What are you using for off-grid internet access?

quid_nonquid_non Solar Expert Posts: 48
Hi all!
Considering my options on how to "get to the net" while I am off grid. Considering the "air card" (but have to buy an additional service), also considered "tethering" my cell to get internet. No access to cable or phone - sat uplink seems expensive?

Any feedback??
Thanks
«1

Comments

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    sat is the lowest cost option, propbably about 80-120 month, if you think thats expensive, don't even bother looking at wiress plans, very low caps and unless your in 3G area, which is doubtful, very slow data rates
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    What SG said.

    I have two satellite Internet links at two different locations. Both work ... after a fashion. The service provider is Xplornet, and their service is lousy but we have no other choice around here. Why use it? What SG said! Cell plans (which includes the 'stick' units - same technology) are expensive and do not work at either of my locales. (It's weird; the cell will connect at one place, depending on where you stand. But it is unreliable and the transmission garbled.) The satellite cost is ~$100/month, depending on how you look at it. It also provides phone at one place. The second unit can not do this because it is a different type of link and can not handle the data packets continuously. Plus, if you use too much time you get "fapped": Fair Access Policy, which slows down anyone using a lot of bandwidth. Upload/download speeds are rarely at advertised rates.

    If anyone knows a cheaper option, I'd like to hear it.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,659 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    Many rural areas are going fiber optic as demand increases. Dial-up for now and then DSL when you get the demand. Something like 10 miles between substations I seem to remember. It is one of the next things you check for after sun patterns on the winter solstice....OK maybe rainfall or well water!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,343 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?
    Many rural areas are going fiber optic as demand increases. Dial-up for now and then DSL when you get the demand. Something like 10 miles between substations I seem to remember. It is one of the next things you check for after sun patterns on the winter solstice....OK maybe rainfall or well water!

    Definitely rainfall or well possibilities down here.
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    If you've got 3G (cellular) service at your location, then that's not a bad way to go and probably the cheapest as long as you don't exceed the usage limits.

    Tethering is a loop-hole. If you have a cell plan with "unlimited" internet access, then you use your phone as a modem for your computer. The problem is that A) most providers forbid tethering (they want to sell you another account for their 3G modem card) and B) cell providers are beginning to move away from unlimited internet.

    DirectTV used to (probably still does) accommodate full-time RVers by allowing them to sign an affidavit that they are off the grid and so they could get a cable box that worked without the phone connection back to the DirectTV network. They do have satellite internet access, but it's a different sat so you have to re-align your antenna when switching from TV to internet. Still not cheap though - 100/mo just for internet.

    A lot of rural areas now have wireless providers popping up. They find a local high-ground and put up some central units, and then use commercial 5ghz wireless units at the user end to talk back to the central unit. I've seen subscriber rates as low as 50/month. These systems actually work really well.

    Another alternative is to shoot your own long-distance wireless link, if you can find someone that has internet access and will let you use their connection, and the Ubiquiti stuff is available to the public and pretty cheap:

    http://www.netgate.com/index.php?cPath=31_61

    If you have neighbors with the same problem, you could shoot a link to them, shoot from them to the next property and so on until you've established a link back to someplace that does have internet access. I would bet that any small-town ISP would love to sell you access if you were setting up the links yourself. The main drawback is that you would have to deal with your neighbors and sooner or later that can lead to a feud...someone is going to end up thinking that their internet is "slow" because someone else is overusing theirs. Gripe, grumble and the next thing you know it's the Hatfields and the McCoys all over again.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    Xplornet in Canada, and it's sister service in the US Wild Blue. The hardware is crap, the Xplornet service is fairly reliable, but expensive, ~$50 for 500k service download, 100k up, or ~$100 for 1meg down, 500k up. Fairly generous fair access policy (FAP).

    Wildblue uses the same hardware via lease arrangement, for ~the same price. From what I hear from my brother in law, the service is fairly reliable, but gets real slow during prime time, and the FAP policy is terrible.

    Hughesnet uses similar but different hardware with similar speeds, and from what I hear, with similar service concerns.

    Just as an FYI, the Sat modem and TRIA (transmit and receive device on the dish) draw about 15 watts total, which is pretty minimal.

    Tony
  • quid_nonquid_non Solar Expert Posts: 48
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    [Another alternative is to shoot your own long-distance wireless link, if you can find someone that has internet access and will let you use their connection, and the Ubiquiti stuff is available to the public and pretty cheap:

    http://www.netgate.com/index.php?cPath=31_61

    That is pretty cool - how does it work ? Is it like a "cantenna"?
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?
    quid_non wrote: »
    [Another alternative is to shoot your own long-distance wireless link, if you can find someone that has internet access and will let you use their connection, and the Ubiquiti stuff is available to the public and pretty cheap:

    http://www.netgate.com/index.php?cPath=31_61

    That is pretty cool - how does it work ? Is it like a "cantenna"?

