Bringing the MHS online 5


It might come as no surprise that radio signals don’t like to penetrate metals. What was surprising is how little it takes to completely annihilate a common wifi signal. Shut the door from the inside of the trailer and you are essentially sitting in a faraday cage.  Even with a relatively powerful router (Netgear R7000 Nighhawk), not more than 20 meters away from the antennas, communication was essentially impossible.



Leaving the door open only several centimeters I was able to get a good signal with a speeds of at least 54Mbits. Once the door is shut none of my devices, be it laptop or mobile phone, was able to connect or even pick up my SSID. I really did not expect the thin aluminum sheets to block out signals to this extend.

MHScon

To solve this problem I would need to mount a repeater or wireless bridge that has an antenna on the outside, and one on the inside of the trailer if I want to have Wifi there as well.

Bridges and repeaters are relatively cheap these days and so are external antennas. I have never had to mount radio equipment that has to resist the elements but apparently there are plenty of options.

antenna

I felt the Engenius Outdoor High Gain 8dBi Omni Antenna for about $22 will not only resist the elements but also give a cool “FBI surveillance Van” look to the MHS.

Results:

I used a TP link station with two external antennas. I removed one of the factory antennas and hooked up the new outdoor antenna.

2013-11-21 23.33.23

Reception inside before:

before

Barely picking up my own router. I could not even connect from any device.

With new Antenna:

after

Apparently the whole neighborhood has joined. Signal quality is good and i am getting reliable speeds at around 200 Mbits.

 

wall mount

Pro-Tip: If you ever have to wall/surface mount a device with a hole pattern on the back; make a photocopy of the device on simply screw the paper where you want the device to be. This works like a charme and you dont end up having 17 trial and error holes in your wall.

 

 

Conclusion: for around 50$ this was well worth the money. I can now shut the door enjoy my privacy and still have a high speed internet connection. (insert relevant youporn joke here). The antenna works great and surely gives the mobile hacker-space a more techie look. Also during traveling I will be able to use this as a repeater for open wifi access points.

antenna mounted

 

 


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