Outdoor antenna connected to WRT54G

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by though, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. though

    though Network Guru Member

    i have 2 wrt54g's that i want to set up using WDS. however they are just out of reach out of each other. can i get an outdoor antenna, mount it to my roof and connect it to 1 of the WRT's? if so, can you give me some sort of direction / recommendations... would i need one on both WRT's?

    i was looking at this antenna:

    Buffalo Tech Outdoor External Antenna
  2. mingkee

    mingkee Network Guru Member

    since Linksys routers/APs employ RP-TNC
    ANY 2.4GHz antenna with RP-TNC plug should work
  3. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Network Guru Member

    I am working on a wireless project with the goal to get net to my grnadparents who live down the street to me, and see how far I can hit it. I left my transmit power at the stock 28mw, and mounted a 8db omni-directional antenna on my roof. It reaches just short of .8 miles. I just got the 15db omni in, but I haven't installed it yet. And now for a pic of it....
    http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a325/crawdaddy444/wireless project/STA60052.jpg
  4. though

    though Network Guru Member

    hey crawdaddy that looks cool. so you were able to pick up the signal with the 8db omnidirectional? does it plug into just 1 of the antenna ports i assume?

  5. Tomchu

    Tomchu Network Guru Member

    If you want to focus the signal in only a particular direction, you shouldn't be using an omni-directional antenna.

    If you want to improve the quality/strength of the signal between both routers, I would increase the transmit power on both as well. That way, when one router shouts to the other, the second can shout back just as strongly. :p
  6. PrimalScream

    PrimalScream Network Guru Member

    I agree... two directional antennas for point to point.

    Crawdaddy- I just hooked up my 15dbi omni (connected with a 100' LMR-600 jumper) this weekend, boosted the power to 100% within tofu v.10 and I'm throwing over a mile strong! Let me know what you get. :)
  7. though

    though Network Guru Member

  8. PrimalScream

    PrimalScream Network Guru Member

    How much money do you have? :D

    Seriously, a directional at each end should work for most situations. The distance and all obstacles between end-points are the variables that will determine the best antennas for each situation.

    So give us as much information as you can.
  9. though

    though Network Guru Member

    i already have the 2 wrt's. my budget on an antenna or 2 antennas is around 200$. there isn't a direct line of site, but its pretty close. maybe 1 building between the 2 wrt's and it isn't any taller than the buildings i have the wrt's at.
  10. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Network Guru Member

    primal, what are you using on the other end of the 15db omni, another router or a client computer? I have a laptop with a wifi PC card as my client for it. I still haven't mounted the antenna yet, but I will update you when I do get it up.
  11. PrimalScream

    PrimalScream Network Guru Member

    Linksys WRT54G v.4 is connected to the outdoor omni.
  12. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    Best solutions for point-to-point links is ALWAYS a pair of directional antenna. You are doing P-t-P why toss most of available signal power into wrong directions? Think of it like a reflector for a flashlight bulb, but increase ability to HEAR weak signals not just transmit further. This is 2-way after all. Will also hear less well in wrong directions so less susceptible to interference sources in other directions.

    Omni is a good choice if you want 360-degree coverage for roaming around the yard, bad choice for just about any other use. Might work okay, but not ideal. Omni will also accept INTERFERENCE signals from all directions, not good.

    What kind of directional is tough to say, depends on the job. Medium distance, clear open view, maybe small panel antenna. Longer distance or partial obstructions maybe a grid dish antenna.

    My favorite vendor is HyperLinkTech, check them out.
  13. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    I hope you are not living next door to me. Enough interference from other WiFi devices already in my neighborhood. Doesn't that violate power-limits? I thought with high-gain antenna there were strict power limits? Such that if you had a high-gain antenna you couldn't also use an amplifier as that would violate power limits, and you might end up with humorless gov't people knocking on your door.
  14. though

    though Network Guru Member

    ok it sounds like getting a pair of directional antennas is the way to go, one on each wrt54g. now, does the antenna just plug into 1 of the antenna ports and the other antenna stays where it is to cover the area around the router?
  15. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    In all areas, the maximum radio transmitter power and the maximum effective radiated power (essentially the power output at the antenna) are strictly limited. In the U.S., maximum transmitter power is 1 watt, and maximum effective radiated power is 4 watts (an antenna which concentrates 1 watt of transmitter energy into 1/4 of an "omnidirectional" sphere will achieve 4 watts of effective power)

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi
  16. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    Yes, pick a port and hook it up. In firmware you set all TX and RX to the new antenna only. In most firmware "left" is as seen from rear of unit not front.
  17. PrimalScream

    PrimalScream Network Guru Member

    VF- I don't live "next-door" to anyone, so you're safe. :)

    My nearest neighbors are about 3/4 of a mile from me and I am intentionally trying to connect to them.