    Not really. The cantenna is just a high-gain antenna for normal 2.4ghz wifi. Most of the commercial stuff runs up in the 5ghz band.

    There is actually an FCC code regarding power output - on the 2.4ghz band you you can use up to 1w power IF you derate the antenna. IIRC at 1w the max antenna gain allowed is 6db.

    (For comparison, most wifi built into laptops, and also most of the little wifi access points (like Linksys or D-Link) are about 35mw with antennae of from 2db-5db.)

    Of course, I don't think anyone ever actually enforced that code, and I think they amended it, but I haven't looked into it. It used to be that you could not purchase a high-power wifi radio and a high-gain antenna on the same invoice (stupid, yes) unless you were government or military. Nowadays, I don't think anyone cares.


    The main issue with shooting your own long-link is that you need a wireless adapter that has an ethernet port, rather than say a USB connection (like my high-power Alfa radio). The commercial type units have that, so they can be plugged directly into a router or ethernet switch. Also, they almost all get their power via PoE (power over ethernet) which supplies power using the extra unused pairs in an ethernet cable.

    When you mount one of these units, you just run one ethernet cable up to them and that's that. At the other end of the wire you plug into a PoE power injector and then from that to the router.


    If you just wanted to shoot a long link to connect to an access point with normal wifi, then the 2w Alfa:

    http://www.data-alliance.net/-strse-158/Alfa-AWUS036NH-2000mW-1000mW/Detail.bok

    Coupled to a serious directional antenna:

    http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=21730

    Can reach a VERY long way. BUT...that antenna is BLOODY expensive.

    I seem to recall that they used 1w radios and 40db antennae to shoot from the University of San Diego out to San Clemente Island (11 miles? I can't remember...) for an earthquake (or was it weather?) monitoring telemetry link. They did get a government waiver for the power/gain ratio, and they only ended up with about 1mbit bandwidth, but still that's impressive for 2.4ghz.


    How far can you shoot with a cantenna? Dunno. I made one once. I followed the directions *precisely* and I couldn't pick up anything with it. Ended up on the junkpile. You can buy them pre-made, and they are pretty cheap, as is the Alfa, so you might want to buy an Alfa and a Cantenna and muck about and see what happens. Just make sure that you get a Cantenna with the right connector. The Alfa has a "reverse-polarity SMA" (RP-SMA) connector on it.

    The issues there are A) on a laptop the Alfa WILL suck down your battery in a hurry, B) there is a limit on antenna wire length - the shorter the better - so it's better to use a long USB cable and a short antenna cable and C) there is a limit on the USB cable length, but you can buy a powered USB active repeater cable for long runs:

    http://www.data-alliance.net/-strse-222/USB-long-longest-10-dsh-meters/Detail.bok
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,343 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    here is your 1 watt AP:
    http://www.radiolabs.com/products/wireless/networking/1-watt-router.php
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    Good stuff. I see they also have a bridge kit:

    http://www.radiolabs.com/products/wireless/point-to-point-bridge.php

    They've also got a 24db directional antenna for 70 bucks, that's a pretty good deal:

    http://www.radiolabs.com/products/antennas/2.4gig/2.4-aluminum-parabolic.php
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    Problem with most wireless connections is that they need a line of sight to "see" the transmitting antenna. If you are in the Bush, or very flat country that line of sight can be pretty short.

    Sat systems need a clear view of the southern sky, ~30 degrees above the horizon depending on your latitude. Snow, heavy rain and fog can obliterate the signal sometimes as well.

    T
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?
    icarus wrote: »
    Problem with most wireless connections is that they need a line of sight to "see" the transmitting antenna. If you are in the Bush, or very flat country that line of sight can be pretty short.

    Sat systems need a clear view of the southern sky, ~30 degrees above the horizon depending on your latitude. Snow, heavy rain and fog can obliterate the signal sometimes as well.

    T

    Your Canook is showing. :D As I recall DirectTV let you choose from two sats, one up around the US-Canada border and one down around the US-Mexico border.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    That may in fact be true. What I know about Wildblue comes from my brother in laws experience in the Pacific NW, plus a WildBlue forum I have used for tech advice on the hardware which is identical to Xplornet. (EDIT PS http://www.dbsinstall.com/WildBlue/wildblue.asp This site reveals that they still only use the Anki f2 111w satellite. What they do have is a number of "spot beams" (as do most satellite ISPs) that are specifically focused to various areas across the continent.)

