Long range high bandwidth mesh(?) network help needed

Here is the scenario. I need help in determining if it will work and what is needed to put it into place. I have a farm. The fences are being cut in different places and I need to stop this before the cattle get out, possibly on the highway and cause someone to get hurt. I need to cover about 1/4 mile at this time but if this works, I have a need to cover a couple of miles at another farm where animals are being shot and left for dead. Game cameras don’t work. I would like to put up a mesh network and wifi security cameras feeding back to an NVR or similar. If I can do this, then I can use the app that comes with the NVR to send me instant notification upon camera motion so I can get up in the middle of the night and get the sheriff right away. I have no idea about bandwidth for any type of mesh. I initially wanted to do a digimesh because I want to power all my cameras and routers with solar charged batteries. I am also not sure of the bandwidth used by the cameras but most will be sleeping except when there is motion. Hopefully only one at a time. Also 2.4 or RF? Rf modules are still accessible if they have enough bandwidth. 2.4 digi modules are not out there till next year unless I dig up some used parts. I also hear that an antenna cannot be added to a digi unit that does not come with an sma connector. Is this true or is it just a little bit of work that not everyone can accomplish? I am old and kind of shaky and not too good at SMD but I am an old ham radio guy and can build or modify most anything to make it work as needed. I am open to any brand and any type of network that can get the job done. Thanks for any help you can provide.


Thank you for contacting the technical forum. Well this would be quite a task to get this working. I sent out a request to other technicians. He suggested the Cuddeback Cuddelink system. This is not something we sell, but it actually looks like it would work. Here is a link: CuddeLink - Cuddeback . This would sure save some design time and it appears to be long range.

I did state that game cameras won’t work. Now, I am open to game cameras that will work. Cuddeback is not one of them. They only upload once a day early in the morning, like 5AM. They are not accessible from the outside. So if I have a problem at 11PM, I won’t know till at least 5AM and I would have to be there when the pictures upload to see if anyone was trespassing at 11. By that time, they are long gone and I can’t call the sheriff to come get them. I did talk to the folks at the factory and they flat out told me that their system won’t do what I am asking. There are some setups out there that can do the job, but they are very pricey and that just doesn’t sit well with me knowing it can be done from much less money and probably even better. Thanks for your comment. I think we need to keep looking at network type stuff but I am still open to game cameras. There are now supposedly some wifi game cameras and maybe they even setup a mess network like cuddeback but I was not able to find any. In fact, that is how I came across digi mesh and xbee3 devices. Thanks for your help!

“Mesh” and “high bandwidth” generally don’t play very well together, especially if one wants something that’s also low-power. I’d also expect that bandwidth requirements would depend quite strongly on the particular camera and software system chosen. Depending on the specifics of camera placement etc, it might be feasible to create a local wi-fi network to aggregate camera traffic, and use a wireless bridge such as one of these for backhaul between there and your point of consumption. There’s also the option of using a cellular gateway assuming there’s network coverage in the area. Open-source wi-fi router firmware such as DD-WRT facilitates some interesting tricks also; IIRC a person can configure things to run an access point on one antenna and a bridge on another; with some high-gain antennas an outdoor range a decent part of a mile might well be achievable. If not, you didn’t spend a fortune on an exotic piece of special-purpose equipment and a monthly service subscription to find that out.

I’ve heard folks have said good things about wyze brand products; while I’ve no direct experience with them personally, I think I’d have more confidence in a brand like that than the random-character-string sources that have been proliferating on the major consumer platforms.

Good luck eh…

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Thanks for the feedback. I probably only know enough about things to be a pain in the rear. I don’t have reliable cell service so that also ruled out game cams with cell service. I have used a 21dB gain wifi antenna on a long RV to get the backup camera to work. They are cheap and work great. I am thinking of combining them with something having an sma connector to get some distance. I am also thinking wifi repeater or extender inside a plastic electrical box and solar powered with a cheap inverter. I am a ham and I know the DD-WRT mesh network covers from northern LA to the Mexican border and works well. We wanted to try it here in Missouri but those routers have been hard to find for a decade or more now. I tried some chinese radio cards on arduinos but they were very unreliable so I don’t want to waste time there. You have some great ideas. I will be looking onto all of them and see how I can configure things to get the distance I need. I measured where I need cameras tonight on google maps. Closest is 350 ft. Longest is 1100 ft and in with some pretty huge oak trees. I still think it is doable with the right combination. Thanks!

The supported device list for DD-WRT is quite lengthy, though the old WRT54G routers is was popular with can still be found if one truly desires to use 20 year old gear. Most devices with removable antennas on the list should offer a decent chance of serving the need.

You’d want to keep it out of direct sunlight (beneath a PV panel perhaps…) but putting a router in a box with a large external antenna can indeed offer decent range. You may wish to consider Power over Ethernet (PoE) and a cable run for closer locations (max cable length for Ethernet is approx 100meters, mileage varies…)

Skip the inverter for solar powered installations, and get a DC-DC converter of appropriate ratings; assuming the hardware one gets require 12VDC, these might be some options. No reason to throw away 10-20% of your expensive solar power going to AC and back if one doesn’t absolutely have to… Do the math (skeptically) to ensure you get enough panel, charge controller, and battery.

Beware the difference between SMA and RP-SMA connectors… Many larger external antennae may be equipped with N-style connectors. Coaxial adapters are found here should need for such be found.

Those are all good points. I was talking about the old WRT54G routers. About 8 years ago all the decent ones had been bought up. I heard a year ago that they expanded the models covered and things were back on track but I have never followed up on it. I have had a raspberry pi/ SDR combo up on a pole to do ADSB connecting to flightaware using PoE. It works well and I have it mounted in a printed box that is holding up well. It got taken down and I need to reinstall it. But I have similar ideas for this project. I do have ethernet in my detached garage but nowhere else. I tried the TP link ethernet over power but it did not work for that purpose. The garage comes from the meter base to a different box. I am thinking about trying to do one to the hay barn since it is subbed off the house panel and I think that would knock 130 ft or so off the trip.
I did write I would use an inverter but yesterday I was looking at the night owl camera I have for testing. It is 12v so I can just cut the cable and hook it directly to the battery. Depending on what I end up with, you could be right, a dc-dc would be far superior to an inverter. I should know that stuff, but sometimes I just wander aimlessly for no reason. lol
I came across a mesh extender last night from Belkin. I called them this morning and told them my story just to see what they had to offer. I was looking at the nighthawk ES7000. It has 700mW and three external antennas. I thought that sounded pretty good. They told me that I should use RBK752. It is pricey but if it works…well I could just place wifi cameras anywhere and populate the place as long as they aren’t going off all the time for leaves or grass blowing around. I also thought about building myself some yagi antennas to use instead of high gain omnidirectional antennas. I built one for the cell phone booster and it worked great. At 2.4G, it wouldn’t be very big.
Thanks for you input.

Remember that’s a nominal figure, ranging from ~10 to 14V in typical practice. Devices expecting a well-regulated source may complain. Judicious use of appropriate fuses is also a good idea, seeing as how the battery you’d need will likely be capable of sourcing several tens of amps into a fault.