    NH- I have turned down my power a little, but it's good to know that I can go up to an entire 1-Watt (as opposed to the maximum 84-mW I am currently at). Thanks for the info. :)

    Though- Yea, that's what I did... pretty simple. :)
  18. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    I'm curious (and if anyone feels I'm hijacking the thread, please say so and I'll start a new one)...

    I want to do something really bizarre. My mother lives in rural Maine. There are two WAP's that she can get to.

    One is three miles away, and located in a library. No line of sight. So I know I'm SOL there.

    The other is a "payfer" 802.11b WAP in Camden, which is set up on a mountain that is line of sight, but 24+ miles away and they're not likely to put up a point-to-point for her.

    I have a couple of old DirectTV style satellite antennae banging about, and I don't mind buying a WRT54GS, add a good antenna to it located at the feed horn point on one of the old sat dishes for severe directionality, and run its antenna up to try it. Do I stand a snowball's chance in hell, or am I wasting my time?

    The company claims success up to 20 miles. I don't know how much of that is real and how much is puffery, but they do wireless Internet for $15 a month, and her dialup is capped by the telephone company at 28.8K, so she's pretty desparate for SOMETHING.


    Another thing I'm trying to sell the company on is making my mother's house an access point, as she's at the top of a good hill and gets a GREAT view 360', with a clear 12-mile shot to Bar Harbor. So if the company could hook up a Point-point long haul to her house and another to Bar Harbor, she could be some seriously valuable real estate for them. They are trying to mesh Maine without dealing with traditional Internet connections.
  19. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    Plenty of people have done longer shots than 20 miles. Of course typically these stories like the DefCon guys are working from mountain-to-mountain across desert valley floor, no question about Fresnel Zone clearance.

    A popular setup seems to be using a cantenna at the feed location. Plenty of web pages about just that sort of thing. However, don't expect this to be a one-afternoon project, you will probably fiddle with it for quite a while. To get it stable will require a really stable mounting plaform for the dish as at those distances a degree or two off will probably mean no signal.

    You won't really know until you try it.

    Be sure to drop in a story at BroadbandReports.com forum for "Wireless Networking" if you suceed.
  20. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Network Guru Member

    there is minimal wifi interference in my neighborhood. With my 8db antenna, I can pink up all the routers that are broadcasting their SSID in my area. There are 5 at best. I am laso using a Hyperlink Tech antenna. I chose the omni b/c I am also working on a project to build a huge wireless network. Still don't have the hyperlink 15db omni up yet, but I jsut got the guy wires to keep the mast stable with that huge bad boy up there ;) BTW, I'm also keeping my transmit power at the stock 28mw, don't wanna run into any FCC tropuble if I can avoide it :) Does anyone have any formul or method to figure out exactly how much power I'm radiating? I got the specs on my losses and stuff, just don't know how to put the peices together to get the answer.
  21. though

    though Network Guru Member

    ok what about being able to connect wireless clients around each of the 2 routers. will setting the TX and RX to the "new antenna only" mess up the area around the routers for wireless clients?


  22. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    I think you are missing an important point here.

    The P-t-P pair *should* only be talking to each other. Do not also expect them to handle local clients as well. Pick one task or the other.

    My backhaul pair connecting 2 houses, have a separate SSID and use a WPA-PSK 63-character key known only to me and them, no client units have it.

    If you want to handle local WiFi clients put up separate AP's for that. I picked up some SMC AP's on sale gave them a simple WEP-128 key for household traffic. With a 6 dBi omni that was $5 after rebate they do a great job of local client handling.
  23. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    You should hang out at Broadbandreports.com "Wireless Networking" forum, plenty of expertise there.

