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What is the most cost effective way to weatherproof our wireless access point?

The ISP that I work for has their wireless access point (WAP) on their mast, but I feel that it should be enclosed (if possible, inside a room) where it can be monitored and maintained to avoid the effects of weather, etc. One alternative is buying a long cable, but that is quite expensive. Is there a cheaper alternative?
You can put your WAP in an outdoor enclosure, mounted on the mast or placed very close to the mast (connected by a short antenna cable). Homegrown enclosures have even been made from Tupperware, but you're probably looking for a commercial grade outdoor enclosure like one of these: Qorvus, Demarc, Moonblink, Streakwave (This is just a small, random sample group. Many such products are readily available within a wide price range). Outdoor enclosures are waterproof, with fittings for power and data cables, and mounting brackets. Some enclosures are RF shielded, heated, lockable, and/or supplied with related hardware (power supplies, lightening protectors, antenna connectors, etc.)

As you note, the other option is to bring your WAP indoors and run a cable from the WAP to the outdoor antenna. RF cable and connector quality and cost varies; the lower the cost, the higher the signal loss. The longer the cable run, the more cumulative signal loss (usually measured in dB per foot). A very long run may require a signal amplifier to compensate for loss. You'd need to price out your exact configuration to compare the cost of a long cable run to the cost of an outdoor enclosure. But you should have no trouble finding example prices by Googling "802.11 RF cable."

This was last published in October 2004

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