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Old 07-17-2013, 09:50 PM
Joe Smo Joe Smo is offline
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I have been tossing an idea around in my head for a while and decided to share it with you guys. It is possible to make a directional yagi antenna for a WiFi access point that has a theoretical range of 16 miles. More than likely you can expect 2-3 miles. Keep in mind that a WiFi signal is line of sight and will be attenuated by trees or brush. It is possible to construct a independent network between your friends houses by bouncing them from place to place. Since the signals are highly directional it makes it very difficult for other people to detect your network unless they insert themselves between 2 nodes of the network. Pay attention to the beam angle. Most antennas transmit in a v shaped pattern. The beam angle denotes how much the beam spreads. The tighter the beam angle the more power makes it to the other end but also makes it harder to aim. A tighter beam angle also means its harder to detect.

1. Reasons for doing this include being able to monitor a road for convoys of bad guys.
2. Having a method of communicating between members of your community that no one can tap into.
3. It would allow you to use motion sensing software to detect movement on a road and alert you without you having to constant monitor the display.
4. It would provide a nice way to chat with others in the network without having to use detectable methods.

Google "homemade 2.4 ghz yagi antenna"
Grid reflector and plate antennas work pretty well too. Make sure they are for 2.4 Ghz frequency.
Also pay attention to connector types. Many of these devices use a special RP-SNA connector. Also try to keep the Antenna cable as short as possible. the signal gets attenuated very quickly so short cables are best. I'm talking 2-3 feet. That means you need to mount the router/bridge device very close to the antenna.
Click <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-to-Build-WIFI-24GHz-Yagi-Antenna/">here</a> for instructions on how to make a Yagi antenna.

You can also buy Yagi antennas. I bought some Chinese yagis off of eBay once that totally sucked so beware.

We covered antennas but how do we make the network work. There are several ways to construct the network. Personally I would use routers with DD-WRT installed. DD-WRT is a Linux based alternative OpenSource firmware suitable for a great variety of WLAN routers and embedded systems.
So why go with dd-wrt? It basically gives your 50 dollar router the feature set of a 500 dollar router.

Click <a href="http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index">here</a> to check out DD_wrt

Buffalo routers come with it installed. the nice thing about most of these routers is they run off of 12vDC with an AC adapter. That means you can chuck the AC adapter and hook it direct to your solar battery bank. You have to have at least 2 for each node (unless someone knows a better way). One router to go upstream and another to to go downstream.

So how is someone who knows nothing about networking going to set one of these up. Pretty much you aren't. Find someone in the neighbor hood that knows what they are doing to run the show. Each person pays for their part of the network.

Software to run
There are a ton of both instant messaging clients and voip clients that may work on such a network.
You could also place a node near a highway terminus to look for convoys. Install a router with a solar power system then attach a network camera. Have that send to someone who can monitor it 24/7. They in turn can warn everyone via Instant messaging.
Google "windows instant messaging" or " Windows voip client"
Voip clients would require someone to run a sip server but that isn't that big a deal. There are Open source sip servers out there and it will run on a normal PC. By running a Sip system users would be able to install inexpensive Internet phone adapters like the linksys PAP2T. Hook that up to a normal cordless phone and you can make calls across the network. And be warned while your in the garden working.

Have someone keep track of IP addresses and only use fixed addresses. That way each router can be programed to reject any IP addresses not in your set. That would make illegal taps almost impossible to do.

I have only covered a fraction of the info needed to construct an independent network. I'm hoping other folks that know more than I will comment.

Last edited by Joe Smo; 07-17-2013 at 10:34 PM.. Reason: mispelled word
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:23 PM
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This is always fun to play with, especially if you want to tap into your own home network when you are at your buddies house. I knew some people a few years ago who did something similar with old DirecTV dishes. Semi-line of sight, ranges of 5-10 miles (the record so far is over 100 miles), and the equipment is available all over the place.

When I was deployed, the barracks were about 250 meters from the nearest hotspot. And not wanting to have to hang out under a tent in 130 degree weather, I built myself a Pringles can antenna so I could access the net from my trailer. The only problem is that the Chair Force got wise and tore 2 of them off of the building and threatened with going to my command if I ever did it again.
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:53 PM
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This won't work unless you have a few fortunate things.

1. Line of sight: The loss for the frequencies that wifi operates on is tremendous. You need LOS and a great antenna

2. Elevation: To get any kind of decent LOS, you need elevation, be it a tower or a hill, altitude helps

The "record" is 100 miles across a mountain. They were using specialized wifi adapters hooked into Cband dishes, it is NOT feasible.

What is feasible however, is to run sort of a BBS over the radio. It would have to be a low bandwidth function (think 9600 baud here), and it would be rather limited, but it would offer you a worldwide coverage.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by no_fair_fights View Post
This won't work unless you have a few fortunate things.

1. Line of sight: The loss for the frequencies that wifi operates on is tremendous. You need LOS and a great antenna

What is feasible however, is to run sort of a BBS over the radio. It would have to be a low bandwidth function (think 9600 baud here), and it would be rather limited, but it would offer you a worldwide coverage.
Actually, my friends had no problem setting up a permanent connection (baring bad weather) across around 3.5 miles, with the dishes mounted on wood frames about 10 feet above their roofs.

And yea, packet radio, have not thought of that in years. I knew a lot of HAM guys about 20 years ago that were really into that (I was into landline BBS myself).

http://wiki.complete.org/PacketRadio
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:45 PM
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Actually, my friends had no problem setting up a permanent connection (baring bad weather) across around 3.5 miles, with the dishes mounted on wood frames about 10 feet above their roofs.

And yea, packet radio, have not thought of that in years. I knew a lot of HAM guys about 20 years ago that were really into that (I was into landline BBS myself).

http://wiki.complete.org/PacketRadio
You must have some flat geography for that to work, around here there are major geographical constraints to doing that.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:01 PM
FoxOne FoxOne is offline
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A 6 mile wifi connection with a camera system will need a reasonable sized solar panel to run it.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:10 PM
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You must have some flat geography for that to work, around here there are major geographical constraints to doing that.
SE Alabama is generally pretty flat. They had planned on setting up 4 or 5 of these so they could conduct remote LAN parties, but the biggest problem was trees so they only got 1 of the planned 5 connections (they got 2 of the others to work, but they did it in late fall - within 4 months the spring leaves killed the signal). This was the most important one however, since the guy connected did not have high speed internet available at his home.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:44 AM
Nift Nift is offline
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My question would be how to get the signal full duplex using a Yagi like this. You kinda talk about it by saying you need 2 routers but routers work on duplex, never heard of setting one for receive only or transmit only.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:42 AM
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My question would be how to get the signal full duplex using a Yagi like this. You kinda talk about it by saying you need 2 routers but routers work on duplex, never heard of setting one for receive only or transmit only.
You can use two yagis, using a router that supports it. Like a WRT54G, has two antennas. You then flash the router with OpenWRT or something similar, and set one antenna for transmit and one for receive.
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Old 07-30-2013, 03:20 AM
Nift Nift is offline
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Interesting.. guess it time to look closer at OpenWRT.. have two routers with 2 antennas
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