WiFi / phone guru in GTO
08-13-2019, 12:09 PM,
#1
WiFi / phone guru in GTO
I’m looking for someone who is experienced in Telmex modems & WiFi extenders for a multiple structure building. Specifically I want someone who could assess the buildings and determine if one service from Telmex with hardwired repeaters / extenders would work. Anybody here know such a person / company? I do have Telmex scheduled to come out, but a second opinion would be good. Thanks!
Mike

08-13-2019, 11:19 PM,
#2
RE: WiFi / phone guru in GTO
I have some experience.

What I have found best after setting up networks for multi-unit B&B's in San Miguel dA and San Cristobal dlC is I've just about decided if you want rock-solid performance you need hard wire each important area even if that means a router in each room. For this you'll need to feed a large enough multi-port switch attached to the Telmex router and then hard wire LAN cable from there to each room where people gather that need reliable service and in each room install a cheap router that has had the firmware replaced with open source OpenWRT to perform not as a router but an additional access point. And I say go this route because it is more reliable than anything sold with "specific purpose branding" and costing much more. Of course you can implement multiple star switches as well to fan it out according to the geography and your needs. This keeps all the rooms on the same subnet and allows things like easy sharing of media servers or anything else like this if it is in your plan. Still it's nice if nothing else to be able to easily access them all from your admin desk in a single room without walking about with a phone or laptop. I then use at each end point a router converted to access point about the size of a pack of smokes and a reliable one I have used in multiple applications made by Glinet which retail is about $22 on Amazon. It comes in white and with white LAN cable and white cable staples, the eye sore of it can all but be eliminated.

It is also my experience there is no "legal" router made which will easily permeate the common concrete walls of the normal buildings of Mexico and in contrast, a direct wire setup is needed. Of course I say that without being given the task of walking around with a 2' long 1/2" concrete drill bit and gigantic drill, climbing ladders all day and then using concrete staples to hide it all and finally calking over and painting it afterwards. Still the power thing is really not an option, as all routers sold today must be FCC approved which limits them to 500mW ( a half or 0.500 watt) and that just can't penetrate a lot of concrete walls and that's no matter how much the router you buy looks like a Klingon StarTreck vessel and how many multiples of $100 US you pay for it.

Right now I am one floor or in physical terms, about 12" of concrete away from the room right below me where the Telmex Huawei HG8245Q2 fiber OTA is located and my Acer laptop won't pick it up directly below and separated by only that concrete. Add to this the HG8245 fiber optic unit is notorious for providing a very weak signal. To resolve this I pulled out the old drill and ran a wire bridging another access point to this room in the same manner I have described I've done others.

And people may step up to you and say that they use a single router in the center of their house and use it in all rooms. Now even if this is true for them, you'll be chancing going with such a solution and perhaps having to rewire the whole thing but why not try would be a logical come-back. After all you'd feel a lot better spending the money once you've proven you need to so from that perspective, don't take my word on it. Do keep in mind if you are talking about the low output Telmex DG8245 as your single home source for wifi signal, you may be pushing things.

I do have to admit I made a single router work with a setup like this for a friend of mine, but he had an adobe home over 200 years old with 12" walls that no signal would penetrate. The way I got him up and running with the signal router is I had noticed all his roof was thin ship-lap and that his roof came to a sharp point about 8' above the ceiling. I remote-ed an access point to this apex in the attic and it served the entire home fairly well, but this was a unique case.

Now over the past 12 years while retired and traveling across Mexico, I've seen basically every setup anyone has had to offer. I've sneaked out in the middle of the night with boxes on chairs and unplugged repeaters and routers and even logged into some to update their firmware so they'll stop dropping out on me. I've seen mesh netting and years-old open source software converting each router into a half duplex repeater where even if the thing would work, with each hop the signal deteriorates a little more. Additionally the signal is only as strong as the last repeater and if something goes wrong, the entire chain goes down. One hotel meshed out like this had the chain die when a guest walked in front of the repeater around the corner from the main entry. Apparently the person walking by the repeater on the wall blocked the signal just enough to kill the whole chain, making them all re-initialize.

