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Building materials that are transparent to WI-FI signals

Outdoor enclosure for network bridge.

     
7:50 pm on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm installing a network bridge to link two buildings, and I plan to build a small enclosure on the roof of each to house the hardware. The hardware worked fine in tests on the roof but not inside the reinforced masonry building.

The question is, what would be a good material for the line-of-sight side of each enclosure? Metal is obviously out. So is having an open face; birds will nest and rats will chew. What about wood, or the various plastics? Any of these stand out as particularly transparent to wi-fi signals?

I'll be installing a 5g bridge, and may also use 802.11 b/g/n devices, if wavelength is a factor in material choice.

Thanks,
-Automan
12:48 am on Feb 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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your radio can be enclosed in anything...but your antenna needs to be exposed.

for some reason im kind of having a hard time figuring out what you are meaning :-P
12:49 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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To clarify: I want to install a wireless device with an internal antenna outdoors.

I need to build an enclosure to protect it from the elements, but one side of the enclosure needs to be nearly transparent to RF in the 3g to 5ghz frequency range.

An external antenna on the device would simplify greatly, however that is not an option for the unit I have.
6:38 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I would say a thin plastic box. Wood contains a lot of water which absorbs part of the spectrum like in a microwave oven.
12:46 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've seen enclosures with one side made of a kind of thick plastic sheeting.

I think all the other sides were made of wood and the plastic sheeting was stretched over the 'open' side.

Not sure what sort of signal attenuation this resulted in, but it may be worth a try.
4:10 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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i would head here

[l-com.com...]

and see if you can find an enclosure, but most importantly try to find a way to get the anntena OUT of the enclosure, ie cable adapter-fittings-ext antenna.

I can take apart a PCMCIA or usb laptop card and hook a 5 foot 15dB antenna to it with a handful of simple connectors
2:58 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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if your installing a bridge it should allow external entenas which is what you want.

You can get rugedised versions of the Linksys WRT54 which take industry standard antenas - or use consumer routers (inside an enclosure) with external conectors flash them with DDWRT and bobs your uncle.

for PTP You want directional antenas at both ends and watch the polarisation matches at both end.
3:54 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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i wouldn't use a linksys WRT54....sure they are cool for the home user but i wouldn't put on up for "real" usage.

[routerboard.com...]

pick your board...pci-e card.

[mikrotik.com...]

grab your router OS, then go head back and build your enclosure from my other link

bingo now you've got a industrial strength setup, and its not to expensive.
4:42 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@J_RaD true but id go for cisco if i was doing it for business - there controlers are the dogs bits - you can dedicate AP's as monitors and have them detect, locate and then go hot and attack any rogue AP's or Hosts
5:45 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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yea cisco has its benefits, i just like that other router OS, you could install it on most machines and turn a mulit core computer into a wifi router.

really flexable, and really functional.... you don't find those 2 things together very often.
4:51 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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J_RaD

pc gear isnt realy designed for 24/7 uptime in the same way network gear is (let alone carier grade Cisco kit) and its going to cost you in power terms as any pc is going to use much more power.
 

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