Fun with cheap long distance WLAN

So what can you do with some cheap wireless APs, cheap antennas, and one mildly costly amplifier (all within legal limits)?

Keep in mind this not a point-to-point system. The main antenna is an omni.

I was able to communicate among the S, I, and H points (5 mile hops), using I as an AP, quite reliably.

The basic setup was

The main antenna
main antenna Elevation 1800ft
Linksys WRT54g
OpenWRT
Home
fixed antenna Elevation 260ft
Linksys WRT54g
OpenWRT
Portable
mobile antenna Elevation variable
Linksys WRT54g
OpenWRT

topographic map of antennas locations This is a topographic map of some of the contacts I and an associate made while wondering around with antennas.

The closer group is around 5 miles. And I could generally use the link reasonably reliably.

The further link was highly unreliable.

The "I" is the main antenna.

Here are some excerpts from data I collected over 6 months on a 5 mile link:

rf signal vs noise by month ping latency by month
packet loss by day packet loss by week

Generally as long as the packet less rate was below 30% TCP would operate fine over the connection.

Generally I was running 1 to 6mpbs as the physical link rate.

An interesting fact, which shows more clearly if you have all the data, is that people's microwaves definitely radiate all over the 2.4GHz band around lunch and dinner time.

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