Campbell will always be with us when we are camping, whether we are Overlanding or RVing. So it is the best place to put our network infrastructure.
Campbell has a Wifi router where all of our devices attach. Then depending on where we are, we connect the router to the internet, so our devices have access.
Today the internet connections we use all rely on bridging the router to a Wifi network. On the road or boondocking, we bridge it to our wireless hotspot. If we are in a place that provides Wifi, we bridge to the access point.
Ubiquiti Rocket M2
We implemented a dedicated bridge to connect our router using a Ubiquiti Rocket M2 radio to make our bridging more robust. Previously we were using the bridging feature built into the router with its small internal antenna.
The M2 radios run on 24-volts, and it is delivered using power-over-ethernet (PoE).
PoE sends the power directly over the ethernet cable using a PoE injector. A 12-volt to 24-volt converter generates the 24-volts it needs from the 12-volts we have available.
The Rocket has two radio channels, so it needs two antennas. We chose two 5-dBi moderate-gain outdoor antennas and mounted them on the rear corners of the roof rack.
They are omnidirectional and are separated well, which helps performance. The lower gain is more tolerant of access points of varying height angles than high-gain antennas.
An advantage of a separate bridge is that not only can it be used with a router, it can also plug directly into the ethernet port of a laptop for better range.
The design allows different bridge radios and antennas for special situations. We have plans to build bridges with higher gain antennas for connecting over greater distances. Check back to see those projects.
I tested the dual 5dBi roof antennas using the Rocket M2 with MIMO against a 17 dBi Yagi antenna connected to a Ubiquiti Bullet M2. The source Wifi was too weak for the iOS devices to detect.
The dual roof antennas were positioned perpendicular to the source, and the Yagi pointed directly at the source. They both performed about the same, receiving the signal in the low 70-dBm range which is very good.