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Wireless Networking Limits - Part 1 of 3 - Line of Sight

By: John Fredrickson on September 8th, 2014

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Wireless Networking Limits - Part 1 of 3 - Line of Sight

frequency  |  ethernet  |  900 MHZ  |  5.8 GHz  |  RF  |  avalan  |  avalan wireless  |  300 Mbps  |  Radios  |  throughput  |  distance

At AvaLAN Wireless, we have done our best to design our products in such a way as to push the limits of possibility, sometimes even venturing into the realms of the unfathomable. However, the Laws of Physics and the Universe still govern much of what we can and cannot do. We still have limits. The trick to making the most of our products is to know those limits. Knowing your limitations is not just beneficial to your project, it is crucial to its success. Knowing your limitations will save you time, money, effort, and especially frustration. Today I would like to talk about some of the basic limitations of the 300Mbps 5.8GHz Radios (AW58300HTA, AW58300HTS, and AW58300HTP-PAIR). These include line of sight, throughput and Gigabit cable lengths. In Part 1, we will discuss the line of site limitations.

Line of Sight 

LOSvsNLOSThe 5.8GHz frequency is great for carrying large amounts of data FAST! Usually the higher the frequency, the faster your potential throughput. However, there is a catch. These radios MUST have line of sight with each other. Unlike our 900MHz radios which can handle a degree of obstruction (thus making them ideal for non-line of sight applications), the 5.8GHz radios really dislike foliage, buildings and stuff in the way. I like to think of it this way; imagine a garden hose with an adjustable nozzle. When the nozzle setting is on a wide setting, the water sprays in a misty cloud. The water doesn’t move very fast, but it can float around objects like tree trunks and foliage. This is kind of like the 900MHz frequency. But when you adjust the setting to be very narrow, the water shoots out of the hose with high pressure like a laser. When this stream of water hits a tree, it doesn’t go around the tree, it just bounces off. This is like the 5.8GHz frequency. It is fast, but it can’t handle obstructions. With the 5.8GHz radios, you will need to either find a way around the obstructions, or over the obstructions, because you cannot go through them.

In Part 2 we will explore the limitations of throughput inherent in wireless network interfaces, particularly in regard to the 300Mbps 5.8GHz Radios (AW58300HTA, AW58300HTS, and AW58300HTP-PAIR).


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Article Written by John Fredrickson