Is MR78 a good fit for a outdoor 250 FT mesh network?


Is MR78 a good fit for a outdoor 250 FT mesh network?

I'd like to preface my post with admitting i'm not a wireless guy.  The problem I have is that I need to extend wireless from my house to a gate which is about 250-275 feet away.  There are no obstructions.  Would a pair of these APs be a good fit to extend that distance, and then place a wireless camera at the gate to ride the backhaul back to the house?mr78 question.jpg

Kind of a big deal

I don't know if this model is the best option, but take a look at these recommendations before.

Meraki Employee

The MR78 (just like its predecessor the MR70) have internal omni directional antennas. This means the intended coverage patten of the antennas are 360° out from the AP (link to datasheet). So, they're not intended to provide directional point-to-point mesh links as you describe in your use case.


That said, I used the earlier MR70 outdoor for a few years and my wireless clients could connect reliably with good throughput at a few hundred feet away (clear line of sight). So, you may find in this application with clear line of sight a wireless camera itself might connect well enough.

Kind of a big deal

First thought - have you considered using ethernet over power line adaptors (Cisco Meraki don't make these)?  They would need to go on the same power circuit as the gate.  Something like (but you need to choose something for the country you live in): 


Second thought, I would use an AP with external antennas, like the MR76. 

And use some directional antennas, like: 


My guess is without directional antennas, and considering you want to stream video, their is a 75% chance it wont work.  You will need to use directional antennas.

Meraki Employee

Hi @synrst to add to the other answers, I wanted to clarify if this was going to be a true mesh link between two APs or if you're just hoping to have the wireless client device at the far end.  From your description it sounds like a true wireless backhaul link between two APs, the house is the gateway AP and at the gate you have the mesh AP, with the camera getting back over that backhaul/mesh link. 


Like @Ryan_Miles said the MR78 isn't intended for this purpose, but might actually work "good enough" given the 260-foot distance. So yes, this can work, but perhaps not that well, possibly not  at all, and if it does it's much less than ideal. When we have typical outdoor mesh networks with MR76/86 and ANT-20 omni antennas, we typically stick to 100 to 200-foot max spacing. 


That said I'd also be inclined to recommend MR76 as @PhilipDAth mentioned for this purpose, with a band-specific sector antenna like the ANT-21 5GHz sector antenna.  This way you could ensure the APs will choose the 5GHz band for mesh backhaul (they would anyway because you're using the 5GHz ports on a 76) and you can manually configure a non-DFS 80MHz channel on a 5GHz-only SSID for the mesh link. If it's an MR76 you could also leave the 2.4GHz radio turned off and put some weatherproof 'N' caps over the 2.4GHz ports.


And you may actually only need an MR76 on one side, which is not typical design practice, but you would have antenna reciprocity going for you. What I mean is if you have an MR76 and ANT-21 out at the gate, that is going to both transmit and collect a lot of signal to/from the MR78 on the house and give you a better reach and SNR scenario versus if it was 78-to-78 (omni-to-omni).  Or the reverse, depending on mounting options or aesthetics, you could have the MR76 and ANT-21 on the house and an MR78 out at the gate.


This is all assuming the camera is not wireless capable?  Because if this was a Meraki MV camera or any other camera that has wireless capability, I'd advise no mesh link and no AP at the gate.  Rather a single MR76 or 86 on the house with sector antenna(s) aimed at the gate, that would be no problem at a few hundred feet for a wireless device at the gate to associate directly back to the house AP.  But it sounds like the scenario you are describing is that you might have a wired camera and would have to get it's wired connection into the mesh AP to get back over the backhaul.


Hope that helps!  Ping us back for follow up.

Kind of a big deal

I agree with the post from @MerakiDave .  MR76 with the most directional antenna possible is a better solution.  You can also use the MA-ANT-27 since that is a dual band antenna which can easily cover that distance.


I do see on your pictures that the trees are quite close to your line.  Make sure you have more than 1 meter/3 feet clearing left and right of the direct path between both antennas to account for the fresnel zone.


Thank you all for your replies!  


I honestly had not thought about just using a Meraki camera at the gate side.  


There is an existing Nest camera that is directly across the road from the house in the picture.  I don't believe we are married to any particular camera.  The goal here is to extend reach to the gate for now and potentially further in the future.  

Get notified when there are additional replies to this discussion.
Welcome to the Meraki Community!
To start contributing, simply sign in with your Cisco account. If you don't yet have a Cisco account, you can sign up.