Well it's been like a year or more in the making, but I want to start up a WISP in my area(Whangaparaoa/Gulf Harbour), and would like to know which wireless routers have the best range and signal strength. I will be trying to setup several points in the area.
Also what's the easiest way to get the net for it? I was trying to find out from telecom(with little help) if a signal can be run to the local exchange, and from there into maybe fibre optic cables or what not and into an ISP or into whatever cables lead to the main bandwidth centres.
Other options thought of were satellite to and ISP, and into a co-located server, or bouncing signals for AP to AP, and into co-located server(giving a good amount of coverage along the way.
Any thoughts on how this can be done easily?
Txt me on 021 2365909 over the free weekend if you're on vodafone
Personally, I'd be using linksys WRT54G or GS AP's, load them with DD-WRT code, and I cant find anything offered by the commercial devices that the Linksys wont do with the modified firmware. You can run the transmit power at 18dbm without any issues, which is about the same transmit power used on most commercial devices.
Only thing missing is power over ethernet.
Setting up a WISP without lots of spare pinga's is almost impossible. The routing equipment, DDS connections etc... all very expensive. I think DDS used to be $1,500 a month per termination point just for 128Kbps.
As for the Linksys, I don't know much about thridy party firmware or anything about Linux. But I love the Asus WL-500G because it offers simple static routing on ALL ports including the WAN interface, not just the LAN switch side like most others.
I like the Asus 138 adaptor even more. It comes with software to run a PC as a software Access Point, when coupled with bandwidth managing software means complete control of traffic to each node. I don't know if the Asus 138 card supplied software allows for it to do radius or anything though in AP mode like the wl-500. Biggest problem with most AP's is the limitation of 32 client connections maximum. So if 32 are sitting doing nothing, no one else can connect either. That's why I like the Asus, just daisy chain them and set up static routing between each AP on another channel.
I remember Linksys in router mode used to still have a firewall activated on the WAN adaptor which was really anoying a year back. Maybe they've fixed that since?
I'f you're real serious abtuo a commercial venture, check out the all in one hotspot solutions with user accounting and bandwidth control from d-link etc...
After my great experience with Mikrotik equipment I would not touch anything else with a 40 foot pole. I now use it to power my community network in Marlborough and have not looked back. I'm also in the process of setting up a community WISP in the Marlborough Sounds using the same gear, more details will be posted about that on my site as it progresses.
As mentioned above it does ethernet/wireless hotspot, routing, bridging, bandwidth control, firewalling, etc etc all in the one box. About $500 will get you a RouterBOARD 532, CM9 radio card (85mW tx 802.11b/g, 65mW tx 802.11a, -95dBm rx sens.) and a nice metal weatherproof box to house it all. PoE comes standard. The Linksys and D-Link stuff can't even dream of such figures, regardless of firmware mods, and it's miles cheaper than the big-brand options such as Cisco, Proxim and Trango.
Is the bandwidth with your new system able to control data from node to node on the same access point channel? Or does it only control bandwidth from wireless to eth etc...
I'm looking at throwing an asus PCI with some bandwidth management software and win nt 4 (I know nothing about linux, i can follow a gui and some scripting only) on a compact flash card on a spare PC. overall it would only cost me a $68 adaptor and $25 for the bandwidth management software. I came up with this because the asus 138 adaptor does software AP mode, and bandwidth management software I'm looking at works quite low in the NDIS layer so should work with it side by side so I can control every node's bandwidth before it even gets a chance to go anywhere including back on the same wireless subnet.
The bandwidth control rules apply to IPs, subnets or interfaces. You can use this for controlling traffic between nodes using a wireless mode called WDS. This is specifically designed for creating outdoor PtP/PtMP links and creates a separate virtual interface for each client. I have found it dramatically increases wireless performance as well but does limit you somewhat to using Mikrotik gear for the client equipment if you want to take advantage of it. Standard clients can still connect to the access point but they will be bound to a common wireless interface which means you cannot control traffic between those nodes, so if you need such capability you might be better off sticking with your setup.
I have heard that D-Link, etc. gear use WDS for the bridge mode in their APs but as it is not a finalised standard I'm not sure if different brands are compatible with each other when using it.
I haven't implimented it on my network (yet), but have for a commercial operator who uses the same gear.
