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Hardware to buy

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Hardware to buy

Hi I have just joined by urging by Tom K71KY and wonder what hardware to buy to get started. It seems to me I would want what the local group members are using. I expect I may hear from Tom but to the others here does that make sense?

nc8q's picture
Hardware to buy

Hi, Martin:

I recommend contacting nearby meshers.
Check out this map:
Zoom in to your local area.


K9CQB's picture
I also think your location is key, but...

Chuck is absolutely correct. You need to look at your local area and purchase a node that will best connect to your nearest AREDN mesh network node.
I think the best device to buy first (or second) is the "multi-tool" or the "Leatherman" or the "Swiss Army Knife" of AREDN nodes:

MikroTik hAP ac lite (RB952Ui-5ac2nD) $44

I usually tell folks to get started to buy one of these 'hAP-ac-lite' devices first, then buy whatever appropriate node to connect to their local network. You can keep the hAP-ac-lite in your house connected to your computer (wirelessly if you like) and connect your 'main node' to port 5 via Ethernet cable that runs up to high ground and powers your 'main node' mounted proudly atop your property pointing toward the rest of us...  Sorry, I'm ranting.
When choosing your main node to connect to the rest of the network, you'll likely have to decide whether your best-nearest node is 2.4GHz or 5GHz, then determine how much power and directionality you'll need to close that link. Also stay with 2x2 MIMO devices (avoid the Bullet and AirGrid). Hopefully it will be 5GHz because their are more options for that.

I usually recommend the Ubiquiti NanoStation (if you can get away with it) as it is the only full power node that has 2 working LAN ports, so you can connect an IP camera, or a cordless VOIP phone base, or something else really cool that runs off of an IP connection that needs high ground. If you need more horsepower to hit a link far away there are plenty more options. This forum is a great resource. I learn something new every day.

-Damon K9CQB


nc8q's picture
Please chat with the local meshers.

Hi, Jim:

Locally we have had several new meshers that looked at an old network map
and purchased a 2.4 GHz node that they thought would match. However, we have been
adding 5 GHz and 3 GHz nodes to the former single node 2.4 GHz high profile sites.
We even have a 900 MHz link in the network.

The Mikrotik hAP is a very kewel INDOOR device, but it will not RF link with
your mesh neighbors. You will still need an outdoor rated device...likely at
> 35 feet agl.

I hope this helps, Chuck

AA7AU's picture
I totally agree with Damon,

I totally agree with Damon, and would rant at length myself about the usefulness of this device. One other feature/capability to keep in mind is that if your next node is a 2GHz and relatively close (like on the roof/etc), you may be able to connect to it by RF and then only need to run power to the roof/driveway/backyard/etc so you don't need an exterior-to-interior cable run (hole) to be connected and on-line with the rest of the mesh.

The 5GHz AP point for LAN connections is a terrific feature as well. And, as Damon pointed out, this little unit will provide POE out port 5 (if toggled on in the firmware) at approx 2 volts less than supplied in on either the wallwart or port1 POE.  When/if you change your close-in mesh network topology, you can repurpose your AREDN Swiss Army Knife and use it for the center piece of your go-kit.

The price on Amazon has varied between $50 and $44, so right now is the least expensive I've seen.

Have fun!  (My thanks again to Joe and the team for enabling this device for mesh),

- Don - AA7AU

k1ky's picture

Hi Marty,
I suggest getting started with a pair of the Microtik HAP AC LITE Units or one Microtik plus one of the GL150 or GL150USB units,  These are really cool devices and you can get up and running with your own network for under $100 for 2 devices.  The Microtik can tunnel into us or with another external unit up in the air you may be able to connect to our system via RF.  We need to evaluate your location for connection prospects.  The online AREDN map will give you some ideas about nodes in your area. Contact me direct or give me a shout on the local repeater for more discussion.

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