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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Playing with 2.4 GHZ and HSMM-MESH

I took the plunge and acquired two Linksys WRT54GL routers to convert over to HSMM. I followed the instructions from  and the flash update was quick and easy. Was really amazed at how easy it was to convert them. Once they were updated and I put in my call sign they automatically connected to each other. I played with them for a few hours until I was comfortable with the firmware and setting. Then I took one next door to my in-laws house and found that the connection was pretty good with just the factory rubber ducks. After that, the ham in me took over and it was time to experiment!
I found a wire diagram for Power over Ethernet ( PoE) and the lightbulbs went off. In a typical 8 wire ethernet cable only 4 are used for data, the other two can be used for power. I used wires 1,2,3 and 6 for data, 4 / 5 for 12v, and 7 / 8 for ground. I made a 145' run of cable so that I could mount on my tower later. Here is the color code and RJ45 Pin layout.
RJ45 Pin#Color code nameColorUse
1white-greenData transmit+
2greenData transmit-
3white-brownData receive+
NC (4)orange+ DC power
NC (5)white-orange+ DC power
6brownData receive-
NC (7)white-blue- DC power
NC (8)blue- DC power 
I temporarily taped the ends to hold everything in place, figure I can clean it up later if it works. Plugged it in and everything worked perfect.

I ran the cable out to the in-laws backyard and placed one router on a flower pot in the shade; the other was placed here in the house. Plugged them all in and the connected immediately but only at 60%. This will not do and the ham in me fired out another idea. Let's get some gain going. I searched the web and found the cantenna through DXZone. I like simple so this was the plan and in about an hour this is what I had.

After hooking up the cantina and changing the settings on the router to one antenna side the signal jumped to 100%. This was much better than I expected from a old juice can and a small pigtail so I was pleased with myself. 
The next step is a temporary enclosure to keep the bugs and moisture off while I experiment. I had an old storage container that the xyl would not miss and went back to work. The router case took up a lot of room so back on the internet I found instructions to pop the case at Tech Republic. Here's the temporary enclosure.

So after having the enclosure next door for a while, I decided to purchase a commercial 2.4 GHZ antenna to see if I can connect with a few hams from our club. The 20 dbi Yagi should be here early next week. I'm going to Lowes for a good watertight enclosure and some heat shrink tubing for the PoE connections. I'll clean everything up and update this post once I get it mounted on my 55' tower.

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