1. Antennae

1.1. Do-It-Yourself

Before you proceed, you can gain some familiarity with generic info on selecting an external antenna. Another article describes typical connectors and cables used by 802.11b devices:

"802.11b Homebrew Antenna Shootout". Pringles Yagi, Tin Can Waveguide, Omni and others. The very cheap, very easy, tin can waveguide beats the pringles in performance, cost and simplicity.

Includes directions to build the antenna from cans

A HOWTO for a modular variation of the Pringles/Beefstew antenna

Slotted Waveguide Antenna (Omni or 180 degree Sector)

Waveguide Antenna

15 dBi Yagi

11 dBi Directional Panel antenna designs

2.4Ghz Omnidirectional Vertical Collinear Antenna Designs

A passive repeater:

Modifying a wireless cable TV Antenna for use with Wireless Networking

Antenna Comparison Testing

Guerrilla.net Workbench. extensive network link, antenna, and other RF calculation tools. (project is similar to ours, but appears stymied)

The folks in Canberra, Australia ( http://www.air.net.au/ ) have directions for making a helical 2.4 GHz antenna by hand (using PVC piping and copper wire).

They also reuse defunct old pay-TV dishes with defunct old (pre-802.11) WaveLan cards for their wireless network.

Here's a great example using a Primestar DSS satellite TV dish.

This guy made a really scary antenna for his ZoomAir card from cable TV wire, a sheet of copper, and some solder. It was inspired by a Pepsi can. He says it works great.

Video on how to make your own cantenna:

1.2. Commercial

Within this heading, {OK} icon for /!\ Seattle Wireless and user group member discounts.

1.3. Cable and Electronic Parts (have not bought from them yet)

(These stores supply the right stuff but we haven't bought from them so can't comment on them)
For local and for more suppliers, cf. buying pigtails, connectors, and cable on the PigTail page.

1.4. Pigtails

It seems that most people will inevitably need a PigTail if they use an external antenna. Local sellers that may carry pigtails, connectors include:

2. Link Hardware

2.1. Commercial Systems

Complete wireless bridge bundles include, radios, antennae, cables, under $500

Reviews of wireless LAN hardware (Cisco wins):

Slashdot ran an "Ask Slashdot" article comparing the AppleAirport and OrinocoRg1000 base station (WAP) products.

The AppleAirport, while no longer the cheapest it is still a nice access point. It lacks some flexibility, but a number of people have made "unofficial" enhancements:

The Linksys WAP11 is one of the cheapest access points on the market under $150. It offers some neat features that you would not expect in such an inexpensive device like bridging and access point client modes.

Guerrilla.net has just released a Senao AP3 / CB3 hardware hacking page that covers tips and tools on how to program the IP2022, which is the embedded processor that runs the show in the AP3 / CB3, schematics on how to build a programming dongle for the In-System Programming port, which you can populate on the board, as well as instructions on how to convert an AP3 into a CB3 and back again.

2.2. DIY Node/Router Hardware

MetrixCommunication offers outdoor kits as well as wireless cards for reasonable prices. Kits are based around the SoekrisNet4526.

Absolute Value Systems (AVS) offers a "developers kit" which is basically a mini motherboard, four wireless LAN cards, and Linux in a box. If this is affordable (It's not , as it's $10,000+! -Eric), it could be a useful hardware platform.

miteROUTER looks pretty interesting. There are a couple of models. 386 and 486 based.

RootInc root inc. in japan have a series of wireless routers available, i beleive that they are currently working to get regulatory approval in american and europe. They run NetBSD.

The LART is a small, StrongArm-based hardware platform developed by researchers at TU Delft looking to prototype wireless multimedia applications. LART systems are not (yet?) commercially available, but you can download the schematics and roll your own. Many SeattleWireless members believe a LART-like system could form the basis of a "node in a box" plug-and-play solution.

Soekris have a nice system into which you can plug a MiniPCI 802.11b card:

There is an OpenBSD distro called embsd which works on the above board, they sell a complete system (board + case + wireless card + antanna) here:

Cheap PC-based Linux hardware may be useful for building nodes.



ITOX (a division of DFI, the PC motherboard manufacturer) sells EBX motherboards with (3) 10/100 LAN and 3 PCI slots, possibly useful in an embedded router system. Socket-370 CPUs, use one with a low-power Cyrix C3 CPU and passive heatsink.

3. Experimental

Here's something completely different: directions for building a cheap serial transceiver using a laser pointer. The speed is probably slow and it's unclear how well this will survive rain and fog, but wireless optical networking is an interesting field.

KE5FX describes "An Experimental Microwave Data Link for 10-Megabit Ethernet" that's truly DIY (he built his own radio!).

Ronja is an Open-Hardware optical datalink that connects two PC's point-to-point. Ronja's design is licensed under the GNU Public License: you get all the necessary documentations and construction guides free. The construction costs are minimal, it's probably the cheapest wireless system ever. The operation is very reliable and immune to interference

4. Storefronts in Seattle area

This section under work.

WirelessHardwareLinks (last edited 2010-11-10 15:01:15 by 65-61-116-102)