How to design outdoor WLAN on a budget
For certain sectors of the market, in a particular caravan and holiday parks cash is king and therefore when it comes to deploying wireless they are looking for a cost effective solution. In an ideal world they would use enterprise equipment such as Ruckus or Cisco to provide a mesh network that is very resilient and robust. The cost of such systems puts them out off budget for most businesses in this sector.
This leads onto the question - "How do I create a robust outdoor network for my caravan site within a realistic budget?"
The key to creating a stable network is to create a 5Ghz back haul network that will distribute the internet connection around the site and then to use 2.4Ghz access points to provide client connectivity to the users as all client devices will support 2.4Ghz frequency.
In the example above a yellow Triangle indicates a 5Ghz base station with a 90deg sector antenna, this creates a backhaul network to 5Ghz Directional Client devices at each of the red dot locations. The Red triangles and show 2.4Ghz access points with Sector antennas to provide coverage to the north of the park and 2.4Ghz access points with Omni Directional antennas to provide coverage to the area shown with the transparent red circles.
The equipment required:-
5Ghz Backhaul Network
- 1 x 5Ghz Base station with 90deg Sector antenna
- 4 x 5Ghz Client units with Directional Antennas
2.4 Ghz Client access Network
- 2 x 2.4Ghz access points with 90deg Sector Antennas
- 4 x 2.4Ghz access points with Omni Directional Antennas
So how much will it cost?
The Deliberant product range is an excellent choice for this environment, combining reliability, robustness in outdoor environments, and performance with low price point. The equipment to cover the park in the example above would cost in the region of £1,100 - well within the reach of this market.
Payment and authentication.
This would provide internet access to client connecting to the network but would not provide any facility for charging for access, limiting bandwidth or time online. With the increase in regulation such as the Digital Economy Bill which states among other things that logs of traffic for internet use must be kept by the owner of the internet connection, it would be recommended that a gateway is installed. You can purchase the ZyXEL N4100 gateway from www.wifigear.co.uk, which is an ideal solution for caravan and campsites with a feature set ideally suited to this sector:-
- Allows access vouchers to be printed with a touch of a button.
- Limit bandwidth
- Keeps logs of user activity
- Allows user to pay for access with a credit card/paypal.
- Minimal training required for non-technical staff to operate.
This is a very basic introduction to setup a wireless network in holiday parks. We have recently launched another solution that is a full blown hotspot solution, allowing you to choose from building your social profile through Facebook likes, or earning revenue through vouchers, SMS or giving free access. If you need assistance then please get in touch.