View Full Version : OT-Internet signal relay equipment

12-26-2010, 01:35 PM
Does anyone if there is affordable Internet relay equipment on the market?

To explain: Wireless Internet is largely unavailable in our hilly country and generally speaking, satellite service is over-subscribed. Consequently, a local entrepreneur is installing relay stations. Wherever he can round up enough subscribers he plants a pole on a hilltop and hangs a solar-powered receiver and re-transmitter on it.

He needs five subscribers before it becomes a paying proposition. Unfortunately, down in our canyon we would probably be the only ones who would use his service. My son has urged me to try a DIY installation; but, first I need to find an equipment supplier.

Do any of you have some suggestions?

Best regards,


12-26-2010, 01:43 PM
Look through these pages. They've been doing this for years and years. I've built several of the various cantenna examples and the range is excellent. They also discuss hardware options. It is quite extensive.


12-26-2010, 04:24 PM
Some questions:

How far is the house from the nearest location for the relay that has a clear line of sight to both the house and the distant router? How far is it from that location to the distant router? Line of sight means just that. No trees allowed or any other obstruction. The path needs to have a full view, not just peeking between trees.

Do you plan on using solar power for the relay?

12-26-2010, 06:06 PM
Thank you, dp, for the link, I'll follow up on it.

Evan, a likely spot for such an installation would be the rim on either side of our canyon. We don't have to worry about trees because there is nothing but pasture and cropland all around. One of the two sites is shown in the first picture on this page; it is the highest part of the ridge, just left of center:


Our house is the right-most white roof in front of the red roof at the bottom of the canyon, slightly left of center. I was standing on the other likely site when I snapped the picture. As you can see, it is clear line-of-sight from our house to either site. I'm guessing the distances to be 2-miles and 1.5-miles. (Distances, here, are deceiving. It is a huge canyon. I once asked a grizzled old uncle--he had lived in the country all his life--how far he thought it was to a distant hay-shed. He guessed 1.5-miles; we clocked it at 6-miles on my truck's odometer.)

The ISP's wireless transmitter is line-of-sight over my left shoulder, approximately 20-miles distant.

Solar power would be the only option. My son subscribes to the commercial service I already described. Its power comes from a photo-voltaic panel and battery pack. Even though we have very little direct sunshine this time of year, he has had continuous service, so far.

The distances in his installation are fifteen miles and one-half mile.

Best regards,


12-26-2010, 06:17 PM
for any distance over a km, I would go with Ubiquiti Bullet 2HPs.

start by reading this tutorial:


12-26-2010, 06:28 PM
Are you sure that the ISP unit is really line of sight? 20 mile is over the horizon unless one or bothe nds are elevated above the terrain between them.

Also, do you know for sure what protocol the ISP is broadcasting?

12-26-2010, 06:47 PM
Are you sure that the ISP unit is really line of sight? 20 mile is over the horizon unless one or bothe nds are elevated above the terrain between them.

Curvature of the earth and over-the-horizon has very little meaning in hilly and mountainous terrain. If I can see the mountaintop where the transmitter is located, I can rest assured it is line of sight.

First, I locate equipment suppliers. Then, I check on ballpark pricing. If we can get past the two hurdles I'll start worrying about protocol.


12-26-2010, 07:39 PM
If you do it yourself you can get by for no more than about 3 to 5 hundred dollars for the electronics, not counting the solar system and associated parts. You need several yagis, a router with signal amp pointed at the ISP, a router with amp pointed at the house and a router with amp at the house. The solar panel with charge controller and batteries is going to cost maybe $500 to 700 depending on how much spare capacity you need for bad weather. You will need misc bits to build a small tower and a metal shed or box to keep cattle etc from interfering with the relay and to get the antennas away from the ground.

The price for the electronics is going to depend very heavily on where you buy them. You can buy an outdoor 100 watt rated 18 db gain yagi from DX for $21 with a discount for 3 or more. They have a multi protocol CDMA/WCDMA/HSPA/TD-HSPA/EVDO 3G Mobile Broadband Modem + 2.4GHz 802.11n/g/b Wireless Router for $57 and a 2.4GHz 2 watt 802.11b/g Broadband Wi-Fi Amplifier with lightning protection for $132.

BTW, satellite truly sucks and If I had a location to put up a relay for $1000 all you would be seeing right now is my dust.

12-26-2010, 08:09 PM
Here's a DIY page for just this requirement:



12-26-2010, 08:35 PM
If you do it yourself you can get by for no more than about 3 to 5 hundred dollars for the electronics...

The outfit that I already mentioned charges $500 up front and $70 per month thereafter. If my in-my-head calculations are not too far off this would be on the order of $1,340 for the first year and $840 after that. It seems as though a DIY set-up might be the way to go. My son paid for his installation and his renter pays the monthly fee, so for him it wasn't all that bad.

An acquaintance of ours gets Internet service via satellite. Their equipment died not long ago; it took three weeks of foot-dragging before they got their service back. In the meantime, they were paying for service they were not getting.


12-28-2010, 12:59 AM
What will the ISP be charging you per month? I would not be surprised to find that the $70 is mostly going to the ISP.


12-28-2010, 01:35 AM
Might be a good choice for a linksys router with DD-WRT installed and a couple amps like evan suggested. DD-WRT is an open source firmware replacement for many, many routers. I use it on my linksys and it gives a whole lot more functionality, including using it as a repeater:


If you get one of the older WRT54GLs they have N connectors for the antennas so connecting an amp is easy.

12-28-2010, 01:54 AM
For a super versatile, super secure system, you might check out these guys: http://www.mikrotik.com/

I run a connection to a friend's house that's not line of sight. We go from my house, to a repeater where we rent tower space, and then out to his place. 10.5 miles on the first leg, and 11.5 miles on the second leg. Single board computers from Mikrotik on each end and one in the middle. Very secure, all encrypted. He gets a rock-solid 15-20mbit of throughput on that 2-hop connection.

For lower cost stuff, I think you can't beat Ubiquiti right now.


12-28-2010, 02:22 AM
Those products look like they require a computer slot and computer. Is that the case?

12-28-2010, 11:48 AM

The Routerboards are all single board computers.