You will notice that I did not specify any gains on the antenna as every installation is different but in the 2.4 GHz range I find that the 9 dbi omni antenna with 7 degrees on downtilt works great.
OK so I know your next question. How much area will this cover??? Well in the world of wi-fi the two most used words are “It Depends“. You’ll hate to hear’em but you better get used to them as there is never a clear answer. RF signal propagation depends on many factors such as interference, environment, line of site and the most overlooked factor CLIENT TYPE!
Most people understand interference and line of sight but if not you can feel free to read more about it in our growing wireless FAQ, here. However, the one most people do not understand and sometime refuse to understand is that client type can make or break your wireless network. How so? Well…lets take an RV park for instance.
An RV park wants to set up a simple access point in the middle of the grounds to serve its 70 RV users. The client then spends time reviewing access point specs, finds a perfect bridge with a great mix of price and performance. Buys the highest gain antenna he can find and makes sure that there is no excessive loss in the RF cabling. The items arrive via UPS, he sets them up perfectly, similar to the setup shown above and starts walking around with his laptop runningnetstumbler BUT, he is only going a 3rd of the distance he was expecting. This can’t be right he thinks and starts troubleshooting his new hardware. However, what he doesn’t realize is that it has nothing to do with the new access point set up he purchased and everything to do with the low powered wifi card in his laptop.
Communication should always be looked at as a 2 way street. The base station (access point) can be uber powerful and transmit for miles but if the device receiving the signal a mile away can only transmits 300ft the base station will never hear the interesting things the client is saying and communication breaks down. I tried to illustrate this concept and hopefully succeeded but let me know if I blew it.