    I run a broad area network, but I do it with 120-degree sector antenna and a WRT for each one. I love sector antenna, just lovely shaped signal patterns, easy to downtilt to control signal footprint. Cheapish these days too, and you can set channel in each sector to the one with least interference. I do my level best to keep LMR-400 antenna leads to 10-foot max on all installs. Easier to find an enclosure for the WRT, and put some ramsinks on the couple of hot chips and put it outside these days. I do have one setup that's got about 20-feet of cable, but I try to avoid unless there are compelling reasons like an enticing nearby network closet.

    The "RooTenna" units from PacWireless and Fab-Corp are also pretty sweet as client-end pickup units. If you haven't seen them already, you should give a look. A bit of PoE to get power to the RooTenna package and you're gold.
  24. though

    though Network Guru Member

    so when using 2 wrt54g routers in WDS mode, you are not able to connect any other WIRELESS clients to them? i thought this was possible?!?!?!?

    i first read about WDS in these 2 links:




  25. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    Is it possible, yes.

    Is it a good idea, no.

    Let me point out we are not talking in recent posts about just doing a little household range-extender setup. That is what WDS in your nice friendly cartoony vendor diagrams is all about. You want to do Point-to-Point right?

    Point-to-Point bridges between networks in different houses is a different animal. For P-t-P, you want ONE directional antenna, one radio, doing one job. Every n00b at some point has a vision of a WRT with one dish and one high-gain omni, or even 2 dishes pointed in different directions, an idea that can limp along if traffic is light but is a bad idea to start with and should be avoided.

    In a way, expecting the one radio to handle both very distant and very local clients is something that ACUTELY highlights what is called the "hidden node problem". In a household, clients generally are all within radio reach of each other so it's not usually a constant problem. Most of the times client radio can see the channel is already busy and they do their CSMA/CD magic and wait their turns.

    Let me make an analogy. You are trying to have an intelligent conversation with someone at the next table. In the meanwhile your kids are tugging on your sleeve every second with some silly questions. The adult and the kids are oblivious to each other and talk to you as if you were not dividing your attention. Hard to handle both tasks very well at once eh? If the conversation is say about intense math, and the kids are very pesky eventually you will lose it, and either give up on the conversation or tell the kids to shut up.

    Same thing.

    I have units running in WDS and doing both backhaul and local client at the same time. I do not however expect very much of these setups nor do I overstress them. I could go into the technical details, but quite aside from the bandwidth-halving problem of WDS, there is a simple physical problem of there is only one radio in the box.

    This one radio cannot deal with 2 antennas SIMULTANEOUSLY. Now, pay close attention here. The fact that your WRT may have 2 antenna ports on it, means it was designed for something called diversity. This helps with indoor multipath reflection problems. There is an algorithm in the unit that looks at which antenna will give it the best signal during that timeslice and uses that one. Next timeslice it judges again. Works great in indoor environments with identical antenna. However, and again you have to think hard about this, at NO TIME IS IT LISTENING TO BOTH ANTENNA AT ONCE.

    A, or B, but not both at once. So, follow along here and see how you are expecting it do a whizzo job on 2 very different things. On A we have a long-distance dish with some very important data-stream like Aunt-Millies timing-critical VoIP phone call. Over on B we have the omni with some laptop-yutz who is tuned to a streaming radio station they aren't really listening to. While the WRT radio is paying attention to A we are not paying attention to B or vice-versa. So if there is much traffic at all on A and B, we are going to miss packets on one of them or probably both. Neither client has any way to know when they are or are not being listened to, so they blindly transmit and then sit around wondering why they haven't heard an acknowledgement. Missed packets mean dropouts, retransmits, weirdly fast/slow behaviour.

    In short, don't do it. You want 2 jobs done right, get a radio dedicated to each job. Get my point now?

    I actually wish they shipped WRT's with just one antenna post. It would cut down a lot on the number of times I've had to answer this question. I use the WDS mode, but only for it's bridging aspect not for it's single-radio-repeater junk unless I'm backed into a corner.
  26. PrimalScream

    PrimalScream Network Guru Member

    Thanks vincentfox. Your explaination makes perfect sense and has cleared up some of the confusion I had on this also.

    Like though, I had similar questions. I have installed the single high-gain omni at my location and a few smaller directionals at the other locations, connected directly to the only pc at each site (all pointing back to me). If they ever need expanded local wireless connectivity, I'll keep your info in mind and just get additional AP's to do the job.

  27. CookeSkyVista

    CookeSkyVista Network Guru Member

    this thread is good. I have another one going with this same issue that isnt getting many responses.

