I work for an urban municipality and we are scheduling an event where we would like to setup a cheap, temporary camera network. I need to send the signal from downtown (where all of the cameras are) to one specific building. This building is a minimum of 2250ft away from the most vital camera and if possible I'd like to reach 2500-3000ft. I can most likely position a WiFi device on a large building, so I should be able to get line of sight.

Our municipality currently has microwave linked cameras, but that's far too expensive for this temporary operation. So I was hoping to use some sort of long-range WiFi or whatever the cheapest option is. If necessary, I can setup repeaters along the way and I would use whatever the building had for power. I thought of using high-gain antennas, that would totally be an option.

Does anybody have any thoughts on some example technology I could use to solve this problem? I'm currently thinking of using a mix of repeaters/high gain antenna/wireless cameras, but I'm unsure if that is realistic.

  • 1
    Best bet would be microwave. Short of that I would suggest something similar to a yagi antenna which would give you some of the best directional wireless available. Even so, a half mile is a LOONG way for wireless to go and you would definately have to have multiple sets of repeaters. Wouldn't it be easier to set up some wireless cameras and do something like a VPN back to homebase? – PsychoData Sep 24 '13 at 17:58
  • Yeah maybe I was overcomplicating it. That sounds like a good idea if I can run wire and tap into a network at one of the buildings. Anybody know what hardware would be good to use in that case? – TheFrack Sep 24 '13 at 18:17
  • Thanks all for the help. I think we decided we're just gonna find a building that has internet access that we can leech off of. If not, the WiFi may be an option. I credit this thread for pointing me more towards something practical though. – TheFrack Sep 25 '13 at 0:18

If you have Fresnel clearance (ie better then just marginal line of site), and there is not too much interference from other devices, a link of that distance should be trivial by using 2 external directional antennas, as that distance is well less then 1km - indeed you should be able to get more then 5 times that range with a couple of decent antennas (10 x that is not unheard of).

Note that 2.4 gig stuff can "go further" then 5 gig equipment, but there is generally less noise in the 5 gig band.

If its a big city you might be better off just getting a DSL connection put in though, as its a lot less work and will provide you greater reliability - particularly if there is a lot of interference.

  • 1
    I second the "put in DSL" suggestion. A local-to-me DSL ISP offers 20mbps ADSL2+ service for $40/mo, no contract, no install fee. That $40 is going to be a lot less than the cost of the Wi-Fi equipment and antennas, and several hours of city employee salary doing the long-range Wi-Fi install and troubleshooting. – Spiff Sep 24 '13 at 21:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.