some for weeks, others for months.

    > That way, people could use their own laptops, as long as they had a USB
    > connector, and were willing to install the drivers. Or they could use
    > their own wireless setup, if it happened to work.

    I'll have to look into this. Thanks for the suggestion.
  12. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    MonkeyOmen <monkeyomen@nym.hush.com> wrote:
    > How fast are USB network adapters, relative to PC cards? (This might
    > be a non-issue, given our 1-2 mbps internet downlink.)

    It's just as fast as my Orinoco B. You mentioned "g" in the subject, and
    wireless gaming between clients. There are "g" USB adapters that are USB
    2.0. My laptop is only USB 1.0, so that would be a difference, if you
    really want G gaming... but I think one "b" client would spoil that for
    most wireless networks.

    > What's setup like? I'm used to plugging in USB devices and having
    > them just "work" - what does the user need to beyond entering the
    > SSID, etc?

    Just as easy as a card. I loaded the vendor software because I wanted the
    signal utilities.

    --
    ---
    Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8-122.5
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