    What I also know about wildblue is that in some places it is sold through Direct TV and in other places it is sold through local REA co-ops.

    Tony

    PS When I get my computer back with all my bookmarks, I will post links to a number of pretty useful satellite internet forums. (Harddrive crash,, I hope I get most of my data back!)

    What also should be mentioned about Sat. internet is ping times. Because of the distance involved in getting up to the bird, and then back to the NOC of the ISP, you might see in an ideal world of 600ms, but it can easily be 1500ms depending on a number of factors. This usually kills any gaming, makes streaming video hard to do. We do use VOIP, but there can be considerable lag due to the ping times.
  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    3 Watt 802.11b amplifier: http://www.l-com.com/productfamily.aspx?id=6376
    I have this. Awesome range with this 15 dBi parabolic reflector http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=21694&cmp=ALSOS
    Harrr!
  • chevensteinchevenstein Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    Don't discount dedicated access from the cell carriers unless you're sure you don't have a signal. We live off grid but are on the top of a "mountain" (it's tall for around here but dwarfed by the Green Mountains over the VT border) so we get decent cell coverage (towers on the adjacent hills). We have Verizon with the MiFi 2200 device (self contained EVDO modem/router/wireless access point). The system works great - several people can connect with their wifi and surf at older cable modem speeds for $60/month (including taxes and fees). My only gripe is the annual contract. The cap is 5gigs of transfer per month, of which we use about half on average.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    I also hear that EVDO is the wave of the future. The big question is speeds and band width limitations.

    Bottom line is, those of us who live in the boonies are almost never going to be able to get the speeds our urban neighbours are able to get.

    Tony
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 886 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    Yes Tony, we're all so laid back the pace of dial-up doesn't phase us a bit. If you believe that I have ''waterfront" land I could sell you...MPAC considers it waterfront, it's really swamp maple.

    Ralph
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,659 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    Tony,
    This is the funny I promised you awhile back. I was waiting for the appropriate time and this is it! This is from a client that has been at altitude off-grid and is absolutlely loving it! He is talking about how bad it would be going back to the big city and all the high speed this and IPAD that.

    "I would rather be examined on network TV by a proctologist, with very cold hands, than go back to that life!"
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    Hear, hear!

    People are shocked when they hear me say, "Well, I do the network thing for money, but the truth is I hate computers".

    They also send me text messages, which I always ignore, and then when they see me they ask, "why didn't you reply?" I just lie and tell them my phone doesn't do texting so next time, since they ALREADY HAVE THEIR PHONE IN THEIR HAND, why not dial my number and just TALK to me?

    I think of it as my own little contribution to "Civil Disobedience". I'm also that guy who you are standing in line behind who is holding up the show because he refuses to give his phone number to the cashier.

    I played with an iPad. Not impressed. I work on Apple products when I get paid to. I won't buy one though - I'm NOT going to PAY Steve Jobs to tell me what I can and can't do with my own hardware.

    "Gee-Whiz" cuts no ice with me.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    "Do you want to send a report?"
    "Do you want to send a report?"
    "Do you want to send a report?"
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,994 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    In years past I was looking into setting up a WISP (Wireless internet service provider)

    I live in a rural spot in Missouri and I have DSL avalible since I have a nuclear plant a couple miles away, but several towns here did not have any Highspeed internet available. WISPs require line of sight and have a range up to 25 miles depending on the equipment.

    If you have several people who want to get together and set one up it might well be cost effective, costs are tower rent, T1 or T3 lines and equipment. at $100 a month alternatives I think it would take 30 or so individuals to make it viable and cheaper...

    Be aware though that incentive money is out there for phone service hubs and many/most of the rural areas here have DSL available now.

    I have access to wireless at work/and a laidback enough job to use it, I've thought about picking up a kindle as I'm in 3G area, just for Email access at home. I listen to more books than I read, but I download some magazines, though I's a bit covoluted to get them on the kindle for free...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • quid_nonquid_non Solar Expert Posts: 48
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    [The main issue with shooting your own long-link is that you need a wireless adapter that has an ethernet port, rather than say a USB connection (like my high-power Alfa radio). The commercial type units have that, so they can be plugged directly into a router or ethernet switch. Also, they almost all get their power via PoE (power over ethernet) which supplies power using the extra unused pairs in an ethernet cable.

    When you mount one of these units, you just run one ethernet cable up to them and that's that. At the other end of the wire you plug into a PoE power injector and then from that to the router.