    I have two WRT54GS that I am trying to link over a 50-100' distance. Its a prett clear shot.

    Router A is the main router on my system. It has the Internet connection. It also has two computers hardwired into it AND another router hardwired that acts as the local wireless AP.

    On Router A I have installed Hyper WRT and turned off one antenna. I am only running the antenna that is connected to the outdoor panel which aims towards Router B.

    On Router B I have installed Hyper WRT as well although I am running the stock antennas. Because of the extreme short distance on this link it should be fine. I may get a directional for it as well if I experience any sort of problems. From Router B I plan on hardwiring another router as an AP on that side and the from that AP another AP and so throughout a few different buildings.

    I want all those APs to gather data from wireless clients and put it on the line and back to Router B which will send the data across the wireless bridge to Router A and then onto the Internet connection.

    The AP setups are easy but I cant get the bridge to work. I have tried travellers WDS setup from hyperwrt.org but I cant get it to work.

    WEP security would be fine for this link as I dont expect this to be much of an issue here. WPA would be better but if I cant use it then OK.

    PLEASE can someone help me get this bridge up! Thanks in advance.
  28. though

    though Network Guru Member

    have you tried DD-WRT?

    out of curiosity, how much area/distance can an 8, 10, 12, or 15dbi outdoor omni-directional antenna cover (no obstacles)?
  29. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Network Guru Member

    I just connected up the 15DB omni antenna, and it appears that my signal coverage actually went down instead of up. I have been messing with settings on the router, so I decided to defualt it back to default settins. This helped with my DHCP issue, but my range is still very poor. Any ideas on why my signal strength went down when I swapped from an 8db omni to a 15db omni?
  30. PrimalScream

    PrimalScream Network Guru Member

    Did you change anything else (cabling, etc.)?

    Maybe a defective antenna?
  31. mazilo

    mazilo Network Guru Member

    Hi crawdaddy,

    Are you sure of your outdoor antenna is safe from lightning strikes?
  32. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Network Guru Member

    I didn't change any cabling, but since that antenna was signifcantly largr, I had to add guy wires to the mast. I also have a lightning surge arrestor inline with the antenna. It was installed when I installed my 8db omni.
  33. PrimalScream

    PrimalScream Network Guru Member

    though- hows your setup coming?

    crawdaddy- I pm'd you.
  34. though

    though Network Guru Member

    hey, sorry i didn't check in sooner. i haven't been able to move forward with this setup just yet. i have decided to get 2 external omni antennas and go from there. thanks very much for your input. really cleared some things up!
  35. rally1

    rally1 Network Guru Member

    So why even use WDS at all in a point to point, why not just stick to bridge mode?
  36. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Network Guru Member

    in a short while, I will be bringing a router I set up for client bridge down the street to test to see if it'll work. I bumped the trasmit power up to 50mW on the client, as opposed to the stock 28. I hope that with the stock antennas, that will make some difference.

    Now for some pics of my 15db omni setup:
    The mast
    http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a325/crawdaddy444/wireless project/STA60002.jpg

    the antenna itself
    http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a325/crawdaddy444/wireless project/STA60004.jpg

    lightning arrestor
    http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a325/crawdaddy444/wireless project/STA60006.jpg

    mounting of the guy wires to the house
    http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a325/crawdaddy444/wireless project/STA60005.jpg
  37. PrimalScream

    PrimalScream Network Guru Member

    crawdaddy- I pm'd you again.
  38. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Network Guru Member

    well, I have success! I set up another linksys router on the client side running client bridge. It's xmitting at 50mw, and I got a nice link. I'm going to inch it down to see how low I can keep the link, so that I stay away from the limit to burn the radio out.

    EDIT: ack, I pushed it up temporarily to 60mw, and I lost the link...guess I gotta run down the street and change it there :(
  39. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    WDS in "LAN" setting *is* a bridge mode.

    WDS in "PtP" mode is a routing mode.

    I frequently use WDS-LAN mode, keeps thing simple for me if everything is one big happy network. Get that working good then move towards routed mode once all the hardware issues are settled out.
  40. oddis64

    oddis64 Network Guru Member

    Is there any software i can use to align my antennas against each other so i get the best possible signal ?
    I have Hyperlink HG2419G antennas and 5 miles distance ( 8 km )

    wrt54gl with tomato 1.25 victek on them.
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