08/09/2018
Outdoor WiFi for New England Home
Used Products
×1
Location
Bow, NH, USA
Description

Having had a great experience using an AC-HD and an AC-LR to provide WiFi to every nook and cranny of my three story house and two-bay garage, it was time to extend the network outdoors to my deck, firepit and field. While the idea of being able to connect to my network from distant hills is appealing, I'd rather limit the number of neighbors that are tempted by my SSIDs. So I opted for a single AC-Mesh AP.

 

At first I considered mounting it along the roofline of my garage - about 18 feet (6m) from the ground. I had already run several Cat5e lines out to my garage for my security cameras and had a few to spare; so networking would be easy. But after reading several threads complaining about poor AC-Mesh coverage, and analyzing the antenna patterns until I had a migraine, I decided mounting it lower was likely better (and all of my site surveys since installing it have confirmed this suspicion).

 

So I decided to install it on the corner of my deck next to my pool. The deck and fire pit on the lawn below the pool are the two areas I most wanted to cover. My driveway in front of the garages is already well covered by the AC-LR, especially when the garage doors are open. But the deck, pool and firepit coverage was poor - even using 2.4Ghz. 

 

Considering different mounting options, I decided to steer clear of metal poles after reading concerns about their impact on coverage. I had an old wooden flag pole, but it had not withstood the weather up here well. So I decided to go with bamboo, cutting down the pole of a "Tiki torch" used for warding off mosquitos. It works and looks great perched at the edge of my deck. I originally used nearly the full length of the pole (4 feet), but ended up cutting it down to less than 3 feet after Wifiman surveys showed much better firepit and field coverage with it mounted lower. Fortunately this did not impact deck or pool coverage.

 

I ran outdoor Cat5e from the pole under my deck into the house through an existing conduit. There I wired it up through a Ubiquiti ETH-SP-2 Surge Protector. For ground (Earth) I canibalized a computer power cable, removing the hot prongs and wires leaving just the ground. This enables me to ground the surge protector to the house ground.  From the surge protector the line goes into the PoE injector and from there to the house network (managed Cisco gigabit switch).20180808_131331.jpg

 

20180808_131339.jpg

 

20180808_131357.jpg

 

20180808_131506.jpg

 

20180808_134757.jpg

 

20180808_134800.jpg

 

WiFi_Coverage.jpg

 

Wiring_Rig.jpg

 

 

 

Now my deck, pool, firepit and most of the field beyond are well covered (<50 dBm on deck and firepit, <60 dBm at the edges). Although the tree in the middle of the field does block a lot of signal, it's ok. As our New Hampshire native poet Robert Frost once wrote: "Good fences make good neighbors". There's no need to provide them WiFi Man Happy

 

Outdoor WiFi for New England Home

by ‎08-09-2018 03:37 AM - edited ‎08-09-2018 08:26 AM

Having had a great experience using an AC-HD and an AC-LR to provide WiFi to every nook and cranny of my three story house and two-bay garage, it was time to extend the network outdoors to my deck, firepit and field. While the idea of being able to connect to my network from distant hills is appealing, I'd rather limit the number of neighbors that are tempted by my SSIDs. So I opted for a single AC-Mesh AP.

 

At first I considered mounting it along the roofline of my garage - about 18 feet (6m) from the ground. I had already run several Cat5e lines out to my garage for my security cameras and had a few to spare; so networking would be easy. But after reading several threads complaining about poor AC-Mesh coverage, and analyzing the antenna patterns until I had a migraine, I decided mounting it lower was likely better (and all of my site surveys since installing it have confirmed this suspicion).

 

So I decided to install it on the corner of my deck next to my pool. The deck and fire pit on the lawn below the pool are the two areas I most wanted to cover. My driveway in front of the garages is already well covered by the AC-LR, especially when the garage doors are open. But the deck, pool and firepit coverage was poor - even using 2.4Ghz. 

 

Considering different mounting options, I decided to steer clear of metal poles after reading concerns about their impact on coverage. I had an old wooden flag pole, but it had not withstood the weather up here well. So I decided to go with bamboo, cutting down the pole of a "Tiki torch" used for warding off mosquitos. It works and looks great perched at the edge of my deck. I originally used nearly the full length of the pole (4 feet), but ended up cutting it down to less than 3 feet after Wifiman surveys showed much better firepit and field coverage with it mounted lower. Fortunately this did not impact deck or pool coverage.

