Need a Meraki External Antenna solution that can support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz in both directions

MusabideMeraki
Here to help

Need a Meraki External Antenna solution that can support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz in both directions

I have a customer who wants to install Outdoor Access Points on a Telephone Booth sized cuboid, which will be placed outdoor in many locations. In order to not loose the Access point due to vandalism, stealing etc, The customer wants to protect the access point by putting it in a hard aluminium box. This is why he will be needing external Antennas for this solution, in which he will be protecting the access point and will succeed in providing Internet facility to people who want to use wifi in the area, with a good signal. As the antennas if placed in the aluminium box will loose their strength, that is why we wont be wanting MA-ANT-20 (Omni Antennas). The patch MA-ANT-25 and sector MA-ANT-27 Antennas support either 2.4 Ghz or 5Ghz in each direction, which wont be an ideal solution for us.

 

Please advice how can we find a solution to this problem in such a case.

 

 

14 REPLIES 14
MusabideMeraki
Here to help

@Bruce @NolanHerring @MerakiDave  Could you guys help me out here. You seem to be profis for this solution, after I read all the threads related to this topic.

I wanted to know the solution for this. I know that we cannot support Frequency bands in both direction.

 

NolanHerring
Kind of a big deal

What model outdoor AP are you using?

 

Your description is a little confusing, but from what I gather you want Wi-Fi to go in all directions, but you can't achieve this with the patch/sector antenna that Meraki offers. 


The issue I personally have with the Meraki outdoor access points is that they have broken up the radios and connectors instead of combining them like other vendors. 

This means there are (2) ports for 2.4GHz and another (2) ports for 5GHz. You can buy either single-band antenna, one for each radio, or the dual band model. The issue though is that if you want both bands to function, you have to buy (2) antennas, and make sure you point them the same direction as best you can.  It's always seemed like an 'odd' look to me when I see two antenna connected to one AP.

 

Why they won't create an antenna that has 4-leads and that way you only need (1) antenna, is beyond me.

 

Here is a list of FAQ from Meraki regarding antenna:

https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/Other_Topics/Frequently_Asked_Questions_regarding_Cisco_Meraki_A...

 

In addition, what you 'could' do is simply use a 3rd party vendor for your antenna. Acceltex or Ventev are the two top competitors. If you purchase an antenna from them, you only need (1) because they sell antenna with the correct number of leads. Keep in mind though that if you go this route, support won't be able to provide normal 'full' support if you run into issues, and you also have to ensure that your not exceeding your EIRP for your country code/region/regulations. 

 

If you use a 3rd party antenna, you can buy one that is omni-directional (like the MA-ANT-20), but the connector will be inside the casing and secure, and the antenna mounted outside. Or even better, get the one that has the omni mounted to the enclosure already.

 

11111.PNG

 

https://ventevinfra.com/search-by-radio/?type=230&manufacturer=242&model=5235

Nolan Herring | nolanwifi.com
TwitterLinkedIn

Hi @NolanHerring we habe suggested him here the MR76 Model. 

what you are saying is either if I use Patch antenna or Sector Antenna, I wont be able to send the signals in both directions for both frequencies. I will only be able to have coverage in one direction? Right?

 

The phone booth kind of systems will be installed in the middle of nowhere, so the customer wants to provide internet access to anyone who is near that area.

 

I live in Germany so I do not know how supporting the vendors Ventev and Acceltex are to this country. Another point is that the customer should be willing to go third party here. It would be a very bad sign if I tell them we wont be able to cover this by Meraki, as the customer was preety impressed with the solution provided.

PhilipDAth
Kind of a big deal

Have you considered using a PVC box instead of aluminium?  These are what you see most outdoor electrical cabinets made out of.  They are tough and can stand being outside for ages.  Chances are the cabling for the phone box is connected up inside of a PVC box.

Then you can use a standard outdoor-rated access point with built-in antennas and keep life simple.

 

They are easy to get - just go to any electrical wholesaler.

Hi @PhilipDAth Can PVC boxes be secure enough if someone wants to vandalise the solution against Aluminium? It is just a question as I dont have much experience here. 

Also we will habe to consider here MR70 as that is the only outdoor AP left with in built Antennas. 

My question would be

1. Wont we have any performance issues with the MR 70 coverage when we place it in a box and antennas are in Box?

2. Is it not that our MR70's will go end of sale soon as that is a Wifi 5 AP and wont be propably available anymore?

 

 

I've tested putting an internal model AP (similar to MR70 with antenna on the inside of the AP) and inside one of these PVC enclosures and didnt notice any difference. The antenna are inside of the AP's plastic already which I imagine is even thicker than the enclosures.


MR70 might be the best way to go. 

 

As for vandalism, I mean, at a certain point if someone REALLY wants to get in, then they'll find a way. Aluminum or PVC, not sure it will matter if someone is that determined.

Nolan Herring | nolanwifi.com
TwitterLinkedIn

Do you think like the MR70 our MR76 with MA-ANT-20 would work with the same performance inside this PVC box or should I expect some loss here?

I would expect zero loss due to the enclosure being made out of PVC.

Do you realise aluminium is a very soft metal?  If I gave you an aluminium rod you could bend it in your hands.

Put it this way, of all the outside electrical cabinets - how many have you seen vandalised?

 

You may way well find the public telephone box already has its cabling terminating in a PVC enclosure.  It's pretty popular.

 

I'd buy one of each, and then try and break both of them.  You'll find the PVC cabinet is pretty hardy.

GIdenJoe
Kind of a big deal

I know you normally stay with Meraki antennas but Meraki has no solution for your use case.
A quick search on ventev shows a compatible antenna for your usecase:
https://ventevinfra.com/product/2-4-5ghz-6dbi-wi-fi-omni-antenna-with-4-n-style-connectors-2/

 

This antenna is external N-type 6dB gain and has 4 leads AND is omni directional.  So you only need to get the wires outside of the box through the top to mount the antenna above it.

@GIdenJoe The solution is very good, the problem is only if they have International office or support in Germany

I hear you.  Maybe they have an international reseller?
I recently had to buy some 90 degree angled brackets for MR44's for wall mounting with horizontal placement due to ecological ceiling.  I found those compatible brackets by an American company called Oberon.  They also do not deliver directly to the EU, so then I had to search for a local reseller (Axinter) that delivered to Belgium in my case.  So maybe Ventev also has some global partners?

Do know that the antenna itself is made out of plastic so I would suggest that it would have to come above your metal box to reduce the chance of vandalism.  Also check out the length of the wires if you can reach from the bottom of the AP to above the metal box or you'll need a set of extender wires too.

MusabideMeraki
Here to help

I was thinking about a solution in which I can suggest the customer antenna extenders like AIR-CAB005LL-N= and AIR-CAB010LL-N= 

and offer them an omni directional Antenna MA-ANT-20 with 4 of these extendors. These connectors should be compatible with MA-ANT-20 right?

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