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Old 06-09-2020, 08:45 AM
garymck (Gary)
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How to extend network to backyard obs?

Hi,
looking for suggestions on how to get a network connection (reasonable fast for remote imaging).

The situation:
My modem router is an Asus RT-AC88U hooked up to cable internet. It is located in the centre of the house and provides wifi coverage at good speeds over the whole interior of the house.
The obs is far enough away (about 25 metres) and shielded by multiple walls and made of steel, so no wifi.
I cannot directly connect a cat6 cable to the router as access is only via underfloor and extremely limited (took 2 guys nearly 4 hours using long probes and stuff to get the cable internet installed!!).

I tried networking over powerline, but the circuit is poor and speeds terrible.

My thought was to hook a network cable directly to my indoor PC and the obs PC and network them together, sharing the internet from my indoor PC. This would need a 50 metre outdoor rated cable to run out window, over carport roof, and along fence!!! A bit of a cludge but doable.

Any other suggestions? a wifi extender solution that would work? Antennas?I have no experience with these and don't know what speeds to expect....

Help gratefully received
cheers
Gary
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Old 06-09-2020, 09:04 AM
nsavage (Nick)
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You could add another RT-Ac88u to your network to be used purely as an additional Wi-Fi access point. Asus have their own proprietary Wi-Fi meshing protocol so that would seamlessly extend your Wi-Fi network. So if you could get the second router in a position where it is as close as possible to the observatory you may achieve a strong enough signal to have a connection. If that is the case you could install a wireless access point configured as a wireless bridge at the observatory to give you a stronger connection and enable you to connect multiple devices.

An alternative would be to run an Ethernet line from your router up the wall and in to the roof and then out the eave at the closest point to the observatory and then continue on the observatory. That may be a shorter run and I suspect more reliable than sharing it from your PC. Even if you use external Cat6 I would recommend putting it in a conduit.
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Old 06-09-2020, 10:10 AM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Gary,
I had similar problems/ issues connecting to my spectroscopy observatory and it's local laptop.
I could not get a good WIFI solution and ended up with a CAT6 connection run from the "home office" along the fence etc etc. I used the flexible 20mm "conduit" and a couple of fixed bends.
Works 100% for me controlling the mount/ scope/ downloading. I still use TeamViewer to communicate.
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Old 06-09-2020, 01:39 PM
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Hi Gary

I have a similar situation. I use a Netgear EX6200 and connect to a RPi by ethernet at the scope. The Pi runs the show (using Astroberry with KStars and indi) and images get saved to a usb hard drive connected to the Pi although I have saved these to the hard drive via the network at my PC in the house. The extender can be placed on the roof of your observatory to give a good signal. You can use wifi in place of the ethernet cable and as it is close by you can utilise the 5GHz channel and the Pi4 works better using 5GHz. The extender is best to use the 2.4Ghz network to connect to the house modem/router as this give better stability over larger distances.
I connect to the Pi headless from inside over the home network and do all my observing from inside the house at my home PC.
When I am "in the field" away from home I just VNC into the Pi with a laptop through the extender (use a static IP address makes this easy).The Netgear extender is the best one that I have come across.

Mike
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Old 06-09-2020, 02:15 PM
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Gary, have you considered this:
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Antenna-...frcectupt=true
And this:
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/5dBi-Ant...frcectupt=true

Antenna goes to roof of obs, USB stick into comp/lap in obs. You will need some coax cable to connect WiFi adapter to antenna.

Last edited by bojan; 06-09-2020 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 07-09-2020, 08:03 AM
garymck (Gary)
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Thanks for all the replies:

I think the mesh/range extender may be worthwhile to investigate. I had wondered whether adding a unit inside the house to pick up a signal but on a wall nearest the obs would work, but was worried that the metal shed would block the signal. Bojans's antenna suggestion may get around that.

Will an extender at the obs be sensitive enough to pick up a very weak signal from the house? Perhaps an extender at the house and an antenna at the obs?

Running wires through the roof would be ideal, but with heating and cooling ducts everywhere, I'm not sure my 68 yo body would be up to the contortions to run it!

cheers
Gary
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Old 07-09-2020, 09:48 AM
nsavage (Nick)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garymck View Post
Thanks for all the replies:

I think the mesh/range extender may be worthwhile to investigate. I had wondered whether adding a unit inside the house to pick up a signal but on a wall nearest the obs would work, but was worried that the metal shed would block the signal. Bojans's antenna suggestion may get around that.

Will an extender at the obs be sensitive enough to pick up a very weak signal from the house? Perhaps an extender at the house and an antenna at the obs?