Today I travel with a 2' long 10db yagi and an Alpha net USB "hot adapter" that runs slightly above the previously noted output limits on power which gets plugged into my Glinet small router in client or receiver mode which re-transmits the signal locally to use in my hotel room. This is handy for placing in some cheap hotel window above the door or near the ceiling when they only offer "lobby only internet service". I almost always get "room service" in these ultra cheap Mexican hotels with my ugly and lanky repeater setup (in contrast to trying one of the little gadgets they sell as repeaters to plug in the wall and are really a joke when you are talking concrete walls). This Glinet device I use as a client and receiver of remote wifi signals is also the same one I recommended for you (a highly flexible, multiple function device) running open source firmware which can make it a client box or an access point easily. I have to say this setup this is the best repeater I have used to date but it would be impractical to place this quite cluttered setup around at various locations in your home or business and it would still meet my objections of repeating off a repeater. One hop is bad enough and difficult enough to maintain but even if they worked near perfect like this compatible monstrosity, if one goes down they all do.

Otherwise getting back for just a minute to my comment on power, a slightly higher power output helps but it's really nothing worth speaking of if you are talking about concrete wall penetration and so why snoop around looking for something illegal like a "booster" if it's not going to help that much and if you are a caring person at all, you'll worry you're putting up something that would cause your neighbors too much grief. Still it's a slightly different story on power when I am doing things like setting up an air link say from a barn to a home, yea, the tiny bit of extra power helps noticeably but still not that much. In these implementations, point to point, a parabolic antenna can be used to effectively boost the relative 1/2 watt up to an equivalent wattage in the hundreds but directional antennas are not the answer for home use.

Also keep in mind before getting hypnotized by power output and thinking that doubling the power is going to work some miracle for you, realize that the results of increasing power output is a logarithmic change and that you must double wattage each time you will notice a measurable increase, and these increase signal levels per wattage increase can more easily be understood when compared to wattage output regarding stereo systems. The reason for this is we are most familiar with amplifiers and stereos most of the time and this makes more sense in terms of sound which we are familiar with as opposed to radio waves which to the human sensory realm are all imaginary. To get started, the smallest increase in sound the human ear can detect (and what's accepted in the industry) is a 3db change is required to notice the volume changed and that amounts to a doubling of output power. So in order to hear the volume make an increase from your stereo amp, there must actually be a doubling of the output power and this happens each time you notice the volume has increased. For example if you are listening to 20 watts of power output from a stereo, you must increase the wattage of your amplifier from 20 to 40 watts to hear a change. To hear the volume increase again using only the human ear and no instruments, you have to double it again from 40 to 80 watts, then to 160 watts, then to 320, the to 640 so on you see that at the low end of wattage output, it doesn't take much of a power increase to notice an increase in sound but the higher in output watts you go, the more power increase you need to cause you to notice some volume gain. So the net of this is, that while 600mW (0.6 watt) may be very slightly noticeable above 400mW and to the "ear" of your smartphone, more and more power at higher and higher levels will be needed for your smart phone to "gain a bar" with each doubling the output power over and over for each increased "bar" of received wifi level seen on the phone "bar" or signal strength meter.

Short lesson here is that you can't even find such a monster of an illegal device to put out the amount of power you would need to penetrate the walls at any distance at all because not only it would be highly illegal in the process but it would knock out everyone else's reception all over town. There's also the false premise among RV owners that "boosters" offer a great deal of improvement but it's not true. In most cases if the phone was placed on the roof in the same location as the booster antenna, the signal would have improved as much as seen via a $400 - $800 booster amp. You see with any type of wifi, a two way communication is required and if you are going to beef up the transmitter at the router location, you are going to have to beef up the output of each device where ever they are to complete the required two way communication. And unless you want to strap a battery and booster on your back and walk around with your smart phone, then this is not better than no booster at all. Still many people are fooled, particularly when they see an increase in "bars" on their cell phones when they hang a booster on their RV and this is still part of the phenomona I described with the added confusion that a booster will normally increase the "bars" but in this case it it Tom Foolery, meaning that the increased signal is a level of the same noise along with the same weak signal the phone couldn't pull out in the first place. So effectively the poor signal to heavy noise or what is known as the "signal to noise ratio" in radio reception is a moot point with increased bars because the same signal the phone couldn't pick out of the ambient noise is now much stronger with the booster receiver, but still just as hard to discern to a point of being usable.

