WRT54GL Antenna question

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by stevewm, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. stevewm

    stevewm LI Guru Member

    I have searched and searched and cannot find a answer to this question!

    I plan on using 3 WRT54GLs with DD-WRT firmware to extend our internal network out to our two storage buildings using WDS. Both buildings have metal siding. So I will need a external antenna to make the link outside the buildings.

    My plan was to hook an external antenna to one of the antenna ports and mount it outside while leaving one of the factory antennas connected to provide signal coverage inside.

    Will the antenna system on the WRT54GL function in this manner? Using both at once?
  2. ifican

    ifican Network Guru Member

    Hmmm, i hope someone can say for sure and yes thats a very good question. From a purely electrical standpoint as long as the antenna has the same resistance rating as the stock antenna i dont see it being an issue. But do your best to shield the external antenna from being able to see any host on the inside. I can see potential screwy connectivity because of the delay built into the longer cable run if both antennas can see the same host. Good luck and keep us posted, i am very curious to know how it works out.
  3. Maple-Guy

    Maple-Guy LI Guru Member

    That will not give you good results. Antena diversity is not intended to be used that way. It will connect but your performance will greatly suffer. What would be the distance betwwen your 3 buildings?
  4. stevewm

    stevewm LI Guru Member

    Well..... I haven't ordered the equipment yet. And I wasn't until someone could tell me for sure if the antennas will function in that manner. Or at the very least recommend a AP/router with WDS that can function in that manner.
  5. stevewm

    stevewm LI Guru Member

    Between the main building and building 2 is only about 40 feet. However its metal siding all around. Building 3 is about 200ish feet from the main building. Metal siding as well.

    Could anyone recommend a router/ap that would function in the manner I described?
  6. Maple-Guy

    Maple-Guy LI Guru Member

    It's impossible to know for sure but you may get away with it with one unit with dual 7dbi omnis with a little more output power (75mw instead of the stock 28mw) since the distances seems small. The GL can go up to 251mw but after 100-150, results are so-so and with the omnis you may slow cook some employees near the units!

    If you can't, I don't know every brand and every models and I can't recomend ONE routers that can do that jod but I can recomend TWO routers that will do that job. Just put 2 GLs running dd-wrt, one will be taking car of your WWAN and the other will take care of the clients. That is the setup I use with a 7km link using 4 units.

    Somebody else may have a better idea.

    Hope this helps.
  7. stevewm

    stevewm LI Guru Member

    After a bit of testing this afternoon with a old Symbol AP we have, I have reworked my plan....

    I have discovered that one AP placed on the back of building 1 actually covers the entire interior of building 2. Why? Because the wall on building 2 that faces the AP is a large garage type door which is poly/wood, not metal. And I still get a signal along the entire exterior wall of building 3, however it does not work inside of it (expected)

    My plan now is this: 3 WRT54GLs, DD-WRT... Mount one on the back of building 1 inside an outdoor enclosure, using factory antennas. This will cover building 2's interior. Mount another one inside outdoor enclosure on the outside wall of building 2. Run a CAT5 line from LAN port to the LAN port on the last WRT inside of building 3

    The WRTs on building 1 & 2 will be configured for WDS. The WRT inside of building 3 will be configured for standard AP mode. 1 & 2 will be on the same channel as is required for WDS and all WRTs will be using the same SSID. (Same SSID is required as the primary usage for this network will be some old DOS based Symbol portable data collection terminals we use all over the complex. Changing them to work on a different SSID is a pain in the ass!)

    Am I correct in thinking that this will work fine?
  8. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    Reworked plan might just work, but I don't know if a WDS system would like to share an SSID with an AP. If this is a problem, you could also WDS WRT#3, but also turn on spanning tree protocol. This way, WRT#3 will feel part of the family, but will prevent loops as it is wired. It's a good idea to turn on STP anyway I think.

    As for your original question about the different antennas on the same WRT with antenna diversity - I use it like that all the time, and it works fine. I have a long range link with an external antenna on the roof, and clients inside my house is connects via the stock antenna. I know this because when I turn the stock antenna off, clients' signal drops dramatically or the loose connection.

    IMO antenna diversity is well suited to this setup. Diversity is all about different spacial paths with different "time to antenna". Delays in a longer or shorter antenna cable near enough simulates that. As mentioned, my opinion only - did not do the math...
  9. Maple-Guy

    Maple-Guy LI Guru Member

    Yes, it should work, just keep in mind, those 7dbi omnis and a little more power grom the GLs might get you out of a rough spot.
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