Can i build a case for an Access Point ?

Hi all,

i'm in the process of installing a few outdoor wireless access points. The customer is asking if the AP can be painted block so that they can be blend in the environment.

I though of instead of painting them we can build a custom wooden case to put it in, would it affect the signal strength or performance?

jorge diazSEAsked:
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Yes, anything you put around the access point will affect performance.  Whether or not it is enough to matter depends a lot on what the material is and how thick it is.

This should be a very simple thing to test.  Set up an access point and a computer at the sort of distance over which you want coverage.  Monitor the signal strength as shown on the computer (or use one of many Android or iOS free apps that will give you better details on a smart phone).  Place a piece of the wood you want to use in front of the AP and see what happens to the strength.  Angle the wood (effectively making it thicker) to simulate being off axis.

That should give you the answers that you need!

Why are you reluctant to paint them?
another option would be to 'leave' the antenna(s) outside the box.
Though you might need to use antenna extender(s) to do it. Depends on what you make the box out of (as ComP mentioned)

A 'thick' box, with one 'thin' side for the antennas migth work. Depends on how the antennas are attached.

Don't forget about waterproofing, and to arrange the antennas so 'rain' doesn't travel down the antennas toward the device.

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AkinsdNetwork AdministratorCommented:
Some Outdoor APs (eg  AP 1532E) have antennae ports.
If you're adamant about putting them in a box, that may be an area you should explore. Omnidirectional Antennae would be ideal
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jorge diazSEAuthor Commented:
I've read that painting would cause the ap to possibly overheat
If they are in direct sunlight, then painting them any dark color will cause them to be hotter than if they were a light color.  Dark colors absorb the light and thus the heat.

If you are building  case you also need to worry about heat, as any case that is not properly vented will also retain heat.  If the case is a dark color and in the sun it will also get hotter than if the case were a light color.
Thank you much.    : )
You didn't ask for it, but I'll offer a suggestion on an outdoor access point:

The price is reasonable (under $80), quality seems to be good, it does PoE (Power over Ethernet) and includes the power adapter (to use if your switch doesn't do PoE), is designed for outdoor use and is VERY flexible.  Configuring it can be slightly tricky as it won't work as a standard AP as it ships without making a couple of changes.

You wouldn't need to worry about waterproofing the unit as long as you have it oriented with the antenna up and have the cable exit the AP and then loop upward.  The loop will cause condensation and rain on the cable to connect at the bottom of the loop rather than run into the AP.
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