    If you just wanted to shoot a long link to connect to an access point with normal wifi, then the 2w Alfa:

    http://www.data-alliance.net/-strse-158/Alfa-AWUS036NH-2000mW-1000mW/Detail.bok

    Coupled to a serious directional antenna:

    http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=21730

    Can reach a VERY long way. BUT...that antenna is BLOODY expensive.

    I seem to recall that they used 1w radios and 40db antennae to shoot from the University of San Diego out to San Clemente Island (11 miles? I can't remember...) for an earthquake (or was it weather?) monitoring telemetry link. They did get a government waiver for the power/gain ratio, and they only ended up with about 1mbit bandwidth, but still that's impressive for 2.4ghz.


    How far can you shoot with a cantenna? Dunno. I made one once. I followed the directions *precisely* and I couldn't pick up anything with it. Ended up on the junkpile. You can buy them pre-made, and they are pretty cheap, as is the Alfa, so you might want to buy an Alfa and a Cantenna and muck about and see what happens. Just make sure that you get a Cantenna with the right connector. The Alfa has a "reverse-polarity SMA" (RP-SMA) connector on it.

    The issues there are A) on a laptop the Alfa WILL suck down your battery in a hurry, B) there is a limit on antenna wire length - the shorter the better - so it's better to use a long USB cable and a short antenna cable and C) there is a limit on the USB cable length, but you can buy a powered USB active repeater cable for long runs:

    http://www.data-alliance.net/-strse-222/USB-long-longest-10-dsh-meters/Detail.bok[/QUOTE]

    Thansk to all for the GREAT info and links - been spending too much time looking at them...:D

    In our mountain shack, we do not have phone or power access, but have a neighbor on o close by ridge (~1mi as the crow flies) that is in line-of-sight and has WIFI from his Sat feed. He has agreed to let me use some of this bandwidth.

    Thinking about the "2W alpha unit" that DWH suggested and the 24dB parabolic antenna - could get both for ~$100. Seem like a place to start.

    DWH - any other suggestions or things to look out for?

    Thanks to all for thier time and comments!
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    For antennas - check out Ramsey 12db, $35

    http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/cgi-bin/commerce.exe?preadd=action&key=LPY244P

    And as to long USB cables, I've found they use such thin wire, the voltage drop is so much, after 30', you loose too much DC voltage. Cheap HUBS work as "repeaters" but the suck up some power too. I guess you could use a powered hub at the last leg, to get decent voltage to the radio, but it's a kludge.

    I'm setting up a linksys with DD-WRT as a relay with Repeater bridge mode
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • bentherebenthere Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    If you go with Wild Blue, realize that they are over subscribed and don't do QOS so the higher plans are a waste unless you need the higher monthly caps.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    As promised with a new hard links I mentioned

    http://www.wildblue.cc/wbforums/index.php
    http://www.satsig.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl
    http://www.dslreports.com/forums/56

    And for our Canadian neighbours:

    http://www.xplornetsucks.com/forums/

    All of these have a number of useful forums and tips about keeping your service up and running. One of the biggest problems with remote sites is getting service and service guys to come out and work on balky systems.

    My only neighbour and I have a complete set of spares on hand all the time, Modems, TRIAs, cables, dish units etc and the tools to do what we need to do to keep the systems in top form. A half degree off and performance drops off until it drops out completely.

    Tony

    PS. Most Satellite services (Xplornet/Wildblue/Hughes etc) are, from what I hear, over subscribed in many if not most markets. The reality is that there is a fairly finite through put available through the sat spot beams. The result of this over subscription is that during prime time, 5-11pm speeds can drop off to those of dial up, or even slower.

    The reality is that most people who need more bandwidth are able to get "real" high speed at work, so that they can indeed work. Sat service is mostly used by folks at home, and at recreation properties. The net result of this is that folks like me who use it full time, can choose to our big down loads off prime time, either during the midday, or late at night.

    Xplornet's FAP (fair access policy) is based on your percentage of bandwidth relative to others. If you use too much in any given hour, they slow you down in the next hour, and continue to do so until you throttle back. The advantage of this system is that it come back to "average" in a couple of hours if you change your behavior.

    Wildblue's FAP is more complicated as I understand it. It seems that you are subject to a 30 day rolling average, and if you exceed that average, they slow you down for the remainder of the billing period. (I may not have the details quite right, but I think the gist is right). The problem with this system is that you may or may not be able to see how much you have been using, ergo you may not know that you are about to be FAPed. It also makes it hard to do business, as it takes many days, or even weeks until your "normal" speeds are restored.

    My brother in law got FAPed because his teenage daughter fell asleep while she was gaming. The overnight bandwidth use used up several months worth of average, so he was throttled back to below dial up, even though he was never warned by WB!

