Long distance WiFi over mountain.

Xylomain

Thread Starter
Member
Jul 2, 2015
6
1
NE Tennessee
First off: Amazing site. Packed with info.

Now my idea: I live in a rather remote region(according to my local cable provider(hint it's bs)) which results in them not running the cables my way. I plan on, if all goes well, to beam a high speed data connection over a mountain.

First step is to gain access to the mountain top for my purposes. Doubtful but we'll assume I get permission for the sake of discussion.

Next step is to build the wifi antennas. I have a ton of old satellite dishes just taking up space which I plan on turning into the antennas.

Equipment as follows:
4 satellite dishes converted to antenna.
1 bridge(not sure of the specifics here maybe a wired ethernet bridge)
1 car battery
a few solar panels to charge battery

I have a perfect straight shot to the top of the mountain in the distance. And a straight shot from the top of the mountain to a friends place that has access to cable internet. I plan on bridging my network with his via the 4 dishes and the bridge in the middle. Each dish is going to have a helical antenna positioned in the focal point of the dish connected to a USB wifi adapter with external antenna(attached to the helical antenna via pigtail).

My Network <----> dish 1 </\/\/\/\> dish 2 <------> bridging device/battery/solar panels <-----> dish 3 </\/\/\/\> dish 4 <----> cable

I hope the above does well enough at describing what my intentions are. Total straight line distance is 3.952 miles, completely within the range of possibility and budget.

Is there any other way I could relay the signal over the mountain other than 2 dishes and a bridge/battery/solar panels?

I'm currently paying too much for Verizon HomeFusion. 130 a month for 30gb. It's ridiculous. If I get this bridge working I'll get my own connection hooked up at his address and beam it that way it can't be viewed as "stealing" since I'm paying for it directly.

I can't get cable(obviously) or DSL. The only other option is satellite which has a data cap, usually crappy speeds in my experience, and terrible latency.

Any suggestions or advice? It's all greatly appreciated. Specifically the bridging device and antenna type.

Edit: Here is a picture of the approximate locations and altitude graph.
 
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Titanium

AI6US
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May 23, 2013
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Interesting project. No, you will not be stealing, just relaying your signal. >4 miles point to point is not a long distance for line of sight and this type of equipment should be capable. If there is no line of sight between, it would require a bridge point.

Some questions with the most important first since you are planning to use unlicensed public frequencies:
Site check the channels along the complete path for other users? Site check with the dish and pointed as would be used.
What size dishes?
Mounting the USB WiFi dongle at the dish?
What band?
Would regional weather support solar panel exclusive battery charging?
Need to transmit 24/7 or timer off to reserve batteries?

I use Ubiquiti 2.4GHz PicoStation M2HP units for a .5 mile link with a 36" parabolic on one side and 24" on other end. Should have gone with a 36" on each end for tighter beam to reduce occasional interference. Not sure if I would attempt with USB WiFi dongles as I want a reliable link for HD video viewing of 5-40meg transport streams. The Ubiquiti gear provides the ability to adjust many parameters not available on a WiFi dongle.
 
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Xylomain

Thread Starter
Member
Jul 2, 2015
6
1
NE Tennessee
Site check the channels along the complete path for other users? I will when I build the first antenna.

What size dishes? I plan on using 4 directv slimline 22.5in x 32in that have fine adjustment knobs.

Mounting the USB WiFi dongle at the dish? Probably. It'll be easier to connect it to the external antenna that's mounted in the focal point.

What band? What band are you asking about? WiFi?

Would regional weather support solar panel exclusive battery charging? Just going by the fact that my wireless router runs on 12V 0.5A, provided a bridge is similar, wouldn't take much more to keep it full and recharge what was used over night. But I did have the idea to add a small diy wind turbine to supplement it.

Need to transmit 24/7 or timer off to reserve batteries? 24/7

Sent from my XT875 using Tapatalk
 

Titanium

AI6US
Lifetime Supporter
May 23, 2013
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Meadow Vista, Northern California
Thanks for providing the additional information. Definitely oversize the panels and regulate everything. Great idea to add a wind turbine, but the power accessories could easily blow a budget.

The WiFi bands are on 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5GHz. While 900MHz is crowded in suburbia, it is good for long distance in areas with low levels of interference especially if there are a few trees in the fresnel zone. Great in fade fade conditions.