Mikrotik have excellent documentation at http://www.mikrotik.com/docs/ros/2.9/ While it is Linux-based they have a customised interface so you don't get your hands dirty. It also comes with a nice GUI interface program you can run in Windows to manage the box, which is what I normally use.
This way is a little hairy aswell. I'm looking at bandwidth management on a MAC level to differentiate between each node. Although I know MAC's can be spoofed so I might end up just creating filters per IP. What bandwidth though I'm not yet sure of for local traffic. I don't want to hugely impeed local traffic speed but for those with slow connections I'd like to lower the total throughput slightly so there's not to much latency for others trying to initiate a connection/transfer etc...
What type of clients to you use or intend to use? I'm sure what you are suggesting can all be done using Quality of Service policies, but it depends on the network setup. Again this is all layer 3 stuff so I think basing rules on IP addresses might be more effective as you suggested. If you manage all your client gear yourself it would be just as effective as MAC filtering, as in theory your users can't change their own IP to bypass rules.
That's one thing I haven't done much research in to. QoS that is. That would make complete sense than constant bandwidth rate fiilters. I might go read some more up on it.
Have you implimented QoS or are you finding better results with a specific rate per IP/node? Or aren't you using any bandwidth control at all?
I guess I won't really know what the demand on a local Wi-Fi network would be until I stick one up and make some whoo haa in the local rag and local radio to get some attention. My biggest concern is latency at full network load. In this case I'd rather bandwidth manage every user. Not to the point where it's slow for only two users, but to at least provide some sort of control for the average use of the network. So it won't decrease response time to other users by a huge amount.
My thoughts this far is a small form factor PC with an 802.11b Wi-Fi card (SoftAP mode), bandwidth manager, 500mW booster (if done correctly with only TX gain in to a 0 gain omni for better TX range - no RX gain to reduce noise, I've spent some time in Radio Engineering for FM broadcast so I've got the right installation and test tools to make this part on par). The path back should be fine from a high gain antenna at a clients end without the need to amplify the RX on the AP to reduce noise.
Then I might get some 802.11a gear to create a link to a remote AP site capable of running a small PC also. Otherwise I give up bandwidth for a repeater, or bandwidth management for a basic access point. I also like the idea of being able to muck around with large route tables and routing protocols between AP's. Perhaps when upload speeds on unlimited national broadband plans catch up I might create one of NZ's first free district to district Wi-Fi links. I'll have to look up more on creating private tunnels between Wi-Fi networks then over the Internet. I'm assuming VPN would probably come in to play then.
I'll go read more on that documentation of what you're using. It does look quite interesting. I had a noisey at the online demo and downloadble windows configuration utility.
Last edited by kiwi_rock; 03-24-2006 at 01:17 AM..
I've set up basic bandwidth control and find it works well. I haven't got into QoS yet as I don't have a specific use for it at the moment. If you want to bandwidth manage on a per user basis, what about creating PPPoE tunnels from each user? This essentially means each user has their own interface to apply policies on and you get true authentication.
I've found RF amps add latency although as mine boost the rx as well it could have been a noise issue. What about something like a Ubiquiti SuperRange card? They have a stock output of 400mW and rx sensitivity of -97dB IIRC. Saves a bit of money over using a separate amp. WISP-Router.com sells them for about US$120.
I probably should create a new thread since this is way off topic from the orginal post but I'm sure the poster would be interested in reading any of this technical talk out loud ideas I'm having about my own network design/implimentation.
I was just in the middle of reading a few pdf manuals on the microtik site. They certainly look very impressive, when I checked my email and found your latest reply.
While PPPoE would be a good idea for bandwidth management, it would make setting up my routing idea a little more messy.
I want to be able to offer joe bloggs windows PC with wi-fi card and external antenna the option of giving his entire wired ethernet their own IPs while only taking up 1 on the main wireless access point (to get around the limit of 32 nodes per regular access point, if I get one of those).
Joe's wi-fi adaptor is assigned 10.1.1.2, then Joe could use network range 10.1.2.0/24 for his wired lan. If he enabled IP forwarding on his connecting Wi-Fi PC, he could use a default router connected to the main access point to manage all the route tables. He's only got to set his wired PC's to use his Wi-Fi connected PCs IP. This means Joe Bloggs get 254 IP's to use on his network making them all directly available on the Wi-Fi network without having to maintain his own routing table to connect to Sarah Bloggs network via 10.1.1.3 (for network 10.1.3.0/24) etc...
