Small Marina Wireless expansion

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by captcouillon, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. captcouillon


    Apr 22, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Deltaville Va
    Looking for a review of the solution I have come up with for better coverage of a small marina.
    Any comments or suggestions appreciated and thanks in advance.

    De-facto dockmaster at a small marina in Va. Talked the owner (nice guy) into getting us some internet access so we can offer it to folks on the dock. Verizon DSL (throttled at 7mbs)
    installed by Verizon with GT784WNV modem/wireless router. Router is mfg by Actiontec but specs as to xmt pwr and sensitivity are unknown as Verizon considers this info "proprietary" and thus Actiontec is unable to provide. Go figure... Anyway the location of the box is limited by the fact that is in Butch's home, and location of jacks for the DSL are limited. Also Butch's wife doesn't want to look at a bunch of blinking hardware in the middle of her great-room. Currently located on the second floor in the office. Shooting through a single drywall/vinyl siding exterior wall towards the docks.

    As expected, signal strength on the docks (150' clear line of sight) ain't great. As scanned from a cheap neatgear usb nic, sig strength is at about -77 db or so. Have explored several solutions, keeping in mind that this is a budget concerned situation.

    Solution 1
    Tell everybody to buy a better nic for their hardware.
    Cheap (for us), but not very friendly.

    Solution 2
    Set up a "repeater" on the dock.
    Exterior equipment not so cheap. Repeater by definition cuts speed in half. Didn't think this would be a problem with the 7 meg throttle on the dsl but after setting up an old netgear router flashed with dd-wrt as a repeater here on my boat, then connectng to it via my wireless nic, it cut my download speed from7mbs to 3.2mbs. Not so hot.

    Solution 3
    This is the one I figure will work, but am looking for some input as to what y'all might think so I don't end up looking like a dork when the money is spent and it doesn't work.
    Picture worth a thousand words?
    (Sorry, have sketch of proposed network layout but not allowed to post inline photo per forum admins.... PM for link)

    Plan is to run an outdoor rated ethernet cable from the GT784WNV outside to an Ubiquiti Bullet2 (Running AirOS) Bullet screws into a Pacific Wireless 120deg panel antenna 9db gain mounted on the peak of the house and pointing at the docks. Bullet is powered by a POE injector inside the house.

    Figure that the weak point in the system is the consumer grade nics that are going to be running as clients on the docks. Hope the 120deg "ear" along with the Bullet2's -90db sensitivity should really help out. I could go with a Bullet2HP that would give me 600mw xmt rather than the 100mw of the Bullet2 but the sensitivity isn't that much better, and as I said I think the problem is going to be the client nics not the Bullet transmit power. Besides, this is an "open" network and I don't need half of town trying to piggyback, as well as the fact that the HP model is twice the price. 120deg spread should cover the docks end to end and not much more.
    (Sorry, have nice overhead photo of Marina with distances and equipment locations but not allowed to post inline photo per forum admins....PM for link)

    Haven't had an opportunity to play with the AirOS firmware, but from some reading it looks like I can hack it into a configuration I can live with. Would prefer to be running a seperate subnet and ssid with the GT784WNV passing DNS. Probably a subject for another thread in another forum.

    Tks in advance for any input, suggestions, rants or general comments. Looks like the total cost of Solution 3 is about $150

    Cap' Couillon
    captcouillon, Apr 22, 2013
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