    Bottom line, as with most things off grid,, most choices come with pretty big trade offs.

    T
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    nice links tony and boy we could've used your input many years ago when some were looking to do some of this stuff in remote areas as i could only say on the powering aspect without specific knowledge of equipment needed to do it.
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?
    Thansk to all for the GREAT info and links - been spending too much time looking at them...:D

    In our mountain shack, we do not have phone or power access, but have a neighbor on o close by ridge (~1mi as the crow flies) that is in line-of-sight and has WIFI from his Sat feed. He has agreed to let me use some of this bandwidth.

    Thinking about the "2W alpha unit" that DWH suggested and the 24dB parabolic antenna - could get both for ~$100. Seem like a place to start.

    DWH - any other suggestions or things to look out for?

    Thanks to all for thier time and comments!

    1 mile is not far if you have line of sight. 1 mile is a very long way if there is anything in between.

    I think with an Alfa and that 24 you *probably* won't have any problem connecting, but it almost certainly won't be at full 54mbit speed. Not that it matters, since his satellite internet might only be 1mbit, so even a low speed wireless connection is probably going to be faster than the uplink bandwidth anyway.

    Still, whether you can connect or not - it depends. One thing that most people don't fully realize, is that it's a two-way radio link. I've seen a lot of people who see 3-4 bars on their indicator, and wonder why they can't connect. Well the reason is that the access point has the power to reach them, but their laptop doesn't have the power to reach back. They can hear the access point, but the access point can't hear them.

    So, even if you can hear your neighbor's access point, with your Alfa/24db rig, that doesn't guarantee that his access point will hear you. And/or vice versa and you get the idea.

    You might have to diddle around moving his access point, or your antenna or whatnot. Sometimes, moving the antenna even 6" one direction or the other can make the difference in whether or not you can connect. This is ESPECIALLY true if the access point is inside of a building. That one extra 2x4 in the wall, or that water pipe in just the right place can be enough to prevent connecting. Though, sometimes moving it 6 inches doesn't help, but moving it 6 feet does. It's more art than science.

    You'll probably want to download some signal strength software. I can't recommend any for Windows or Mac, because I do all that sort of thing in Linux.


    One thing you will probably want to consider (especially if you have any problems connecting :D ) is to be a good neighbor and show your appreciation by presenting him with the gift of a shiny new high-gain set of antennae for his access point.

    For instance, if he has a Linksys I think that comes with 5db antennae and there are high-gain antennae kits for it. Like this set of 9db bad boys:

    http://www.amazon.com/Alfa-9dBi-Booster-OMNI-Directional-High-Gain/dp/B003284472/ref=pd_cp_e_2

    (Note: I think this is a typo - while the Alfa has a RP-SMA connector, I'm pretty sure that the Linksys access points use the larger RP-TNC connector. Always make sure you buy the doohickey with the correct connector. I would eyeball the neighbor's access point before ordering. You might need this set instead:

    http://www.amazon.com/Alfa-Booster-High-Gain-OMNI-Directional-Antenna/dp/B00328BEY8

    It's possible that the older Linksys boxes used RP-TNC and the newer ones use RP-SMA. You tell me...I can't remember. :D )

    I actually have this exact same antennna (with the RP-SMA connector) for my Alfa. The difference from 5db to 9db is HUGE. Mine came with a magnetic base. The antenna screws to the mag base and there is a short wire from that to the Alfa. I normally don't use the mag base though, I just screw the antenna directly to the Alfa and eliminate the short (1.5m) antenna wire (it CAN make a difference).

    http://www.data-alliance.net/-strse-97/Antenna-9dBi-omni-dipole/Detail.bok


    I think though, that the 24db is probably way up into the overkill range for a piddling little 1 mile line of sight shot. It can't hurt, but I think even a 10db or 12db directional would probably work (especially with a set of 9s on the AP).
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?
    dwh wrote: »
    You'll probably want to download some signal strength software. I can't recommend any for Windows or Mac, because I do all that sort of thing in Linux.

    NetStumbler and cousins described in wikipedia can help.

    http://www.wlanbook.com/netstumbler-windows-7/
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    NetStumbler and cousins described in wikipedia can help.

    http://www.wlanbook.com/netstumbler-windows-7/

    NetStumbler has issues. There are a LOT of netcards that it doesn't support and according to that wiki page:

    "As of February 2010, the author is working on an updated version that will work correctly with Windows Vista and Windows 7."

    I see the lastest version available on the NetStumber site is 0.40, and that's years old.
  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: What are you using for off-grid internet access?

    What is good WiFi signal strength and sniffing program for Ubuntu Linux?
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