outdoor wireless access point

Hi experts, I'm looking for advice.  I have to expand an existing wireless network to an open\outdoor area. Though i have setup and design many wireless networks i have never done anything that would service a public open area.

for starters, what environmental elements should be considered for this? meaning weather, number of users, what's around the area, etc...  I want to make sure there's a reliable coverage for everyone even in undesired weather conditions. As a side note, i'm located in the north east.
jorge diazSEAsked:
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rtayIT DirectorCommented:
How big is the overall area that needs to be covered?  Are there large buildings, groves of trees etc blocking areas that need to be covered.  Outdoor in the elements should not be an issue with good quality outdoor rated equipment.  I find sun is the biggest problem, but mostly with plastic parts.  I use stainless steel zip ties if zip ties are required.  

For a large open area you will need an access point and a series of repeaters overlapping to handle mobile device hand offs.  if spanning areas around large buildings you may need to go with a mixture of point to point and access points to cover.

Check www.ubnt.com for equipment and set up ideas.  I use this equipment.
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
I've had good results with Engenius ENH700EXT for dispersed installations such as large RV parks with links in the order of 100 yards (line of sight) - which seems a rather short distance in view of how it was done.

Cable things together whenever possible. Use wireless links only when a cabled solution isn't feasible.

We used the 5GHz radios on the ENH700EXT for the inter-unit links and 2.4GHz for client services.  All of the radios can be on the same subnet and can likely be on separate subnets if desired.  

We used high gain mesh antennas for unit-to-unit 5GHz links in a hub and spoke configuration.  We used the provided vertical antennas for 2.4GHz.

This way there was no loss of bandwidth as you might get with WDS.  The links are 1-1 and dedicated to that service only without repeaters.

Higher gain verticals could be used but you need to know that the vertical beam patterns will be narrower and should be oriented such that the radiation gets to the users.  Some of these have a fixed electrical down-tilt so the antenna can "look down" to some extent.  This is handy in smaller areas when the antenna is going to be higher up (e.g. on a pole).

In view of the geographical location, I would suggest using radome-covered parabolic antennas in order to reduce the effects of ice.  I would not recommend bare Yagi antennas for this purpose.  Most of the vertical antennas have a plastic or fiberglass cover that will reduce the detuning effects of water and ice.

rtay has given you good advice.

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jorge diazSEAuthor Commented:
Thank you gentlemen,  your input is greatly appreciated.

After the location assessment it turns out it's not as open or complicated as i thought, it is in a common outdoor area where they expect a maximum of 90 concurrent connection during peak time. Because of the area layout the AP will have to be exposed to the elements and a ethernet cable will be run to the network closet in the building. My biggest challenge was the cable run but the building management will take care of it, i just have to specify the specs and AP location.  so i will tell them to run cat 5e or 6 outdoor ethernet cable (i expect to use PoE), cable must ran in a conduit and it should comply with all regulations.  My job is to advise them where to run the cable, configure the AP and all the technology behind it to make it work.
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