Anyway before I go read some more manuals and VPN junk on how to connect multiple private IP lans... and MTU frames/overheads/fragmentation... I was also reading you site a few minutes ago on your new G upgrade and saw the photos on the roof. Did you put some self amalgamating tape and silocon on those RF joints? I heard you mentioned the nasty oxidation word RUST on your connectors. Where they not already sealed up?
Also setting a short preamble helps the latency issue with amplifiers. Although some cards don't have long enough to make sense of traffic in hevy congestion when using a short preamble.
Good spotting in those photos! Yes I used self amalgmating tape, replaced the rusty screws with stainless ones and chucked silicone over the connector on the antenna.
What's really getting to me now is while the burst speed of the upgrade is awesome, the latency is terrible and goes all over the show. I'll post another topic on that anyway to see if anyone else has the same problem.
Back to your setup, I can see where you are heading with your project now. Mikrotik gives the advantage it can also play the part of the router, not just the wireless client. For speed control, I've just experimented with the default access point rate setting and it actually works very well at speed capping clients to an exact figure, any client you want faster you just add to the MAC registration table and specify a speed. Nice and simple to set up. Note it only affects the transmit rate from the access point if the client is non-Mikrotik but that might be all you need anyway. Food for thought.
--- Edit ---
Did I see you mention somewhere you live in Queenstown?
Thats good food for though and one to definately consider.
BTW, I should have also mentioned denso (petrolatum) tape is the best. I use to use the self amalgamating tape all the time with some silicon. Then I meet another engineer who showed me Denso 4 years ago. It's the best as far sealing off an RF connector goes.
Just as a followup as I didn't really explain very well before, the rate control doesn't actually affect the WLAN connection speed (i.e. clients still connect at up to 11mbps), it actually enforces a maximum data throughput rate to each client once they are associated which is where it becomes very useful.
I use Denso over S/A tape for permanent installs, it's horrible messy stuff to deal with when you have to take it apart again in a few months though.
So NZLamb... what equipment are you using?
I'm looking for some that has bandwidth control outside of the wireless connect speed, without having a comp between the router and net connection for net speed control.
Mikrotik RouterBOARD 532, they are a bit pricey compared to Linksys, etc. but give you loads more features.
Bascially when you set it up as an AP you can type in how much speed to cap each client to, say 64kbps. This means every client will only be able to receive a maximum data throughput of 64kbps (or what you set), even though their card will still associate at up to 11 or 54Mbps. You can allocate speed as a default option (all clients), or different speeds for individual client MAC addresses, or both.
When buying you will need to purchase the RouterBOARD, an indoor or outdoor case (they are small), a radio card, pigtail lead, antenna and power supply to make a complete unit.
Actually a quick update, the RouterBOARD 112 appears to be out now which is a cheaper version of the 532. It has a slower CPU, less RAM and only one Ethernet port, but if you only use basic features this should still do the trick if you want to save a few $$.
Ok so you think the wrt54 would be good?
Can someone in NZ txt me their suggestion this weekend(vodafone free txt, no net at home), and how much it costs on 021 2365909 and I will be looking at a final model by the end of next weekend. Need range and and connection speed.
Would like a model that won't drop everyone's connection to the lowest connected client like I've heard they are meant to.
Cheers for help. If I ever get big enough to go on the public market, there should be shares in the company for you guys/girls
I'd still recommend Mikrotik over Linksys for your application as it is aimed at the WISP market, unlike Linksys gear which is solely designed for SOHO or SMB. The main factors here are reliability, control, functionality and much better range.
Given the fact it costs about three times the price per complete site I think your best bet is to see how each option fits into your budget and go from there, and consider how much it might cost you down the track.
MT becomes much more cost effective when you get into 5.8GHz because the price doesn't go up a cent The same equipment will do 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz, you will only need to change the antenna to suit the frequency in use. High gain 5.8GHz antennas cost about the same as 2.4GHz if you use the right supplier, and if you use grid antennas you only need to swap the feedhorn, not the dish.