Outdoor & Mesh Networks

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Mesh Network Reliability?

We have several mesh networks deployed at our customer site and wanted to get a baseline feel of some of the issues we've been experiencing. In particular, it's the mesh points (constantly bouncing) that have the issues as they are purely wireless. We run AP124s with Laird Technologies' S24517PT directional Antennas. One location stays up for a max time of 7 days. Another location stays up 4-8 hours.

What frequency range is optimal? We originally ran these on 5 GHz (802.11a) and found that the mesh points kept bouncing at different locations. We decided to move these over to 2.4 GHz (802.11g) without much success. I would imagine 5 GHz is optimal due to known interference issues in the 2.4 GHz range.

Environmental variables? We've had the majority of these set up in places where there is direct line of site (between 100 - 250 ft). That seems to be the ideal setup. Are there recommendations in terms of what antennas to use? We only use Laird Technologies' S24517PT and are open to trying others.

Design? With all the connectivity issues experienced, we tried to limit the amount of mesh points. Our locations prevent us from running wires between buildings so we use a mesh network to connect buildings. On the mesh point end, we connected a LAN switch to the mesh point AP and then ran additional APs through that mesh portal and provisioned them as normal APs. Since this limits the amount of mesh points talking back to the mesh portal, we have adopted this model. Additionally, we put the mesh networks in its own VLAN to limit broadcast storms that brought another network down. Are there any good design guides or building mesh networks and take into consideration for loops?

Thank you in advance.

Thanks for the details... how about RSSI ?

Thanks for the details on your scenario.

One very important piece of the Mesh link(s) equation is RF energy that each 'side' of the link within the topology can 'hear'.

As you mention 2.4 Ghz and 5.0 GHz, each will have different signal strengths and the antennas will have different capabilities to support each.

I would recommend that you analyze (and report back here if you like...) on RSSI / Signal strength that each mesh link is reporting.

You would like to know the absolute number and also if it fluctuates (take a few samples say morning, noon and night) in any pattern.

If the RSSI is low say '10' then links that fluctuate will no doubt result. If the RSSI is higher say '25+' then RF wise the link(s) are solid.

Worth investigating as a next step IMO.
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