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Outdoor AP Solution for < 10k sqft. perimeter

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by Steve M., Sep 7, 2016.

  1. Steve M.

    Steve M. Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2016
    Messages:
    21
    Greetings SNB Forums,

    I'm looking to deploy a long range outdoor WLAN solution for a local non-profit (a cooperative farmstead / permaculture community) near Asheville, NC on approx. 2 acres of mountainous, forested terrain...
    I live 600 miles away but I'm currently onsite and volunteering for the next week (pro bono). I've been recruited to help install the WLAN across the property (mainly for online business; credit cards, basic web browsing, etc.).

    Since we are in such are rural area, ISPs are very limited, basically Hughes & Exede Satellite. Verizon coverage is limited but we do get a signal and I was considering pole mounting a 4G LTE Booster of some sort (although I'm uncertain if we could even pickup a 4G LTE signal at this point).

    Right now, I'm going to go with what is ostensibly the simplest solution and try installing a $93 Asus RT-N66U all in one Router / High Gain Wireless Access Point (Amazon Prime). I will also install the upgraded Merlin firmware on the Asus Router from the forums here to improve functionality and coverage range. My plan is to mount the router near a window on the second story of the Orchard House and use the 2.4GHz range (no competing wireless devices in the area).

    Please see a basic aerial map I created here:
    http://i.imgur.com/3iSr8o6.jpg

    Now from my research, the prosumer solution being widely deployed for campgrounds and farms (our coverage area is just under 10,000 square feet / 2.25 acres) is an outdoor wireless solution by a company called Ubiquiti. Browsing the SNB forums, I've seen people with limited experience (and the help of kindred spirits here) rolling out $15k Cisco type long range, outdoor wireless network setups for under $2k using Ubiquiti WAPs. With the patch of trees on our property though, a special 900MHz Access Point with High Gain Omni Antenna mounted with high enough clearance may be do the trick nicely...

    So far I'm leaning towards trying to create a Wireless Bridge with the Unifiy 2.4GHz Outdoor APs between the Creek House and Orchard House (please reference map linked above).

    See:
    It is more challenging to install and configure the prosumer grade Ubiquiti equpment than the consumer grade equipment like Asus & Linksys, but far more easier and much less expensive than Cisco hardware...

    Here's a local company offering services for inexpensive Internet (using Verizon) and reliable Outdoor Wireless networking (no affiliation):
    The real challenge is all the Trees — we need Mycelium Interwebs!!!

    I was thinking of a pole mount (or up a big tree) at the junction next to the pond where the road to the Creek House and Pond Cabin Intersect (there's power there and we can run a single Cat5e cable for network and power (Power over Ethernet / PoE).

    I also think it would be a good idea to run an outdoor Cat5e ethernet cable 230 ft. from the Orchard House to Community Center through some 1" Poly buried 8". This would provide a backbone and a single cable (PoE) would provide power and network to an Access Point (Ubiquiti UniFi) at the Community Center. 500 ft. of Cat5e is only $50 at home depot and I have the Crimp tool and connectors already. 500 ft. of Pull String is $13 and 200 ft. of 1" Poly is $60; so we can run a hardwired backbone between the community center and orchard house for under $100.

    Currently we have Hughes as our ISP at the Creek House uplinked to an old Linksys WRT54G Router and surprisingly I get a signal all the way to the outside of the Community Center (albeit very weak but usable).

    To keep it simple (although more expensive), our plan is to install a second Satellite ISP connection (via Exede) at the Orchard House. Again, I'm first planning to install the Asus RT-N66U in the Orchard House and hope the range will be good enough to reach the Community Center (just enough bandwidth to process Credit Cards online and basic web browsing).

    Otherwise, the installation will be significantly more involved...

    I realize there are companies that specialize in wireless network installations for forested campgrounds and broadacre farms, etc. It can get very technical and I'm not in that business to be quite honest, so it's quite a bit more work for me to design a solution considering the challenge of mountains, hills, trees, etc. on this property.

    See (found in this forum):
    Before I purchase any equipment, I would really appreciate any advise from forum members here and we are willing to pay a consulting fee and purchase equipment from any reputable vendors here willing to assist.

    Kind Regards,
    Steve M.
    Asheville, NC.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  2. schoondoggy

    schoondoggy New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2016
    Messages:
    9
    If the main need for Internet access is processing credit cards, do you really need WiFi across the entire property? My concern is, if you offer WiFi across the property, people will use it and you may end up not being able to transact credit card sales due to social media consuming all of your bandwidth. I know Hughes is not cheap, but have you considered having a Hughes uplink/connection in each building that needs connectivity? What speed is the Hughes you have today?
    If you do head down the path of WiFi across the entire property, Ubiquiti has a good offering, you should also look at EnGenius. Both have outdoor AP and wireless bridge technology.
    If you scatter WAP across the property you will want a solution that handles client hand off from AP to AP. Enterprise solutions tend to do that through wireless LAN controllers, Ubiquiti has it as a software product and EnGenius builds it into their switches.
     
  3. Steve M.

    Steve M. Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2016
    Messages:
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    Schoondoggy, thanks for your response.

    The WiFi network will be WPA2 password security enabled for staff only. Guest access could be setup with bandwidth throttling.

    High-speed Internet access is required for Staff running Internet based business besides just credit card processing (particularly Orchard House which will likely be Exede Satellite ISP (Liberty 18GB, afterwards throttled to 1Mbps-5Mbps) & Creek House which is currently Hues (30GB/mo., then throttled to dial-up speeds).

    My concern is with the trees, I hoping we can pole mount on the roofs or up some trees for better LOS. We will likely need to run PoE to a few strategic locations for that.

    Someone mentioned two RocketM900 with the Ubiquiti Yagi's may do the trick for clearing the trees but the only way to know seems to buy the equipment and test.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  4. schoondoggy

    schoondoggy New Around Here

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    How do you plan to manage two ISP's on the same network?
     
  5. Steve M.

    Steve M. Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2016
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    They will be separate networks in this usage scenario. The Orchard House will have Exede Internet. If the WAP has enough range at the Orchard House, it can share the Internet with the Community Center. If not, I can run PoE (Cat5e backbone) between the Orchard House Ubiquiti Edge Router (or Ubiquiti USG) & then install a UniFi AP at the Community Center.

    Again, the Creek House has it's own Internet via Hughes and will be on a separate network (maybe shared with the Pond Cabin).
     
  6. schoondoggy

    schoondoggy New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2016
    Messages:
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    Check the broadcast patterns on the WAPs you are considering, most are fairly spherical. Putting the WAP's on the roofs could limit your distance.
     
  7. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    14,332
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Best advice I can give for the moment - get feet on the ground and eyeball things...

    There's quite a few solutions out there - from Engenius to UBNT, but before committing to any HW purposes, you should really get out there and work the site - I can imaging off-hand a few solutions that would work, but I'm not pro-bono on a project like this one...

    Food for thought though - think two networks, one for transmission (backhaul) and one for distribution (to clients)...
     
  8. Steve M.

    Steve M. Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2016
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    Thanks for all the feedback you all; it's most appreciated!