Outdoor Antenna

Hey!

I have about 50m from my house to where I want to deploy a Xenon or two for some remote outdoor sensing. There is no line of sight with trees and a slope in the environment.

I receive mobile broadband from an LTE mast in the local town to my house using a high-gain directional antenna on the chimney and bring that down into my router. This is ANT1 in the graphic. My ARGON gateway is beside this WiFi router. This WiFi network is called “House”. I have called the Mesh network “VegGarden”.

To connect XENON1 to “VegGarden” (as it does not connect from down there) I was thinking of getting this 2.4GHz 9dBi Outdoor Directional Antenna with an SMA-to-u.fl connector.

Is the problem that “VegGarden” isn’t strong enough to reach down there, or is the on-board XENON1 antenna not powerful enough to find it?

Will ANT2 connected to XENON1 solve this?

If it will, could a second xenon, say XENON2, placed beside or close to XENON1 then connect to “VegGarden” through BTE to XENON1 using just its own on-board antenna?

I have read a little about the shared Wifi Thread/BTE radio on the Xenon and loosely think this will all hang together. I might be way off!

I’d appreciate any feedback…

Many thanks for your time!

RK.

You don’t mention the elevation difference between the house and the garden, but you probably at minimum need to elevate the Xenon antenna to where it has line of sight to the house. I haven’t used the mesh functionality, but from what I read its range is similar to bluetooth. You can probably expect about 30-50 feet (not meters) of range. With an elevated antenna and external antennas, you might be able to achieve reliable communication between the two, but it’s likely to be problematic. You might consider one or more repeater Xenons between the house and the garden to bridge the gap.

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Assuming line of sight, one of these puppies will be huge overkill but likely work well:

We’ve had several km with them and unmodified imp antennas. The dish means you get RX gain as well as TX. Note that it’s not a router, just an AP, so will use your normal router as the DHCP server.

The nice thing here is that the cable that runs to the unit is just cat5, not an RF cable, so it’s cheap and you don’t suffer from cable loss.

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If we’re talking about Xenon here, though, he’ll be using the mesh networking, which is not WiFi. The mesh radio is much lower power than WiFi. Big antenna might work, though. I haven’t tried it myself.

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Line-of-sight it really helpful, especially with directional antennas. I got up to 400 meters line-of-sight using highly directional yagi antennas, but I got 167 meters using less-directional duck antennas, which might work even if you don’t have perfect line-of-sight.

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@rickkas7 Thanks for the pointer to that post. I had actually read that and forgotten about it. Better range than I expected with Mesh. Getting two Yagi antennas to always point straight towards each other would really be a challenge, especially in windy areas like I’m in. :slight_smile:

@RK79 try the antenna first. If that doesn’t work for you, try elevating it. If that doesn’t work, use a combination of external antennas and another Xenon repeater somewhere in between.

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Thanks everyone for your comments…

@picsil The elevation difference is maybe 10m, so to achieve line of sight might not be too problematic… I’m looking at ways of achieving LOS, but may have to settle for an omni-directional lower gain antenna. Hopefully not. The Xenon in between isn’t something I had thought of - thanks for pointing it out!

@hfiennes That’s a pretty impressive antenna! 30km is a nice distance to cover! I’d like to aim for something that doesn’t require a power supply if possible though, and maybe a version of that one or something similar could be considered.

@rickkas7 That work you did with the range testing is a great help… Really shows what can be achieved with the right setup.

Could someone correct whichever of these statements are wrong…? There are probably a few of them!

  1. The ARGON in the house on the home Wifi network, which is called “House”.
  2. The Argon broadcasts its own network called “VegGarden” which I created during setup/claiming the devices.
  3. “VegGarden” is a Wifi network also.
  4. XENON1 communicates with “VegGarden” over WiFi through a dual personality radio on the Xenon, if it can see “VegGarden”.
  5. This on-board radio can be replaced by an external one to boost range.
  6. The one listed above is a suitable choice and will also facilitate BTE comms to other Xenons.
  7. Any subsequent Xenons that join “VegGarden” in close proximity to XENON1 can do so with their own on-board radio through BTE.
  8. Any data generated down in the vegetable patch on any Xenon will be passed through XENON1’s WiFi connection to the ARGON and to the cloud, thereby needing only one dedicated line of sight WiFi connection (that of XENON1 and its external antenna).

In short, my understanding is an isolated population of Xenons intercommunicating (essentially a Mesh) through BTE can communicate to the Argon (and the cloud) through one single WiFi connection one single Xenon of that population makes with the Argon. Is that right?

Thanks everyone…

EDIT: Actually a question I meant to ask is if I put a Yagi on the Argon and point to the vegetable patch and put a Yagi on the Xenon to receive it is that how “VegGarden” gets down there? I’m second guessing myself here :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

RK.

Ha, yes fair point. Might well be easier than powering intermediate nodes outdoors though…

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@RK79:

  1. The ARGON in th> e house on the home Wifi network, which is called “House”.
  • “House” is the SSID of your home WiFi network I assume
  1. The Argon broadcasts its own network called “VegGarden” which I created during setup/claiming the devices.
  • “VegGarden” is the name of the MESH network you created
  1. “VegGarden” is a Wifi network also.
  • NO. A Mesh network is based on OpenThread running 6LowPanWan/802.14.5 This is not WiFi though it occupies the same 2.4GHz spectrum.
  1. XENON1 communicates with “VegGarden” over WiFi through a dual personality radio on the Xenon, if it can see “VegGarden”.
  • As I indicated before, if the Xenon is configured to be on the “VegGarden” mesh network, it will connect that way.
  1. This on-board radio can be replaced by an external one to boost range.
  • I think you mean the onboard antenna. You can add an external Mesh antenna which will absolutely boost the Mesh range.
  1. The one listed above is a suitable choice and will also facilitate BTE comms to other Xenons.
  • I don’t believe so but I defer to @rickkas7 and Particle for that.
  1. Any subsequent Xenons that join “VegGarden” in close proximity to XENON1 can do so with their own on-board radio through BTE.
  • Xenon’s can connect to the gateway Argon via other Xenon repeaters. Again, Mesh networks don’t use WiFi or BTE.
  1. Any data generated down in the vegetable patch on any Xenon will be passed through XENON1’s WiFi connection to the ARGON and to the cloud, thereby needing only one dedicated line of sight WiFi connection (that of XENON1 and its external antenna).
  • A Xenon can communicate via Mesh-only publish/subscribe commands or to the Particle Cloud via a suitable gateway (Argon, Boron) via Particle.subscribe/publish commands. You will need a Line-of-Sight Mesh connection (not WiFi) which can be achieved with a directional antenna. If you search this forum, you will find several responses by members on this topic.
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Just for the record: If you can place a Xenon “half-way” that could act as a relay station to extend the range without needing one line of sight.

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@peekay123 @ScruffR

Clarity. Thank you.

I’ll have another good read about the experiences of others with antennae and range, armed with a better understanding.

Much appreciated.
RK