Recently I was tasked with getting internet down to a community dock without running a new ISP line. I saw a video a few months ago that got me really interested in Ubiquiti's products, and I was really excited to give them a try. So naturally, this was my first choice for tackling this project.
We opted for the less intrusive looking NanoBeam and- despite my many concerns after reading about the difficulty of non-line-of-sight links- a 27 mbps connection was achieved.
Mounted on a piling disconnected from the main dock is an Ambient Weather WS-1401-IP weather station atop one of their pole-mounts meant for the side of a building. On that pole is the NanoBeam and one of Ubiquiti's UVC G3 cameras. The gel-filled cat 5 cable runs from the NanoBeam, down the piling about 15 feet to the bottom of the bay, and back up to a waterproof box on the main dock. There, a switch connects to the weather station's wireless reciever and another cable running back out to the camera.
Everything works great (with exceptions... see below). The weather station uploads every minute to Weather Underground and the camera connects seamlessly to the UniFi Video server. That server then outputs the RTSP stream to another virtual server to do the following:
- FFMPEG captures an image every 15 seconds. At midnight, it compiles every image into a timelapse and deletes all of the raw images to make room for the next day.
- FFMPEG captures an image every minute and uploads it to Weather Underground's webcam service
- FFMPEG streams audio and video to YouTube live for streaming
- CVLC creates an OGG stream for viewing on local monitors
- Each of the above has a small overlay in the bottom-right that shows the current temperature and wind conditions using Node.JS
I do have a few questions that someone might be able to answer for me...
- I read that rain storms don't really impact a 5ghz connection, and the other day we had about 0.7in of rain and there was no problem. But tonight we've had a light sprinkling, totalling to 0.02in of rain, and the connection is having a lot of trouble. The "airMax Quality" hovers around 25%, but the "capacity" is 1-5%. I read that this could have to do with wet leaves, but the leaves must have been just as wet the other day, right?
- Any suggestions on how to improve the overall connection? It's only about 700 meters and the NanoBeam's aren't aligned at all right now, so I'm hopeful that it'll improve. But, the connection has to travel through the top of a house, a few trees, and some earth. I've included a screenshot of the AirLink simulator below. A relay isn't an option.
- Through UniFi Video, what configuration would you use to make it easier to see greater distances?
Overall I'm really happy (and almost obsessed) with how this turned out and the functionality it gives. The ability to grab weather conditions from out in the bay is something that people love. I already have friends lining up so we can set this up at their house, so I plan to setup a lot more of these in the future.