How can I make a wireless/radio LAN?

Hi

I am trying to setup a wireless or radio network to manage remote devices. We have 30 locations that are 50km or more apart.

Can anyone suggest how I would link these all together so we can access all locations from one spot?

Is it even worth doing because I think just the distance & weather will make the signal drop packets all over the place.

I have added a picture to give you an idea. Each circle is 25km wide. In the middle of each circle is where the device would be.

I am assuming each location will need to connect to the closes location. This will make a chain/mesh all the way so everything is then connected.
locations.png
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hutnorAsked:
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HappyCactusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Try searching "Radio Modem". I see that the distance of this hw is tens km, I suppose that the range you need is about 50km ?
Remember that the bandwidth with such a modem are about 19200bps, very poor with the actual parameters, but it depends on the application (why you need this network?)

an example for these modem are this: http://www.satel.com/products/satellar/
It seems like something you need...
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HappyCactusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I think that the technology you would use is Ham Radio, since the dinstance are too wide for any other wireless technology.
I think Tcp/ip over ham radio is what you'll need.
The Ham Radio Linux HowTo is maybe a good start:http://www.linuxsavvy.com/resources/linux/howto/HAM-HOWTO/HAM-HOWTO.html and  http://tldp.org/HOWTO/AX25-HOWTO/
This page has many document and sw you'd need: http://radio.linux.org.au/?sectpat=All&ordpat=title
Introductory: http://www.gb7imk.co.uk/g8sfr/what_is_tcp
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hutnorAuthor Commented:
Thanks but I was looking more of what hardware & how to set that up. Something like a wireless router but on bigger scale.
I will worry about software after - that is the easy part.

The locations are remote meaning they have nothing connecting to them at all. Not even power. We have solar running on each one so power is limited. Space is also very limited so I would not be able to put a PC there.

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HappyCactusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
It's not a standard wireless router, since 2.4GHz is not practical with these dinstance.
I think you should use a Ham radio or similar - with appropriate antennas system (you do not need necessarily a omnidirectional antenna).
For routing packet you do not need a standard PC - also a small factor PC or embedded system with appropriate software is good.
do not overlook the hardware-software integration, you'll probably need hardware that is supported by the software you'll install, so it's good to concentrate on hardware, but take a look also to the software problem!
If environmental condition are a problem (high/low temperatures, humidity) you should look at industrial strength hardware! Commercial hardware behaves poorly in the desert!

Hope that helps
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hutnorAuthor Commented:
Do you know any hardware brand or things I can search for in google. I really have no idea about any of this.

Where would I buy a HAM radio from? I typed this in google & it just brought up radio clubs.

you do not need necessarily a omnidirectional antenna
Whats that?

We have high winds, low temp -5 or 10 degrees, high temp 45-50 degrees out in the sun or more, rain & hail.
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cybervzhn_techConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I wouldn't say packet radio is the only choice.  I will say $$, importance, and resources determine what the possibilities are.  Keep in mind packet radio means communications licenses, antenna towers, local zoning, construction permits, etc.  WiMAX uses both licensed and unlicensed spectrum as well as a much higher frequency which has more throughput.  WiMAX bounces easier because of the shorter wavelength as well as using more recent technology advances.

As far as what technologies are available, I would start with Wikipedia.    

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_wireless_data_standards
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packet_radio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WiMAX

It all depends on the resources you have at your disposal. (mainly $, manpower, and time)
It also depends on what the bandwidth requirements are and how timely the data has to be.

Do you need a realtime connection for live data or control? or can it be packets where delay is acceptable?
Does your implementation need session capabilities or can it be just packets?  (in laymans terms, the difference between postal mail and a phone call)

If you need live control based on monitoring, and what your device does is critical, you may need session capability and backup connectivity to ensure communication regardless of what you choose for the wireless part.

In regard to connection speed; if the data transmitted would work with analog phone lines/modems, packet radio may be the solution.  If your requirements are higher, more like broadband, WiMAX might be a better choice.  


Most packet radio implementations are in the 1200 bps for short range, 300 bps for long range, and are similar to a serial modem connection in many ways.  In the 2 metre range (144 - 148Mhz) the transmission distance can vary from 10 to 100 miles and is roughly line of sight plus 10-15%.  If there are hills, mountains, or lots of tall structures between "stations" it may require tall antenna towers.

To use TCP/IP, you have to encapsulate it within AX.25 to remain compliant with regulations regarding ham radio.(call sign on each packet).  AX.25 encapsulation rules vary from country to country.  This will assuredly require radio operator licensing which can get complex and expensive.

If the data transmission has higher throughput requirements, more like broadband, you may want to take a look at WiMAX.  Current WiMAX deployments have shown capacities up to 1 Gbps with latencies of around 1 ms.
WiMAX has a maximum cell range of 50 km (31 miles).  Real world throughput has shown fixed endpoints at the edge of a WiMAX cell ending up with 1-4 Mbps of throughput.

Regardless of what is best theoretically, $$ are the limiting factor and you have to consider how long the solution must work and it will evolve.  Is this a commerical solution or DIY?  What is the lifetime of this project?  Will requirements increase over time in regard to throughput, number of locations, or geographic footprint or will all of this stay the same?

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HappyCactusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Yes Cybervzhn,

I agree with you, but I think (from the image the author provided) that the range is outside wimax capabilities.
But of course, this is just an idea, We should need to know more about the application from the author before make some practical suggestion...
WiMax is indeed an option, in effects.
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hutnorAuthor Commented:
The traffic is mainly to manage device by http. There would also be data traffic to push out updates to the devices. In future it may get used for other services & features but we have not looked to far into that yet. Currently we are trying to find out if it would be possible to get this working so we have a connection that is not dropping out & has some speed.

Do you need a realtime connection for live data or control? or can it be packets where delay is acceptable?
Delay is fine but must not drop / timeout.

Does your implementation need session capabilities or can it be just packets?  (in laymans terms, the difference between postal mail and a phone call)
Sessions - We need to make a session with the device to manage it.

Is this a commerical solution or DIY?  
commerical

What is the lifetime of this project?  
No plans to end it we have only just started it

Will requirements increase over time in regard to throughput, number of locations, or geographic footprint or will all of this stay the same?
More location will be added, only one or two people using it at a time so not much of an increase in requirments, I don't know what you mean by footprint. If you mean will the land change - I do not think it will unless we have some extreme weather.

I see that the distance of this hw is tens km, I suppose that the range you need is about 50km ?
50km is about the average - I would like to get soemthing that can cover maybe up to 75km just to make sure we have the range. Not all location are going to be a perfect 50km.
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hutnorAuthor Commented:
We want to make a private network. If we have to pay fees to have it running then depending on how much all that is we might now do it.
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hutnorAuthor Commented:
Hi All

I manage to find someone & they have given me a cost to do this.

My manager almost fell over backwards
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hutnorAuthor Commented:
Costs to much not going to move forward with it no more.
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