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I want to install a Linksys WRT54G access point inside a weatherproof box. The box will then be bolted to an an antenna mast. Where can I get mounting hardware for securing the access point inside the box and holding it rigidly in place?

Thanks!

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Last Post by BobCochran
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Bob, I´m sorry but I can´t help you specifically. However, I can give you some pointers about the setup you are trying for (it´s basically a good idea) and some things to watch out for. Can you tell me where you got the box, if it´s commercially made for this purpose or something you are putting together yourself? Incidentally, what kind of coverage are you planning?

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Hi Zeroth,

I'm still looking for the equipment I need. I already have an omni antenna and a WRT54G version 2.0. I believe I'll be able to get a Stahlin J1008HPL classic series enclosure at a local electric store. If they have it and it looks good, I'll take it on. Otherwise I'll consider either a 9mm military ammo case from a neighbor or a non-metallic junction box from Home Depot. I would like to find a plastic backboard or some type of bracket for mounting the WRT54G board on. Also, a supplier of RJLnxx pass-through bulkhead RJ45 connector (the model ENSP1F5). I'll feed the access point power-over-ethernet and I see I can get indoor/outdoor cat5e cable at Home Depot.

I'm thinking of running the ethernet wire through schedule 40 pipe which will be buried in my yard.

Any tips for mounting the antenna mast? For example should I dig a hole in the ground, pour a concrete pier, and sink the mast into that?

How would I ground the antenna and mast?

Thanks very much for any tips you have.

Bob

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Hi Bob, it sounds like you are well on your way. I´ve got one of these routers and, although I don´t have a reason to put it outside, I´m wondering where the connector is for the outside antenna. I looked that model up on the internet and the RadioLabs site claims it has such a connector but in my docs that came with it, there is no mention at all about an external antenna connector, neither there or on the user guide CD. I would appreciate it if you could enlighten me, just out of curiosity because I was not aware that this unit could use an external antenna.

As for the enclosure, it sounds like you have some ideas that will work (think about NEMA). I just wanted to warn you about pressure differential between the outside atmosphere and the interior of the box. Under certain conditions, I´ve had clients get moisture inside the box, which can cause a disruption in service at the least. This was on a commercial box, so maybe you should be aware of it for a home-built unit. It seems to occur at dewpoint. I´m not sure where you are located but I would be careful about winter conditions especially, not so much as relates to snowfall but where the winter is milder and wavers from just below freezing to just above freezing. If the pressure inside the box drops below the outside pressure, vapor can enter and condense. Don´t know how you would combat this, other than making the box as tight as you can, just letting you know that it can happen.

As far as the antenna is concerned, don´t know your application, but I would put it higher. It would be much easier to mount it TV-antenna-like on a mast on the house and run a ground to earth. You definitely need a ground in case you get a lightning strike and I would probably put a lightning arrestor somewhere in the loop.

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Hi Zeroth,

If you have a Linksys WRT54G you can connect external coaxial cable to it and connect that to an antenna. I bought a kit from Fleeman, Anderson & Bird ( http://www.fab-corp.com ) consisting of a Cisco 12 dBi omni antenna, 50 feet of LMR400 coax, a lightning arrestor and a pigtail. It cost me $170.00 plus $30.00 shipping. You can see the kit by visiting their web page and clicking the link on the left for Cisco/Linksys kits.

If you look very carefully at your WRT54G antennas, you will see they can be unscrewed. You can take one or both off and screw on the coax pigtail that you get in the antenna kit, and connect the other end to a lightning arrestor. Connect one end of the LMR400 coax to the arrestor and the other end to the antenna itself.

It is very important to route both the WRT54G's RX and TX signals into your new omni antenna. How do you do this? You visit http://www.linksysinfo.org/ and download one of the firmware packages that matches your hardware version of the WRT54G. Please be real careful about this step. I downloaded Svea Satori-4.0 firmware which works on my version 2.0 WRT54G. I then flashed my WRT54G with this firmware. The upgrade went really well. Then I pointed my browser at the new Satori adminstration interface and found the web page that lets me put both the RX and TX signals in the left side antenna (looking from the back of the box.)

This is a little longwinded, but yes, you can definitely install an omni antenna.

In my case, I started to realize that running 50 feet of LMR400 coax might eat up the signal. (It does lose 3.3 dB.) And I want to have the best possible connectivity when I take my laptop outside on hot summer days. So it seems like a good idea to move the access point outside (that lets me really shorten the coaxial cable runs and use just pigtails) and mount the antenna on a permanent mast.

I understand that the Satori firmware will let you boost the power output of the WRT54G, but I'd still like to get it out of doors. Maybe it's just to make myself feel 10 feet tall....<grin>

Take care

Bob

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