2.4GHz is crowded with the most WiFi routers, but it is good for long haul point to point if low or no interference and pretty good if a few trees and during rain fade conditions.

5GHz has the least amount of usage and standard wifi omni directional zones cover a short distance, so local interference will be less of a problem. More prone to attenuation during rain fade events. Must be line of sight with no trees or any blockage.

The modified satellite dish with an optimized feed might yield 20dB on 2.4GHz and -3dB beamwidth at 9-10 degrees. It will perform ok if there is little interference within or near the mainlobe.

With a .5 amp @ 12VDC power requirement, your wireless router is likely only outputting 300mW. If on 2.4GHz band this is probably not enough power for a reliable 2 mile link. You probably should consider higher power units capable of higher output. This will have a higher power requirement, but likely could be reduced to provide appropriate output for the link EIRP.

Here is a great resource for determining the gain, loses and output requirements.
http://www.radiolabs.com/stations/wifi_calc.html
 

Xylomain

Thread Starter
Member
Jul 2, 2015
6
1
NE Tennessee
Thanks for the info! I have a few questions:

How would you handle the bridging point? Hardware, power, everything.

What kind of speeds can I get with 900MHz and 2.4GHz? I'll use 900MHz if it has enough throughput.

Can you recommend what wifi hardware I could use on the dishes? You mentioned Ubiquiti 2.4GHz PicoStation M2HP works well for your .5 mile link. Would it stand up to my requirements?
 

Stargazer

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 7, 2003
16,563
337
Western WV
You may have a chance to get around the mountain with the new whitespaces equipment available on the market that uses unused tv broadcast channels. Whitespaces uses a lower frequency that is better able to go around terrain and leaves. Just look how well it works for tv stations. The bandwidth would be less though.
 
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Titanium

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May 23, 2013
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Meadow Vista, Northern California
Throughput speed will depend on the signal quality for each hop and the number of devices and mode the equipment is operated.

It is a guessing game of what is the best antenna and AP without a site survey to know what band or equipment would be appropriate for your PtP. I selected 2.4GHz because I knew that 900MHz band was in heavy use in my area. Unfortunately, 5GHz was not an option because of a light stand of trees preventing perfect line of sight. I did a 2.4GHz survey with a laptop and handheld yagi antenna "sniffing" the area between the sites (including many miles behind each site) for potential interference. Even with the preinstall ground level site survey, I had to change original set-up plans when the antenna was raised to 60'. Significant interference suddenly appeared from an AP 25+ miles behind my target AP and knocked the throughput down to a trickle! Hadn't even had a hint of the interfering AP until the parabolic antenna was at the top of the tower. Luckily, there were several channels that were open at that height. Even the best made plans have a curveball!

5GHz may be an excellent solution for your area. Do you have many houses or businesses within the fresnel of both hops? If so, they may have many 900MHz/2.4GHZ devices and 5GHz would be much less noisy. Are there any trees or obstructions that prevent perfect line of sight between the antennas? If you can see the other antenna with scope or binoculars, 5GHz might be the best band. Do you experience extremely heavy and frequent rain/snow? If not, 5GHz would be an excellent band.

The easiest bridge would be to install a single unit operated in bridge mode to an omnidirectional antenna. This likely wouldn't work for these distances. To avoid the halving of throughput when using a single unit in bridge mode, consider installing two AP units connected with a 12VDC Input, 2 port, POE/switch. These are also available in 24V input for less conversion loss and connected to a more robust battery system.

You might also be interested in the all-in-one Ubiquiti NanoBridge units for the hop. Models are available for each band. https://www.ubnt.com/airmax/nanobridgem/

Regardless of the band or model, I would use Ubiquiti AirOS /AirMAX compatible devices for all AP connections as all devices can be controlled and optimized from your home station using AirOS. The entire system can be encrypted locked IP addresses and locked to automatically sync or restore to home station settings. Sure beats having to go to each unit with a laptop!
 

Xylomain

Thread Starter
Member
Jul 2, 2015
6
1
NE Tennessee
Thanks for all of the info! I looked into TV Whitespace and am going to talk to my Mayor about possibly getting a setup going. A company called Carlson Wireless Technologies has some amazing sounding equipment capable of many miles of service.

