4 Tips for Outdoor Wireless Installations

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How to get the best performance from wireless access points (WAP) installed outside


Feb. 22, 2010 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

You know you want it: the ability to sit by the pool while pretending you’re at work? To do that, you’ll want to locate a wireless access point (WAP) outside of the home.

A WAP allows wireless devices – such as printers, cameras and computers - to connect to a network, usually via WiFi (802.11). Doesn’t a wireless router do that? Indeed, wireless routers have WAPs built in, but you can spread additional WAPs throughout the house to extend the network’s reach. A WAP typically connects to the network via Ethernet cable.

Nick Phillips of Pakedge, which makes outdoor networking devices (and has a great logo!), provides these tips:

  • Try not to mount the WAP on exterior walls, as chicken wire and other wall materials can degrade the signal.
  • Using a WAP with power over Ethernet (POE) means you don’t have to run an extra wire for power. But you may not get the same range of products powered the old fashioned way.
  • It may seem appealing to mount a WAP on your roof, but you might have a tough time getting to the reset button if you need it.
  • The IP (International Protection) Rating, tells you how weatherproof your outdoor product really is. Phillips recommends a rating of 67 for exposed WAPs.

What happens to a wireless link when it rains?
According to Cisco, nothing happens.

It is a common misconception that environmental factors such as rain, sleet, or snow can bring down a wireless link. Even at torrential rainfall rates experienced in the stormiest of locations, the wireless signal is negligibly degraded at the frequencies where 802.11 wireless devices operate.



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