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Hardware suggestions/choices for public WiFi system

Greetings all, I am currently administering a public WiFi hotspot for an RV park and am soon to be setting up one in a second location. The access point I'm using (Engenius ENS202EXT) is supposedly designed as a high powered device, built to be mounted outdoors and can accommodate multiple users. The problem I'm having is this: the system only reaches approximately 1/3 of way down the 5 acre property and while the property manager has given me some leeway to purchase additional equipment, I am hesitant to just buy stuff and hope that it works. My first upgrade was some higher gain antennas that bump the output up from the stock 5dbi to 16dbi. they are omnis which I was told work best when one is oriented vertically and the other horizontally. My output is set to 24 dbm (which is two points below the 26 dbm max) I was instructed by Engenius tech support to back down from the max output power setting because some WiFi radios will experience data overload and will not work.
The Engenius box (and antennas) are mounted on the side of a flat roof car-port, approx 30' in the air. My broadband service is provided by Comcast (commercial) and is their highest bandwidth offering (150 mbps) At any given time there are only about 10-12 user devices connected. Now, onto my question(s) Because I have no remote Ethernet connection, I am considering installing a WiFi repeater such as the Hawking technologies HOW2R1 near the point of signal loss. My other thought was to replace one of the existing omnis with a high gain, sector panel antenna (with a 120 degree spread) I was also looking at mesh antennas however, the ones I saw appeared to be too directional and didn't seem to have enough of a spread to cover the expanse of the property. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. -Steve J.

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All Answers

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Answer
I don't see the problem.

In reply to: Hardware suggestions/choices for public WiFi system

1/3 the way down 5 acres sounds correct to me. WiFi is short range in all cases. 100 or maybe more feet with folk that are inside a tin can usually complaining.

To cover this park you need to have more spots until you reach the saturation you are looking for.

I'm not here to design your solution. That's for the companies like Cisco and Ubitiqi to do. Call them and get them to design a solution for your acreage.

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It's obvious that you didn't understand the post...

In reply to: I don't see the problem.

I was NOT looking for someone to design a system for me, I was asking for opinions on the two solutions that I am considering so that I can make the best choice. I already know that the average range of a CONSUMER grade access point drops off after approximately 200'. Which is why I'm deploying an ENTERPRISE grade, HIGH POWER access point And my intent is to utilize an ENTERPRISE grade repeater or an ENTERPRISE grade sector panel both of which are specifically designed to extend WiFi range. I also said NOTHING about any expectations of being able to penetrate the "tin cans" that the residents reside in, I just need to get it to their door & I will have done my job. Quite honestly, I would prefer if you didn't post, if you have nothing to positive or constructive to contribute. -Steve

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And let's talk about HIGH POWER access points.

In reply to: It's obvious that you didn't understand the post...

The power is limited by FCC rules. So you can't exceed that and thus you or someone needs to design your new system.

I have run into new to this WiFi designers that want to deploy an illegal high power WiFi spot but here's the other problem of that. Your high power spot might reach the remote spots but since it's a two way system, the laptop at that remote point needs more power to get back to the high power WiFi spot.

So you want to debate here which I will not. If you want to continue I don't mind but no company I know will deploy those illegal 5 Watt WiFi spots. The fines are far too high.

Look at more WiFi spots using Cisco or Ubitiqi gear. Ubitiqi used to talk to folk about what you need. Did you call them?

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Why do you insist on flogging Cisco & Ubiquiti?

In reply to: And let's talk about HIGH POWER access points.

Yes, I'm aware of the products they both make. Do you get a commission for plugging their names? And, yes I am aware of the LEGAL power limitations maxing out at 26 dbm (400mw) I know all of that already. All you seem to be doing is referring me to these two companies and I don't get the impression that you yourself, have actually deployed any large scale, outdoor public WiFi systems. The property in question has some physical limitations...namely, flying Ethernet cables to the far corners to accommodate additional access points, etc is NOT an option as it is scheduled to be demolished and re-developed within the next 24 months so, the owners will never go for any of those sorts of expenditures which is why I am considering repeaters and/or high gain sector antennas with a 120 deg wide spread. And no, I'm also NOT looking to pay some design engineer to come in for some exorbitant fee to tell me what I already know, All I'm looking for is some practical, hands-on advice on my equipment choices from someone who has installed them and can help me differentiate between all of the different products offerings on the open market. If you can help me with that, then I'd consider your posts to actually be of some value to me

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You can google too.

In reply to: Why do you insist on flogging Cisco & Ubiquiti?

Look up Ubitiqi Alternatives. The reason for such is you are making an advanced network so you would want the Cisco, Ubitiqi or alternative system central control software.

As to cables that's your choice. There are mesh systems now that just need you to seed the spots and then configure.

About repeaters. Our office will not deploy such as they are too unreliable. Mesh is where it's at.

Want to build your own? http://owni.fr/files/2011/09/Building_a_Rural_Wireless_Mesh_Network_-_A_DIY_Guide_v0.7_65.pdf for example. But here we go with the names since our company reputation must be maintained.

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I think Bob's background in electronics and coding...

In reply to: Why do you insist on flogging Cisco & Ubiquiti?

quantifies his posts. No one is "flogging" anything here.
Dafydd.

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Thanks.

In reply to: I think Bob's background in electronics and coding...

I give everyone a lot of rope on this. They don't know me or I might not understand their views on what they want.

I'm just an electronics designer, coder with projects from military to industrial. Missiles, Cellular base stations and a router encounter (coding) in the 90s. Today it's mostly what you see here and long term support of my apps over the decades.

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You clearly don't understand the purpose of this forum

In reply to: Thanks.

Yes, you're a guy who codes for the military, and cellar companies and industrial companies for a living bla,bla bla. and you even have your buddy shill for you by saying that "...your background in electronics and coding, qualifies his posts"... All meaningless to me. You say and I quote "...I'm not here to design your solution..." well then, why are you here? and more importantly why did you respond to my post as this and every other forum that I've ever been on is primarily USER POWERED with people posting questions and knowledgeable people who may know the answers, sharing their real-life, hands on experience and knowledge with those who may not be as knowledgeable as they are. It BTW is NOT a place to go off topic and stroke your own ego about what you know and what you have done. To that end, the only little tidbit of information you have ventured to share with me regarding my question about WiFi repeaters was "...Our office will not deploy such as they are too unreliable..." No qualification, no elaboration. What does that mean? Does it mean that the throughput is unsatisfactory? or the signal drops? or is it something else? It appears that you have knowledge of networking but, choose to keep it to yourself and instead just say to me "go to Cisco or Ubiquity for the answers" So once again I ask: WHY ARE YOU A PARTICIPANT IN THIS FORUM? WHY ARE YOU HERE?

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I'm here for you.

In reply to: You clearly don't understand the purpose of this forum

I have helped more than a few setup wide area WiFi but what we deploy varies with the goals.

I think you want the one all powerful wifi router solution. I've yet to find that to cover much past 100 feet from the router. So to get more coverage we look into WAPs (wireless access points), mesh and powerline solutions. The one thing we never deploy are repeaters since these often are unreliable and result in call backs that never end.

If I upset you I apologize but hope you can get past all this and think about which solution would fit your new wide area WiFi.

As to the names I mentioned these are notable along with their rivals since after the initial WiFi deployment the builder and owner wants a central control system to update, reboot, and maintain user accounts for the system.

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