 

I ran outdoor Cat5e from the pole under my deck into the house through an existing conduit. There I wired it up through a Ubiquiti ETH-SP-2 Surge Protector. For ground (Earth) I canibalized a computer power cable, removing the hot prongs and wires leaving just the ground. This enables me to ground the surge protector to the house ground.  From the surge protector the line goes into the PoE injector and from there to the house network (managed Cisco gigabit switch).20180808_131331.jpg

 

20180808_131339.jpg

 

20180808_131357.jpg

 

20180808_131506.jpg

 

20180808_134757.jpg

 

20180808_134800.jpg

 

WiFi_Coverage.jpg

 

Wiring_Rig.jpg

 

 

 

Now my deck, pool, firepit and most of the field beyond are well covered (<50 dBm on deck and firepit, <60 dBm at the edges). Although the tree in the middle of the field does block a lot of signal, it's ok. As our New Hampshire native poet Robert Frost once wrote: "Good fences make good neighbors". There's no need to provide them WiFi Man Happy

 

{"location":{"title":"Bow, NH, USA","placeId":"ChIJnecaxsZA4okRpcORj69arLk"},"addedProducts":[{"id":"unifi-ac-mesh-ap","count":1}],"solved":"","numbers":"","description":"","mainImage":"169386i92C119A4024EE041"}

Comments
by
on ‎08-09-2018 09:06 PM

Great story and install.  Really brought home that while site planning is important there is still a need for on-site testing.

My only suggestion is to install a second SP-2 near the mesh AP and connect it to a properly installed grounding rod.  Alway two with outdoor radios - one outside near the radio and one inside prior to your switch - both properly grounded. You will thank me if your mesh AP is ever struck by lightning.

by
on ‎08-10-2018 04:17 AM

Thnaks for the feedback @Jdld!

 

I was debating adding a second SP-2. Have you heard concerns about them degrading Ethernet performance? There are some articles that describe tests done with similar devices, APC I believe, that decreased Ethernet throughput signifcantly, especially when two are used. If this is a concern, would it be better to move the SP-2 to the other end of the line closer to the access point? I could always get a second one and run some tests Man Happy Would be interested to know your thoughts though.

 

BTW, they won't protect against a direct lightening hit (see: https://community.ubnt.com/t5/airMAX-Installation/ETH-SP-G2-Surge-Protector-is-totally-useless/m-p/2...) - but I honestly didn't expect them too. Near miss protection is fine Man Happy

 

Thanks again,

 

M

by
‎08-10-2018 08:05 AM - edited ‎08-10-2018 06:31 PM

@-M- Haven’t heard off or experienced any degradation of ethernet performance associated with the SP-2. You are correct on the direct strike but thankfully unless APs are installed as lightning rods most lightning related issues are not direct strikes. Search the forums for lightning  and grounding related posts by @eejimm  for some good information. 

 

Edit: here is one directly related https://community.ubnt.com/t5/airMAX-General-Discussion/Ethernet-Surge-Protector-Installation/m-p/23...

by
on ‎08-11-2018 01:54 AM

Thanks again @Jdld! I ordered a second SP-G2 and an 8' copper grounding rod for the AC-Mesh end of the connection. 

 

Out of curiosity I am going to run some wired throughput tests with and without one and two surge protectors and will post in the forums if I do notice any performance degredation.  Hopefully that's a myth.

by
‎08-11-2018 03:23 PM - edited ‎08-11-2018 03:26 PM

Do NOT install a ground rod that is not properly bonded to the primary house ground.

 

You will cause more problems than any good with the ground differential.

 

You are not installing this on a tall tower, so two supressors is overkill.

 

Simply install one outside the structure and properly connect it to the home ground system.

 

Great pics! You have yourself a very high end WiFi system that will be future proof for quite some time.

by
on ‎08-11-2018 03:37 PM

Thanks @j2840fl!

 

Do you have any tips on how to connect to the home ground system? As I understand it I can use the existing grounding rod that my house electrical system grounds to. Unfortunately this is on the opposite corner of the house from where this line enters. I also read that cold water pipes can be used, but I do not have any of these on the outside of the house...

 

Thanks again for the tips. I was dreading pounding an 8' ground rod into the granite-laden soil so I am glad to hear that's a bad idea at least Man Happy

by
on ‎08-11-2018 03:44 PM

You can get a cold water ground clamp and connect it to a copper line inside and run wire out to the suppressor. 

 

As long as the ground wire is shorter that the ethernet run.

 

Make sure you use shielded cabled and connectors on outdoor data cables.

by
on ‎08-11-2018 04:20 PM

Very nice! Be sure to update the post with how many birds try to land on the antennas each month.

by
on ‎08-11-2018 04:47 PM

@ahBGUO12 Will do! I have been wondering if the birds were going to take a liking to it. They haven't yet but I will post an update if they do Man Happy

 

@j2840fl Is it ok if the ground wire clamped to a cold water pipe exits the building through the same conduit as the CAT5e line? It would have to run alongside the line coming into the house. If not, what is the drawback\risk of moving the surge protector to just inside the building (as I have it now), and connecting the ground to the cold water pipe from there? Thanks again for your advice on this.

by
on ‎08-11-2018 04:53 PM

Yes, that's how I run ground.

 

The idea is to keep the surge outside the structure.

 

You wont stop a direct strike, but a nearby one may be stopped there.