Recently I had the opportunity to expand the wireless signal from a farm house to the entire yard and outbuildings using Ubiquity hardware. I had heard of the company, and saw many good reviews for the products. It seemed like Ubiquity was an enterprise level wireless solution, at a consumer price. After the install I was not disappointed.
The signal strength and coverage coming from the wireless AP’s and point to point links was more than I had expected.
Below is a aerial shot of the farm, and the methods I used to create the links. This solution would be great for any outdoor wireless needs. You could use it on a campus, lake home, backyard or for beaming wireless between buildings at the office. The devices are very easy to configure, and can be put in AP mode, repeater mode or station mode. If you are so inclined, you could create a mesh of several wireless devices and cover huge areas.
From the house to the shed, I named the SSID ‘link1’ because I wanted to differentiate between wireless links to avoid confusion. On the house, we drilled a hole through the siding and into the crawl space, and ran an ethernet cable from the nanostation and into the network switch in the house. We mounted the nanostations with a couple mounting brackets (click for link to amazon) , and mounting arms . This helped to make quick work of the wireless mounting, and the brackets help you to aim both sides of the point to point link very easily without having to adjust the entire arm.
On the shed side of link1, I used the included POE injector to power the radio, and installed a small linksys switch to the inside wall of the building. This gave me full network access to devices in the shed through the switch, and also allowed me to extend a network cable to the back of the shed to be plugged into the 2nd
nanostation that would be the access point for link2.
After a quick configuration using the built-in web on the devices,link 1 was up and running. To extend the wireless signal throughout the farm yard, a Ubuiquiti UniFI AP Outdoor 2×2 MIMO AP was installed on a pole on the top of the shed. It was simply plugged into the linksys network switch using the included POE injector and mounted to the shed. Configuration is different for these devices, they require the included Ubiquity UniFI software to be installed on a computer somewhere in the network. The AP’s come up with a preconfigured IP address and you manually register them to the software. This helps to keep all the AP’s consistent as they all are centrally managed, and share the same SSID and security settings. The Outdoor MIMO and the nanostation loco m5 have survived some violent storms, rain, wind, and hail that destroyed nearby outbuildings, and they never need a reboot! They are very reliable.
Link 2 went from the small shed at the end of link 1, to the large outbuilding in the photo. We mounted the m5 on the far end of the building to avoid snow and ice falling from the slanted tin roof in the winter. Inside the building we used another small switch. From the switch we ran a Ubiquity access point to cover the inside of the building. This building is double lines with tin and insulation, so we didn’t get any signal from the yard AP’s, unless you had the large doors open. The single ap covers the inside very nicely, and since we used the same Ubiquity software to configure it, there is no need to have additional SSID’s.
Finally, we added another outdoor MIMO on the north end of the building for additional yard coverage.
You do need some technical ability to set up a system like this, but overall it was not a difficult project. Just remember you are ‘bridging’ from your network and set everything up accordingly. By not adding additional networks, you remove the complications of having multiple networks.
Here’s another similar project from modernfarmer.wordpress.com