Suggestion for Long-range Wi-Fi Extenders

Hi folks, I’m looking for suggestions for a long range Wi-Fi extenders, especially for connecting to solar-powered stations. There are a few different types so I’m not sure what’s best. Here are a few I’ve looked at:

  • Wavlink WN570HA1 or TP-Link EAP225-Outdoor
    • Uses Power over Ethernet at DC 24v, 0.5 A - I’m not sure how well this could work on solar, if a boost converter would introduce signal issues, etc.
    • Can work as a repeater, wireless access point, or a router.
    • About 200-300 m range.
    • Fairly inexpensive (~$90 CAD)
  • TP-Link AC867 PtP extender
    • Huge range (~25 km), but designed for businesses, etc. Requires an Ethernet connection to a router (I believe) on both ends and set up is time consuming.
    • Price is reaonable ($200)
  • CC Vector Extended Long Range Receiver System
    • About 800 m range, can be more
    • Fairly expensive (~$600 CAD)

Anyone else have ideas?

I wish I could give you a recommendation… I’m eagerly looking for others to chime in :laughing:

By “long-range” do you mean a few hundred meters or do you mean several km? I’m going to assume the latter…

A couple of thoughts:

  • For long distance you will almost certainly want a high-gain antenna, such as a yagi, panel, or grid; so you need to focus on devices that support external antennas, i.e. have connectors. Or have a built-in panel/grid like that TP-Link PtP extender.
  • With high-gain antennas you have to think about overall architecture: are you building a star network with an onmi at the base station and a couple of nodes with directional antennas? Or do you need a relay node at a mountain-top with an antenna pointed in each direction?
  • In my experience, 2.4Ghz wins over 5Ghz and lower bit rates win over higher ones: I personally would focus entirely on 2.4Ghz, but with the industry’s focus on ever higher speeds (which require 5Ghz) maybe I’m just outdated.
  • You will need the ability to set the RTS timeout or link distance, I suspect most firmwares these days support that, but that’s something to check (it has to do with setting the ACK timeout to account for time-of-flight).
  • For solar I would look into WiFi dongles that support external antennas. In combination with a panel or yagi that ought to be better on the battery than adding a whole access point. I have some ancient Atheros based dongles that are excellent but they’re really hard to come by. I believe Alfa makes some decent ones that support external antennas.
  • I have some of the TP-LInk EAP225 but I run OpenWRT on them, so I don’t know exactly how the stock firmware does. The antennas they come with are not great and for km range you need to use something better.

Good luck!

I have been looking at a wireless ethernet bridge to get from a remote solar powered station to our local wildlife refuge office ethernet. I’ve discussed the application with a vendor’s engineers that looks like it will do the job. I used something similar from them 30 yrs ago that worked great to connect two buildings. Their engineer says it can run straight off the 12VDC solar battery supply with their DC12-48POE adapter. It works just like you have run a piece of CAT5 ethernet cable between your SensorStation and your network hub. They claim as much as 5 mile range with good penetration between foliage etc… Search for RadioLabs GS-3000 300MBS Wireless Bridge kit. Note it will draw some power so you would need to count it in your solar system’s capacity budget.