Details of hardware for building point-to-point wireless links, including access points, antenna and power supplies. Includes features to look for when choosing suitable hardware.
|Hardware for Point to Point Links|
What to look for
When choosing hardware for building long distance or point to point links there are a number of key features to look for.
It's easy to get drawn in by the sales pitch, only to find the website or brochure to be light on technical details.
I've found the safest plan is to ignore any hardware that has insufficient technical information available about it. Whilst you can still be caught out, at least it should happen less often.
Access Points and Routers
Based on these criteria, when we were recently looking to upgrade a wireless point-to-point link, the following hardware stood out above the crowd. Access points with just one removable antenna are usually easier to setup than those with two removable antenna as you don't need to check the settings are using the correct replaced external antenna.
- Removable Antenna with common connector type
- Adjustable Transmit Power
- Power over Ethernet (POE) support
- Bridging or WDS Support
Some more expensive kit is now supporting Power over ethernet directly, without the need for an adapter, so we were happy to see it on the D-Link kit listed. Once the connection is established, it's always good to test turning down the transmit power to see how far you can reduce it while still getting a solid connection.
||Removable Antenna (rp-sma)
Adjustable Transmit Power
Power over ethernet supportBridging Support
||US Robotics MaxG Router
||Removable Antenna (rp-sma)
Adjustable Transmit PowerWDS & Bridging Support
When choosing antenna, we've found panel antenna much easier to use. Not only do they help keep the signal focused where you want it more than omni antenna, their simple shape can make them much easier to install than yagi antenna. Also panel antenna tend to stand out less, which is important if you don't want to advertise your wireless hardware. If you are pushing a wireless link between buildings, then it may not be necessary to mount the antenna outside, but you may be able to mount it on the inside of a window facing outwards. The D-Link antenna listed below comes with suckers for mounting it on a window, which seems like a great idea.
- Rated for outside use (weatherproof)
- Mounting kit provided
- Captive cable length
If the antenna comes with a captive cable, then you will need to mount the access point close to it, and may even need to mount it outside. It's always best have the shortest distance between the access point and the antenna to reduce the signal loss due to cable length, which is especially important if using thin cable.
Window Mounting (suckers)
||US Robotics 9dBi Antenna
Pole/Wall mounting kit
Power over ethernet
If you are going to have to mount the access point close to the antenna, then it's likely you could be some distance from a power socket, especially if you need to mount the access point in a waterproof enclosure outside. In these cases using using power-over-ethernet enables you to just run a single ethernet cable to the access point. Most of the main manufacturers (D-Link,Linksys,US Robotics) sell POE adapters for their kit, so it's just a case of checking the voltage requirements of the access point match those of the POE adapter as some sell both 5v and 12v POE hardware.
|Great Info, Thanks for Sharing|
|I always enjoy reading your reviews and how-tos. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge.|
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