• My wife's employer has asked for a site survey, but after glancing at the property, I'm not sure I should waste my time. The potential client is an equine vet, and wants to connect the home network to an the practice office in the barn on the same property, about 200-300 yards away. However, the property dips, the barn is lower than the house, and there are several trees in the way. During the winter, the trees are clear, but right now, everything's in full bloom, so there's a lot of blockage.

    So for options:
    1) Should I try to push a signal through the trees -- and if so, is there anyway to measure the %-drop off in the fresnel zone (other than standard signal strength with NetStumbler/Kismet) ...

    2) Or should I simply try to go over top of the trees. This would mean putting poles in, possibly running more electrical power to these poles (solar power, perhaps) ...

    3) Or should I say "don't bother", and instead suggest a seperate Internet connection to the barn/office. I could set up a small wireless with Linksys in the barn, and even in the house, for a lot cheaper than the industrial equipment likely required outdoors.

    My perspective is just a site survey could easily run $500 or more (4-5 hours including reports). And that said, we're probably talking another $1000-$2000 for the network (Cisco APs, potentially bridges, yagi antennas, weather proof boxes, etc.). On the other hand, that would still be cheaper over the long run than second broadband connection at $50/month ($600/year).

    Opinions anyone/everyone?


  • Here are a few random thoughts. Of course it is hard to suggest much without looking at the site.

    - If you have access to equipment to test, try pushing through the trees. A couple 24dBi grids might do the trick. :) (Of course, observe any FCC regs)

    - Is there anything that you can purposely reflect off of that has LOS to both locations? This isn't conventional, but it can work.

    - Find a location that both the house and barn have LOS to and set up a repeater there. (Downsides depending on bandwidth requirements).

    - Dig a ditch and put in Ethernet repeater(s) (active hubs). Not the best suggestion but thought I would share it. If it is any consolation, I have seen Ethernet go 450 feet successfully.

    I am all about trying to save money in the long run. I don't like paying telcos if possible. By the way, where are you? I didn't see a location in your profile. Hope this helps.

    GT Hill

  • If you can live with a 1Mbps connection take a look at THESE radios or HERE for the NEMA-4 rated outdoor units.

    I have used these 900MHz radios successfully in situations where even short hops through trees etc. had problems on 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz. Factor in a couple of 6dBi (9dBi is probably overkill) yagi antennas and the link should be bullet proof ... and not particularly expensive. A fair bit cheaper than Cisco bridges and I was able to sustain a constant throughput around 1Mbps with a big file FTP tranfer.

    ... and if you were to go to the expense of digging a ditch, put optical fiber in. Even including the media converters it isn't that expensive and is a far better (and safer) option than copper based ethernet.

  • Hey,
    even for your piece of mind did you pull out the laptop,see if you could get a signal? I have a couple of Viewsonic,accesspoints/bridges working just fine through some trees and both are indoors,(acesspionts/bridges approx 100 ft apart cells will overlap each other.) and they seem to work just fine .I need the owners to put some holes int he wall so that they can mount the weather proof boxes on the out side. havent got a complaint but there is room for improvement and we are using the standard antennas that come out of the my local I cant get access readily to a diversity of antennas but perhaps you can.

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