Our goal is to use an exiting access point and without modifying the system build a wireless bridge that can make a one mile point to point link. We want to remain strictly legal and extend our range.
Your access point typically is rated to produce between 14 and 21 dB (decibels) of output power. This equates to between about 25 and 100 mw (milliwatts). This is about 1 lumen or somewhat less than one candlepower. That’s not much! by any measure. When you think about it in those terms, it’s pretty amazing that they can be used at all. Fortunately the frequencies of light and RF are dramatically different in the way they are absorbed and reflected by various solids.
It is good to note that metal surfaces reflect radio frequencies. It matters little whether the metal is polished of not. The shape of the metal surface is the critical factor. Any metal surface will reflect radio waves. Some will work better than others.
Resonance is another property of metal surfaces. It happens when a radio wave “bumps” into a surface that is a multiple of a quarter of a wave length long at the frequency of the wave.
Engineers consider these properties of metal and many other factors when designing antennas and packaging radio systems. Your access point is a packages radio system. The engineers carefully considered not just the type but the placement of antennas in the finished package to obtain a desired “antenna pattern”.
The FCC has mandated that you may NOT modify your access point. If you modify the hardware (change antennas for example), you must use pre approved antennas. Sometimes you can get these from the vendor of your access point. Many times there are no such “approved” antennas available.
Current solutions typically violate the integrity of the hardware in one way or another and as a result violate existing FCC mandate. That is not good. The fine for knowingly operating a system in violation of FCC mandate is $5000.00 PER DAY of operation.
In order to accomplish our goal we will need to hit the following milestones:
Build an antenna enhancement which will not violate the integrity of our existing system.
Build a weather proof container for our AP.
Carry power to the AP without running AC to our roof top (a decidedly bad idea).
Move our AP out of the house and up onto the roof or side of the building where it has clear line of site to the other end of our link.
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