So hopefully this illustrates why massive power increases are not the answer when "one-sided" and thus why I stress it is a better solution to instigate multiple sources of access points around the property as I have suggested rather that try to outwit physics with stacking on more and more illegal power that is only one way which is of no value. And that's not to even mention that a one watt device or 1000mW is the highest I've ever seen and must be ordered from China incidentally.)

Still apart from the power and another thing not yet discussed would be the physical characteristic of power drop-off caused by increased distance from the transmitter which follows the same reciprocity formula and that's exponentially increasing the distance by a factor of 2 cuts the signal by 4, increasing it 4 times cuts it by 8, etc.. In other words, the further away from the access point your wi-fi device resides the more rapidly the signal deteriorates. Add to this if a concrete wall is in the way, it degrades at a much, much more rapid value.

So my own suggestion is that multiple devices converted to access points and hard wired, placed in multiple locations, and where concrete walls separate rooms as opposed to glass windows and wood door, you are likely going to need a dedicated access point in each of those rooms that need a good wifi signal. True you are going to find instances where the signal from the next room and through the thick wall is providing 2-3 bars but turn the wrong way or sit the laptop facing the wrong direction and you are going to experience drop out.

Buenos Suerte!
08-14-2019, 08:22 AM,
#3
RE: WiFi / phone guru in GTO
Gracias! Confirmed ( and more) my instinct to hardwire access points. First test will be this weekend, as I found cat5e at reasonable prices ( sadly blue) at the satellite shop on Sangre de Christo. Fortunately we are building so the cable can be snaked in conduit in walls. I’ll check into the routers etc. thanks!
Mike

08-14-2019, 10:56 AM, (This post was last modified: 08-14-2019, 11:30 AM by DonJuane.)
#4
RE: WiFi / phone guru in GTO
Well the router I suggest is the GLInet AR150 and there are two versions and I'd go with the model with the antenna. It's about 3" square and already comes loaded with popular open source firmware OpenWRT. The power source is a standard micro-USB input and powered off the same type of setup as an Android smart-phone charger. A good thing about OpenWRT is it is a stable and often updated firmware (handling new security breeches) and can be easily configured to make the router an access point, "over-air to wired receiver, aka client" or a conventional full function router with things like built in SIP servers, OpenVPN client/server operation etc. You can also use the AR150 powered by PoE in a waterproof box on the roof along with an attached yagi or parabolic antenna and share a connection from a home to an outbuilding or even if you have line of sight path to a remote building and want to set up towers, route and share a connection to a farm house without connectivity outside the city.

Aesthetically you'll have the issue of how to get power to these and have to think about hiding wires and locating a mounting place and issues such as this. Any kind of covering that is unleaded glass-like and not metal should do, watching out for it being a metal mesh or cage like. If it's non-lead ceramic or glass or cloth it should be fine. What I do for power in a large operation like this is use Power Over Ethernet to power the AR150's from a central location which limits the data throughput to 100G instead of 1000G (top of Telmex's capability anyway). If you are creating a star network where the router fans out to several additional remote switches and then to each of these individual "pocket mini routers", then PoE is not as good an idea because the price of each remote switch (that further distributes the signal to the room router) goes from about $10 to $100 Now while the AR150 brochure claims PoE capability, it is a non-standard setup and what I do is employ some 12V to 5V regulators which run around $3.50 each and use a standard PoE configuration and actually power the little devices from those modules which are in shape about the size of the old auto round fuse boxes if you remember them. If you go this route you'll also need a splitter on each end of the CAT5/6 that separates out the 12VDC power wire from the Ethernet cable where it then goes through the 12V to 5V regulator and into a micro USB into the pocket router. And all of this adds up to a small cluster that can be an eyesore but you can cover it with something plastic and decorative or ceramic for that matter. Still at $22 for the AR150, $4 for the 12V to 5V and $3 for the splitter that's a total of around $30 for each room's setup instead of the nice fire alarm looking router than runs $200 - $300 per unit. Plus if it's your desire to go the single subnet wiring route, not sure if the fire alarm ones have the feature or not and I'd have to check.