Running wires through the roof would be ideal, but with heating and cooling ducts everywhere, I'm not sure my 68 yo body would be up to the contortions to run it!

cheers
Gary
Even with the mesh solution I would recommend running a cable to the point where you intend to install the additional access point, even if you need to get an electrician in to do it. You will get a significantly better result than a "Wi-Fi extender will produce".

Is there an entire shed between the house and the observatory? If that is the case I would just bite the bullet and run a cable out there (again even if you need to get someone in to do it). Whilst this may seem like an expensive option it is the most reliable and is proven to work.
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Old 07-09-2020, 12:42 PM
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redbeard (Damien)
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Hi Gary,


The best solution is dedicated CAT 6 Ethernet. It's cheap and you can run it out of a window, across a roof, (I do that), etc if needed or run through conduit if possible/easy. Even with no conduit, Ethernet cable is pretty rugged.
A lot cheaper than all the wireless hardware

Wireless can have quite a few different issues which can be annoying too.


Are you using any Ethernet ports on the router or is your whole home network on wireless only? I ask as your router has 8 Ethernet sockets on it and you have not mentioned how your local network is setup in relation to wireless/ethernet ports on the router.


If you are not using the Ethernet ports on your router and you can't get to them, then you don't have a choice but to use your PC's Ethernet port. (Not sure why you would get a router with 8 Ethernet ports on it but don't use any of them, assumption at this stage).

If you do it that way, you will be creating a separate closed network where only the PC and the OBS devices can see each other. The OBS won't have internet access for example. Bridging the 2 networks on the local computer may help here if you know what you are doing.




This method below would be the ideal setup if you have at least one device plugged into routers Ethernet ports:
Get yourself a small network switch $15-25 and use this to extend your network. Unplug the Ethernet cable from the device that comes from the router, plug this into the switch, get another Ethernet cable and plug into the switch and the device. Now all you need to do is plug the Ethernet cable from the OBS into the network switch and you have 1 network for all your equipment including internet on all devices.


By far the most robust and cheapest solution. If possible. :-)



Happy to clarify if this is confusing.



Cheers,
Damien.
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  #9  
Old 07-09-2020, 02:32 PM
garymck (Gary)
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Damien & Nick
the whole house is wifi - the fact that the router has lots of ethernet ports was not taken in to account when I bought it - I simply wanted the strongest wifi possible. The house is over a 100 years old (renovated of course) but there is not much room under the house as a crawl space - last time we had some plumbing done underneath, the apprentice was sent and got stuck for half an hour - much to the amusement of his boss. I'm not even going to try!! I think my best bet is to get a sacrificial 8 year old to crawl under and grab an ethernet cable I poke through the floor :-)

I have tried linking my main pc to the laptop that will go in the obs, as well as sharing internet. It wasn't too hard. Will probably get a 50 metre outdoor rated ethernet cable to try. Having looked at some wifi gear prices, the $50 for cable is looking better!

cheers
Gary
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:46 PM
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Merlin66 (Ken)
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Gary,
As Damien suggests (that's what I current have set-up)
Connect the observatory PC to the Cat6 cable
Run the cable (with or without the sacrificial youngster) from the observatory to the home office and connect it to one of the cable network ports on the WIFI modem.
The observatory PC with then appear as a WIFI connected PC.
This means you can then use any home device connected to the WIFI to connect to the observatory PC.
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:35 PM
nsavage (Nick)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garymck View Post
Damien & Nick
the whole house is wifi - the fact that the router has lots of ethernet ports was not taken in to account when I bought it - I simply wanted the strongest wifi possible. The house is over a 100 years old (renovated of course) but there is not much room under the house as a crawl space - last time we had some plumbing done underneath, the apprentice was sent and got stuck for half an hour - much to the amusement of his boss. I'm not even going to try!! I think my best bet is to get a sacrificial 8 year old to crawl under and grab an ethernet cable I poke through the floor :-)

I have tried linking my main pc to the laptop that will go in the obs, as well as sharing internet. It wasn't too hard. Will probably get a 50 metre outdoor rated ethernet cable to try. Having looked at some wifi gear prices, the $50 for cable is looking better!

cheers
Gary
Did not realise you could run it under the house (at the expense of a small child). This would definitely be my recommendation although I would suggest that you run conduit all the way.
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Old 07-09-2020, 11:50 PM
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redbeard (Damien)
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"I think my best bet is to get a sacrificial 8 year old to crawl under and grab an ethernet cable I poke through the floor :-)"


That would be great and in that case you could put the network switch at the OBS end of the Ethernet cable to run multiple network devices if there is the need, no config needed.



