Does router TX power affect Nanostation compatibility and how does it impact range?

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anoukaimee

Occasional Visitor
I am pretty new to all of this, but have done a lot of research and cannot find an answer to my question. Hoping someone can help.

I have an ASUS RT-56U (2x2 MIMO, ac-1200 (?)), running on ASUS-Merlin. Sharing bandwidth with my best friend upstairs because I'm on a fixed income and he's happy to do it. MoCA and powerline adapters are out of the question for various reasons, so have settled on the Ubiquiti Nanostation m5 loco configured to create a wifi hotspot in my apartment like so. So the basic goal is to get maximum range.

ASUS-Merlin has a private fork that enables you to amp up your TX power quite a bit (up to 30dBM/1000W from the default 80W). Not going to go far at all because I don't want to end up with a sizzling mess of a dead router, or go way outside the legal limits in the USA (I understand the legal implications and impact on neighbors, and plan to follow all guidelines suggested to avoid unduly stepping on others' bandwidth/power, so no need for info on that).

I'm a networking newbie and don't understand how transmit power works fully; some things I've read say that doing too much tweaking upwards will degrade the range (and kill your router, of course).

More importantly, I'm wondering how increasing the transmit power would affect the power/performance of the Nanostation. If, for instance, I increased the power on the router to 300mW (gain of approximately 20 dBi; just a hypothetical figure), would the output from the Nanostation (rated at 13dBi) stay the same or would it just be mooted? Is there anything to gain from increasing the transmit power? And if the overall power would be greater at a higher dBi overall, would that positively impact the range of the wifi signal?

The Nanostation M5 loco specs can be found here (PDF).

I know this involves ASUS Merlin firmware to some extent, but since the general question is about transmit power and the Nanostation, I thought it best to post here. If an admin thinks it should be moved, please feel free (of course).

Thank you!
 

System Error Message

Part of the Furniture
tx power has nothing to do with compatibility. Increasing tx power increases the range of the transmitted signal but not the received signal so devices think they have better signal but their signals to the AP also matters.

You will find many non consumer APs offering such high tx power, they arent meant for normal indoor use. People use them to create point to point links usually using 2 of the same APs with a dish or directional antenna. So just because the AP supports 1.5W of tx power and you can see it a mile away doesnt mean you can use it from that distance as the client signals wont reach.

Set you tx power based on the range you want to use it. Too much makes you too visible. Usually what i do is set 2.4Ghz to minimum tx power and 5ghz to max depending on the area i want to cover. High tx power doesnt give faster speeds, it can reduce speeds as the wifi chip has to deal with the amplifier noise, this is why you dont get great speeds with the nanostation m5 despite its range.
 

anoukaimee

Occasional Visitor
tx power has nothing to do with compatibility. Increasing tx power increases the range of the transmitted signal but not the received signal so devices think they have better signal but their signals to the AP also matters.

You will find many non consumer APs offering such high tx power, they arent meant for normal indoor use. People use them to create point to point links usually using 2 of the same APs with a dish or directional antenna. So just because the AP supports 1.5W of tx power and you can see it a mile away doesnt mean you can use it from that distance as the client signals wont reach.

Set you tx power based on the range you want to use it. Too much makes you too visible. Usually what i do is set 2.4Ghz to minimum tx power and 5ghz to max depending on the area i want to cover. High tx power doesnt give faster speeds, it can reduce speeds as the wifi chip has to deal with the amplifier noise, this is why you dont get great speeds with the nanostation m5 despite its range.

Ok. I'm shooting for range, not speed, so that's cool. And I would definitely test it out and find the lowest possible optimal transmit power that worked well.

I just wanted to make sure that if i upped the router tx it wouldn't then be capped by the nanostation tx; that is, if I set the router at 20 dBi it wouldn't make a difference because it was transmitting to me through the nanostation, which it is 13 dBi. That is, whether I might get a net increase in range if I upped the transmit power in the router.

Just want to know if it might be worth tinkering with my firmware given that it would be attached to the nanostation. Can u add anything on that?

Thanks!
 

YeOldeStonecat

Very Senior Member
Nano's are focused, narrow beam, they're meant to create point to point bridges for a good distance. Example...connect a building to another building 3 miles away, via a wireless bridge. You put one at each end. It's not omnidirectional. Or...as in the bunch I've been installing this past summer at marinas and campgrounds, we use them to shoot across a distance to another up on a pole or mast..and then off of the back of the remote one, hang an outdoor Unifi access point. They'll go over 15 km distance....their transmit power is for point to point range. Yeah you can create a narrow POV area of reception...but no wireless client will have a wireless NIC with enough nutsack to answer back the signal that distance.

For maximum signal indoors, of the airfiber family..check out a Picostation. Basically the most powerful access point there is, of the AirMAX family it's primary purpose is to be an access point (it's a base station)
 
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