If you notice today what most expensive hotels, assisted living centers and nursing homes use is an installation of a series of access points that look like fire alarms and they run them down the center of the ceiling doing down the halls to where at there is at least one every couple of doors. And this is where the building construction is simple dry-wall and minimum penetration required by the signal. So if you decide to go that route you'll likely need one in front of each wooden door because the door is all you will be penetrating, as the concrete walls will eat the signal. The upside to these is they are neat and as stated look like fire alarms but I believe their cost is around $200-$300 each. Since I do everything on a budget that's why I opt for the little AR150.

Another thing is that you didn't state if you are going to be doing things like using network file servers or using media sharing equipment. In that case the AR150's are handy too because inside the software you can shut down the DHCP servers, hard-assign an IP address on your local subnet and wire all the LAN ports together which makes everything in the home on the same subnet, meaning things like Windows file sharing, NFS servers, and printers that speak both ways (e.g. "you are running low on cyan ink" etc will all be on the same network and will work seemlessly, as opposed to acting like each router is on its own private network.

Additionally in your initial request you mentioned wanting phone service. If you want individual numbers (can be US phone numbers, Canadian, Mexican or any number of countries) and a different one in each room with individual accounts payable by auto-charge credit card and which can be set up on a package deal or simply a pay-by-call plan that is only a little over a penny a minute, I use a company named CallCentric. To set this up you will need a separate device for each proposed phone number. To provide this you will need one or more devices called "ATA devices" which are typically about 4 x 4 x 1.5" and have both a LAN jack and a phone jack on them, plus small power cord and 12V wall step down wall module. The company I use for all my VOIP phone connections is CallCentric (http://www.callcentric.com?aid=71953) and if you do sign up with them if you'd be so kind to add my agent ID of 71953 I think I get a penny off my phone bill for each time you pay $10 (not charged to you). I'd also be happy to help you set this up.

The reason I like them is they have features that do things like planing the standard "The number you have dialed has been disconnected" to any number as well as anything you want to record in MP3 format to play to people who may be harrasing you that you have previously recorded (works off callerID) and even including a constant busy signal to someone who may be harrasing you for any reason at all. The features also include fowarding to any number in the world after so many rings, call hunting (rings 1 phone 15 seconds, then another, then another) and actually it is so full featured the service is overwhelming. They have plans that keep your number for as low as $1 a month if you make no calls at all. So lots and lots of possibilities there.

By using an ATA device for VOIP phone service (I have a couple of Garndstream 701s new in a box I can sell if you need them but for more you'll need to order) you can either have (e.g.) a single US phone number that you route to phones in every room or if you are planning a B&B situation you can place a $9 switch and a $25-$40 ATA unit in each guest room and each room will have their own unique US, Canadian or whatever phone number. A better option would be to run an additional wire for phone service from your equipment room to each of the rooms in your dwelling and then keep the ATAs in an equipment room. This way by switching out cables in the equipment room you can easily make configuration changes as guest came and left. Say for example assign room A-1 a US number when you book long-term US guests and flip it over to a Canadian number when you have someone from Canada. Or if there's to be no B&B and you simply want a US number that rings on all phones in every room in your area dwelling you can set up a single ATA configured to a VOIP company and bridge each phone cable going to each phone in each room in your equipment room. If later in time for example you booked t some long-term Canadian guests or European guests, you could section off their line in your equipment room, then plug their phone cable into it's own ATA and configure the ATA with Callcentric for a phone number from their country and by selecting either a package plan (e.g. 500 minutes per month) or what I use elusively since I don't operate a business or spend a lot of time on the phone is to pay by minute. My phone bill for my US number here is never more than $12 a month. (Since I have the Telmex fiber package, a GTO number comes separate with that package and assuming the additional phone wire you run to each room will likely be a LAN cable, that will provide up to 4 lines and where needed you can even install multi-line land line phones with e.g. your Mexico number from Telmex on line 1 and your US number on line 2 and your Canadian on line 3, etc.)

** fixed typos and edited for clarity
08-14-2019, 11:16 AM,
#5
RE: WiFi / phone guru in GTO
Also Steren (sp?) near the bus station has cable and connectors but not as cheap as AmazonMx normally.


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