And yes there are a lot of trees in my area. It's a rather unpopulated area so 2.4GHz and 900MHz seem to be the best bet. If I'm given more or less full access to the land the hop point will be on I could cut trees for 5GHz to be used. On the other side of the mountain there might be 2.4GHz interference because of the end points closer proximity to a population center.
 

Stargazer

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 7, 2003
16,563
337
Western WV
Carlson Wireless is who I was referring to with the whitespaces hardware available. I am curious how well it works with the terrain compared to the 900 mhz equipment. I know that it can get pricey though. Let us know how it works out for you.
 

KE4EST

SatelliteGuys Is My Second Home
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Been following this. Yes, keep us updated.

BTW: Welcome to SatelliteGuys!!!
 

al

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Jan 3, 2004
484
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Montgomery City, MO
The Carlson Wireless TVWS does propagate better than 900 MHz, mostly because of a lower noise floor. However, like 900 MHz, does not have a lot of throughput. The interface is kind of clunky to work with. Very expensive for what you get. We were disappointed overall. They are releasing gen3 product next year, which hopefully will be better.

If really interested in TVWS, you may want to look at Runcom. I have not used their product personally, but have heard good things about their TVWS offering.
 

Xylomain

Thread Starter
Member
Jul 2, 2015
6
1
NE Tennessee
I've sent an email to Carlson friday and haven't received a response yet. I'll try sending another one and I'll actually call them in the morning.

I did email Runcom as well. Will keep you posted.

I have opened a gofundme for the project, if you want to donate pm me for a link. I'm not interested in begging or getting banned after just finding such an amazing forum.

Going to put fliers out around the community in hopes of raising awareness. I didn't get to talk to the mayor today. If he's in tomorrow I'm definitely going to talk to him about it.

Back to the Point to Point relay, I would assume there aren't many DIY solutions regarding a good connection. I'll do some more research into Ubiquiti hardware.

Regarding the bridge point, is there any way to "bend" a signal? I know radio waves, and light for that matter, can be twisted. Would a metal reflector of some kind work? Like maybe bounce it off of a bigger dish or some kind of DIY metal reflector? Or using a waveguide conduit of some sort to redirect the signal?
 

Titanium

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May 23, 2013
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Meadow Vista, Northern California
From your first post I had assumed that when you said you had "perfect straight shot", you meant unobstructed line of sight. If there are trees preventing you from seeing one antenna mounting location to the other, you don't have line of sight. PtP needs line of sight to provide any amount of reliability on either 900MHz or 2.4GHz. Two miles through numerous trees isn't feasible on either band.

At this frequency, low power and possible obstructions... Passive reflectors are not an option.
 

Xylomain

Thread Starter
Member
Jul 2, 2015
6
1
NE Tennessee
So I would need to use the powered bridge. Ok you have been a great help! I greatly appreciate it! If anything develops I'll make sure to post about it!
 

Stargazer

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 7, 2003
16,563
337
Western WV
I have really been wanting to try out white space frequencies to see how signal quality compared to 900/2.4 seeing how I am in a region with lots of terrain and trees. I am surprised it has not taken off more than it has although this is relatively new still.
 

al

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Jan 3, 2004
484
42
Montgomery City, MO
I have really been wanting to try out white space frequencies to see how signal quality compared to 900/2.4 seeing how I am in a region with lots of terrain and trees. I am surprised it has not taken off more than it has although this is relatively new still.
TVWS equipment is very expensive, but the prices are coming down. There are very stringent rules to follow, and uncertainty regarding the channels available due to an incentive auction the FCC is holding next year in the white space frequencies.

Our Carlson system is performing better now. It appears we had an issue with our base station. We had it repaired and it is working better. Total throughput at 16 QAM is about 11/8 Mbps. Gen3 will allow channel bonding, which will allow more bandwidth, as a 6 MHz TV channel does not allow for much speed.

It has been our experience so far that trees are not much of an issue, providing there is some distance between them and the antenna. Terrain is a different matter. If there is a hill in the path, the other antenna needs to be a good distance from the hill on the other side to get a usable signal. If the customer location is close to the back side of the hill, it will not work at all.
 

satinstallerguy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 18, 2013
236
12
Cleveland, Ohio
Interesting project. No, you will not be stealing, just relaying your signal. >4 miles point to point is not a long distance for line of sight and this type of equipment should be capable. If there is no line of sight between, it would require a bridge point.

