Campground wifi mesh network options - heavily wooded area.

Anyone have a good recommendation for a heavily wooded campground that can support upwards of 5,000 campers and their devices?  Currently looking at 100Mbps and higher fiber options.  Checkbox has a solution that is strongly being considered, but at a price tag of over $20k just for the hardware, and may require fiber optic runs to four locations.  The fiber runs are out of the question at this point.  Longest run is about 1,500' to the pool building which needs to be part of the equation.  Mesh network preferred.
Jason JohanknechtIT ManagerAsked:
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Craig BeckCommented:
First question... Do you have power in locations where you need kit?
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
"Heavily Wooded" is bad news.  You may consider 900MHz links between Access Points.
We did a site like this with 3 Access points using ENH700EXT units in client bridge mode.
We used 5GHZ band for linking the ENH700EXT units (which, in this case lie on a straight line - so one "source" or "main unit" was fine).
One source unit and two "slave" units.
2.4 GHz used for client devices.
We made sure there was no vegetation blocking the 5GHz links and used high directionality, high gain antennas for these links.
Gel-filled direct-bury Ethernet cable is an alternative to fiber (or a radio link) and was used to connect the main unit to the ISP termination / router - but, of course is limited to 300 feet.
Why "mesh" for a campground?  Surely the campers don't need to inter-communicate.  It seems like a star orientation with the main site in the middle would be fine.

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Jason JohanknechtIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Mesh network is the thought, based on the 20-30 access points that would feed off the bridged locations.  Looking for thoughts is main thing here.
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Jason JohanknechtIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Power can be added as needed.  The whole campground is electric sites.
Craig BeckCommented:
Mesh would offer a more resilient solution but the technology is tempremental if not deployed correctly.  Using a star topology may be feasible but not often do you have line-of-sight to all nodes where you need them.

It would be good to see a plan of the area, if possible.
Jason JohanknechtIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Heavily wooded with tall trees.  Line of sight is not possible without raising everything to 100' .  Hard wired will be a problem for this year, and probably won't happen any time soon.  If we go mesh, it would be using a system that is designed for me (Checkbox type company).  

Wondering if there is some new technology that would take this project in a different direction?
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
If  power "isn't a problem" and there aren't transformers interspersed within the distribution, you may be able to make use of powerline extenders where line of sight is compromised.  The source end needs an Ethernet connection to the network.  It's cheap and easy to try as once you have a pair of them communicating, you can move the far end around from site to site to see how it works.

Options for the far end include:
- Ethernet to a Switch, Router or Access Point
- Built-in Wireless Access Point plus Ethernet as above.
Jason JohanknechtIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
From experience using ethernet over power lines, I have been disappointed.  Speeds are terrible.  I would need reliable bandwidth.  And those examples were in buildings, not a campground.

I have not used that Netgear device.  Do you think it would work on a campground wiring?  I have no idea how the electrical is all connected.
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
Jason Johanknecht: That's why a simple set of experiments is warranted......  Nothing wrong with your questions.  Speeds have improved greatly with these extenders.  I've had mixed results but mostly acceptable results.  Most of the trouble is connectivity and not speed.  If the link connects then the speed is less an issue.  But, if it won't connect then the speed is zero.
Jason JohanknechtIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
We are still looking to gather more ideas.  Anyone else care to comment?
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
Heavily wooded would generally mean that looking down wouldn't make much sense.  
But then, heavily wooded could mean lots of trees that aren't very tall and it could mean that camping sites aren't covered with vegetation.
In that case, looking down might make some sense.
That is, put key antennas high up and looking down in order to create either a mesh or a star or a combination of both.
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
The original question appears to ask about classes of equipment for a specific environment.  That there is *no specific* "equipment designed for campgrounds" may have something to do with the honest answers.  I provided specific examples of equipment that does work (is working) in campgrounds and for equipment that can meet the "heavily wooded" environment.
Jason JohanknechtIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your advice.
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