Long Range Wifi: success.

Yesterday evening PA2AYX and me managed to establish our first reliable long range Wifi connection. Before we did, I replaced the 16-element Yagi by a Grid Antenna, because I had some doubts about the Chinese-made thing. In the end this proved to be unjust, but I left the Grid on my roof anyway. The advantage of a Grid instead of the Yagi is the smaller opening angle, 14 degrees instead of 23 degrees. Gain is about the same, 24dBi versus 25dBi. Some more accuracy is required when pointing the antenna to the other station though.

Measuring 100cm by 60cm, this is not a small antenna!

We agreed that my system would be set up as an access point, and Dirk’s system would be configured as a client router. The way this works is easy to understand: client means that his system is configured to pick up a host (my access point), and router means that his system will hand out IP addresses to all the connected clients.

Setup at PD0AC
Grid Antenna – EnGenius 2611P (AP mode) – Switch – Modem/Router – Internet.

Setup at PA2AYX
16-element Yagi Antenna – EnGenius 5611P (client router mode) – Switch – Clients (desktops, notebooks)

Internet speed was fine at Dirk’s end. Later in the evening Dirk upped the stakes by hooking up his D-Star repeater to the system. To our surprise, this worked without a hitch. Speaking of stealing bandwidth!

Plans for the coming days: bridging
The next step is to connect our two wired LANs by putting both EnGenius system into bridge mode. Some adjustments have to be made before we can do that. Both our networks reside in the 192.168.2.xxx range, and that isn’t going to work. After all, bridging is all about connecting two networks which can’t see each other because of incompatible IP-ranges.  I will change my network to reside in the 192.168.1.xxx range instead.

Some numbers
Both EnGenius systems generate 28dBm, which equals to 600mW. In our setup there are no cable losses to take into account. When converting this to ERP or EIRP, this is what our antennas spit out:

OK, not enough to fry a bird sitting on our antennas, but impressive nonetheless. And slightly illegal, so we keep our systems on the air as short as possible.

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5 comments on “Long Range Wifi: success.

  1. I know very little about WiFi – least of all the operating frequency – but had you thought of using solid parabolic dishes for this experiment? Would that give any advantage over a grid? How long is the ‘long range’ in your experiment?

    Paul

    • I consider anything over 200 meters, the average range of a normal AP / outdoor omnidirectional antenna setup, ‘long range’. In the end we hope to hit the 10 Km mark though. One step at the time.

      Not sure about the dishes, I learn as I go. They might be better, they might not. I borrowed this grid from another ham operator. The only thing I don’t like is its size. The smaller, the better, like the Yagi. More stealthy, if you know what I mean ;)

      Hans

  2. What distance km did you work? What was sntenna altitude?
    The grid in your picture is a small one not the 24 dbi model. The beamwidth at 24 dbi id just 7 degrees. Yes many china yagis are over rated
    73 dx de W4AWI

    • Hi Raul,

      the distance was about 1 Km. Altitude is 14 meters, unfortunately we do not have completely free line of sight (far from it), and the photograph is a stock photo. I’ll replace it with a real life pic, thanks!

      I have free line of sight to other Ham operators though, up to 7 km (about 5 miles). I know that we could go up to 10-20 miles, given the right circumstances. We’ll try that, but we’ll start small.

      Hans

  3. There are people using long-distance WiFi here to connect D-Star repeater controllers without local Internet access to distant points where such access is available. I believe the D-Star repeater K2PUT/R is still using that approach with “Ubiquiti” modems over a line-of-sight path of several Km. Such performance is not at all unusual.. but leafy trees in the path are evidently very good as attenuators! Evidently one needs true line-of-sight.

    73 de
    Jess ND1L

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