Some questions with the most important first since you are planning to use unlicensed public frequencies:
Site check the channels along the complete path for other users? Site check with the dish and pointed as would be used.
What size dishes?
Mounting the USB WiFi dongle at the dish?
What band?
Would regional weather support solar panel exclusive battery charging?
Need to transmit 24/7 or timer off to reserve batteries?

I use Ubiquiti 2.4GHz PicoStation M2HP units for a .5 mile link with a 36" parabolic on one side and 24" on other end. Should have gone with a 36" on each end for tighter beam to reduce occasional interference. Not sure if I would attempt with USB WiFi dongles as I want a reliable link for HD video viewing of 5-40meg transport streams. The Ubiquiti gear provides the ability to adjust many parameters not available on a WiFi dongle.
I wouldn't use those.... I would go with 2 Litebeam AC's running on an 80 mhz channel .....
 

Nascarken 91xg

On Vacation
Apr 26, 2016
229
42
Southbrige mass
First off: Amazing site. Packed with info.

Now my idea: I live in a rather remote region(according to my local cable provider(hint it's bs)) which results in them not running the cables my way. I plan on, if all goes well, to beam a high speed data connection over a mountain.

First step is to gain access to the mountain top for my purposes. Doubtful but we'll assume I get permission for the sake of discussion.

Next step is to build the wifi antennas. I have a ton of old satellite dishes just taking up space which I plan on turning into the antennas.

Equipment as follows:
4 satellite dishes converted to antenna.
1 bridge(not sure of the specifics here maybe a wired ethernet bridge)
1 car battery
a few solar panels to charge battery

I have a perfect straight shot to the top of the mountain in the distance. And a straight shot from the top of the mountain to a friends place that has access to cable internet. I plan on bridging my network with his via the 4 dishes and the bridge in the middle. Each dish is going to have a helical antenna positioned in the focal point of the dish connected to a USB wifi adapter with external antenna(attached to the helical antenna via pigtail).

My Network <----> dish 1 </\/\/\/\> dish 2 <------> bridging device/battery/solar panels <-----> dish 3 </\/\/\/\> dish 4 <----> cable

I hope the above does well enough at describing what my intentions are. Total straight line distance is 3.952 miles, completely within the range of possibility and budget.

Is there any other way I could relay the signal over the mountain other than 2 dishes and a bridge/battery/solar panels?

I'm currently paying too much for Verizon HomeFusion. 130 a month for 30gb. It's ridiculous. If I get this bridge working I'll get my own connection hooked up at his address and beam it that way it can't be viewed as "stealing" since I'm paying for it directly.

I can't get cable(obviously) or DSL. The only other option is satellite which has a data cap, usually crappy speeds in my experience, and terrible latency.

Any suggestions or advice? It's all greatly appreciated. Specifically the bridging device and antenna type.

Edit: Here is a picture of the approximate locations and altitude graph.
Yes sounds awesome,use a jell battery thay last longer.
and use a good hi power amp to stop the dropouts
in the ?&snow!!
and how far from point A,to power axsess,
Use outdoor cat5,it should be good for 300ft,
to power up the sistom,good luck.
 
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harshness

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May 5, 2007
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2,613
Salem, OR
Yes sounds awesome,use a jell battery thay last longer.
Deep-cycle AGM batteries have significant advantages over gel cells where exposure to extreme temperatures is a concern. Designing solar systems that support the relatively slow charge rate and constant voltage requirements of gel cells isn't easy or cheap. This means that you have to use quite a few more batteries that are much more expensive so you can "make hay while the sun shines".
 
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KE4EST

SatelliteGuys Is My Second Home
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Lifetime Supporter
Aug 9, 2004
25,351
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EM75xb
Yes sounds awesome,use a jell battery thay last longer.
and use a good hi power amp to stop the dropouts
in the ?&snow!!
and how far from point A,to power axsess,
Use outdoor cat5,it should be good for 300ft,
to power up the sistom,good luck.
You do realize this thread is almost two years old and the TS has not been here since.
 
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