All the best.
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Old 08-09-2020, 06:51 AM
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acropolite (Phil)
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Ubiquiti make excellent bridge radio hardware at reasonable prices, a pair of Loc M5 bridge radios will do the job and give excellent bi-directional speeds, without the problems that plague wifi repeaters.

https://www.mwave.com.au/product/ubi...ax-cpe-ab68369

These radios are not expensive ($218 for a pair) nor are they band aid solutions, I’ve installed dozens of these in point to point and point to multipoint bridges, on long and short range hops. Some we have in service have been running for over a decade.

At short range they’re capable of excellent speeds.

There is some configuration required but it’s fairly basic.
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Old 12-09-2020, 10:34 AM
garymck (Gary)
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Hi,
an update:
I have found a wifi usb adapter that when mounted outside the observatory, is able to connect to my wifi network and give speeds of 100-120mbps which is adequate.

It is this one https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/...tor-tparcht9uh

Would it work if mounted in a weatherproof enclosure? Enabling me to just run a powered usb cable to inside the obs?

cheers
Gary
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Old 12-09-2020, 10:38 AM
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Gary, this is more expensive version of what I proposed earlier.

It will work.
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Old 12-09-2020, 12:18 PM
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Hi Gary
I have one of these but only use it indoors (down in a cellar). It gives much better bandwidth than a ethernet over powerline in my use-case. It just works as an extender. The only way you will find out is to buy it and see if it is suitable.
Unfortunately I have noticed a sort of "buyer beware" going on recently (JBHiFi, Officeworks and Computer Alliance) which is a warning from the staff that if you break the security seal on the box they may not accept a return unless it is faulty. So check with the staff first that you can return it if it is not suitable for your purpose.
As I said in an earlier post the Netgear EX6200 works well for me in a nearly identical setting. My impression is that its range is greater than the TP link. I use my extender outside but use a waterproof enclosure just in case of rain but dew is not a problem as it runs warm (as does the TP link).
However Bojan's suggestion is the cheapest

Mike
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Old 12-09-2020, 01:11 PM
garymck (Gary)
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Mike, so your Netgear acts as a receiver to your normal wifi and then connects to your Pi? I thought that extenders were broadcasters more than receivers.

I have managed to borrow one of the TP link dongles and got the speeds I mentioned so that would be OK, but wondering if your Netgear might be better?

Gary
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Old 14-09-2020, 07:39 PM
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Hi Gary,
Sorry about the late reply I have been busy this weekend and missed your post.
The Pi will connect to the Netgear (I use the 5GHz band as this does not interfere with the USB3 ports). The Netgear then connects to the House network via 2.4Ghz as that is best for longer distances. I set a static IP for the Pi so I can always connect via RealVNC (works well if you use Raspian) from the house PC or laptop. I found connecting the Pi to the Netgear via ethernet was useful to allow easy config of the wireless if you are running headless. Once wifi is all set up you can dispense with the the ethernet cable.
The Netgear also is good in the field as you just connect to it (without internet) and then again VNC in from laptop as the Netgear can broadcast quite far I can manage the scope from the car or clubhouse etc. I used Team Viewer and No Machine when I was running ubuntu but Real VNC seems to work better in Raspian.
I bought it a few years ago and am suprised that it has not been superceded
After all that it's just a matter of experimentation to get the best signal from the Netgear to the house.
Hope that all makes sense.

Mike
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Old 16-09-2020, 06:21 PM
Pepper (Steve)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acropolite View Post
Ubiquiti make excellent bridge radio hardware at reasonable prices, a pair of Loc M5 bridge radios will do the job and give excellent bi-directional speeds, without the problems that plague wifi repeaters.

https://www.mwave.com.au/product/ubi...ax-cpe-ab68369

These radios are not expensive ($218 for a pair) nor are they band aid solutions, Iíve installed dozens of these in point to point and point to multipoint bridges, on long and short range hops. Some we have in service have been running for over a decade.

At short range theyíre capable of excellent speeds.

There is some configuration required but itís fairly basic.

This is a good solution. I honestly wouldnít bother with anything else.
I work with this stuff all the time and itís rock solid.
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Old 18-09-2020, 04:02 PM
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Tulloch (Andrew)
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I recently bought one of these for my backyard / garage. It is excellent, really powerful and not too expensive.

https://www.jaycar.com.au/ac1200-hig...ender/p/YN8374
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