To Rod Speed and anyone who wants to set up a ubiquiti radio as a receiver
far from the house.
Mechanically the setup is this:
a. House is normal with SOHO WiFi router
b. Barn is about 200 feet away and has electricity
c. House to barn has driveway plus creek so no Ethernet cable
We had a half dozen spare Ubiquiti Rocket M2 radios on hand, because we
swapped them all out for Rocket M5 radios instead (for the lower noise).
So a bunch of us grabbed a few and set them up outside, a few hundred feet
from the house, pointing over the air back at the normal home SOHO routers.
The radio is powered by the POE that comes with it, with one end connected
to the 120VAC mains and the other end powers the radio. The POE has another
Ethernet RJ45 port which right now just goes into a laptop but which could
easily feed into a router and/or a camera or whatever.
The problem is that the home SOHO router won't cast a good signal to the
barn at about 200 feet but with this radio (whose dish alone is 30
decibels!) we can pick up the home SOHO router at 200 feet without trouble.
At about 200 feet line of sight from the barn to the house, we got signal
strength of over minus 65 decibels, which is pretty good, and when we
tested speeds, they were asymmetric (even though all our feeds are
symmetric) at 43 Mbps down and 17 Mbps up, which is fine for what we're
doing (since we get our Internet over the air via WISP).
The key to set up the Ubiquiti radio as a receiver is "station" and
"bridge" for the two tabs, "wireless" and "network".
The configuration file has the radio set up with the following cfg file
which can be loaded into any Ubiquiti Rocket M2 (and probably other
Ubiquiti AirOS radios).
I realize this is the opposite of what Rod Speed is trying to do, but I
point it out in case he wants to just set up a radio & router at his
neighbor's house 150 feet away.
I'm going to set up a 1 Watt spare bullet M2 with a 16dB planar antenna so
I hope my next post can be a configuration cfg file of the bullet set up to
paint his naighbor's house.
But until then, this is how to set up a Ubiquiti 2.4GHz radio to pick up
the SOHO router from 200 feet away from the house.
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I simplified and documented the procedure better because I just set up a
spare Ubiquiti Rocket M2 radio & 28dBi dish antenna in station/bridge mode,
which is what Rod Speed needs if he wants to use the radio at his
neighbor's house, to pick up the weak signal from Rod's SOHO Wi-Fi router.
We tested this configuration at about 200 feet and got perfectly acceptable
I also set up a Ubiquiti Rocket M5 in Access Point mode, which is what Rod
Speed is most likely to do, but this post is only about how easy it is to
set up the Ubiquiti radios in station/bridge mode to *receive* signal from
a SOHO router Wi-Fi access point.
I'm using the Ubiquiti Rocket M2 in station/bridge mode right now,
connected to a desktop PC Ethernet port and then picking up the signal from
my SOHO WiFi router, which is exactly what Rod's neighbor would be using if
Rod opts to put a receiving dish and bucket router on the neighbor's
property facing Rod's home.
Here is a photo of the radios that I'm playing with for this test.
Here is a photo of the radios set up in AP mode (where Rod Speed would
broadcast his signal to his neighbor) and set up in station/bridge mode
(where his neighbor would receive the weak signal from Rod Speed's SOHO
Up until today, I was using a Mikrotik RB411/R52n-M radio to pick up the
weak signal from the SOHO WiFi router.
But we just got a set of spare Rocket M2 radios to play with so that's why
I tested this out for Rod Speed.
For Rod Speed to test out what the neighbor would need to simply pick up
the weak signal 300 feet away from Rod Speed's SOHO Wi-Fi router, here's
all the neighbor needs to do.
1. Power up a Windows 10 PC (that's what I tested this on).
2. Connect the Ubiquiti Rocket M2 radio to the POE power "POE" port.
3. Reset the Ubiquiti radio to factory defaults (if needed)
(just hold the reset switch, under power, until the lights all flash).
4. Set the Windows 10 PC to a static IP address of 192.168.1.x
(where x is anything not used, and not 20).
5. Connect the POE power supply LAN port to the Windows PC Ethernet port.
6. Log into the Ubiquiti radio at http://192.168.1.20 using the
default login of "ubnt" and the password of "ubnt".
7. The radio will force you to set the country code & language and it
will force you to accept the EULA checkbox.
8. The radio will force you to change the password, where it will take
anything other than "ubnt" (e.g., "Ubnt" works just fine).
9. Go to the NETWORK tab and hit the "Select" button and select the
SSID broadcast from the SOHO Wi-Fi router & enter the type of
security and passphrase for that access point.
10. Hit "change" and "apply" and that's it. You're done!
The Windows 10 PC is now connected to the SOHO Wi-Fi router weak signal,
and the Windows 10 PC is therefore instantly on the Internet.
In practice, the user can test this out at home, and then move the radio
300 feet away from the SOHO Wi-Fi router where the radio should still work
pretty far out to connect to the weak SOHO router Wi-Fi signal.
Once the user establishes this works at 100 feet, 200 feet, 300 feet, etc.,
they can just put a router on the end of the radio, and they can wired or
wirelessly connect any device they want to that router (such as a barn
Here are screenshots of the relevant screens in the setup, but again, it's
very simple because there is only one change that is required which is to
set the radio to pick up the correct SOHO router Wi-Fi access point SSID,
security type, and passphrase.
Here are the screenshots of the setup to set this Ubiquiti Rocket M5 in the
mode that Rod Speed wants.
In this setup, the radio will hang off his SOHO router by cat5 cable and
POE, and then it will paint the next few miles with his Internet signal
such that a neighbor only a few hundred feet away should be able to connect
to this powerful access point with small devices.
This happens to be a 5GHz 30 decibel rocket, but the procedure is exactly
the same no matter what Ubiquiti radio Rod Speed chooses to make his access
point that paints the neighbor's home (as per the calculations from Jeff).
ap_001 Security Certificate override at 192.168.1.20 (default)
ap_002 Log in to 192.168.1.20 port 80 as ubnt/ubnt
ap_003 Make sure AirMAX is not enabled
ap_004 You should be in Access Point/Bridge mode
ap_005 Choose the SSID & security & channel & width you want for the AP
ap_006 Choose any static IP address that you want for 192.168.1.whatever
ap_007 There's nothing to change on the Advanced tab
ap_008 There's nothing to change on the Services tab
ap_009 There's nothing to change on the System tab
As a more easily digested top-level summary, for Rod and the others:
a. Station mode (the default)
b. Access Point mode
1. Station mode means the access point locks on to any given
SSID/passphrase, acting as a "station". For example, you can stand on the
nearest hilltop and point the radio down into the city miles below, select
the best signal strength open access point, and connect to the Internet (if
you're lucky with signal strength both ways).
2. Access Point mode means the radio acts as an access point of your
Internet to anyone (who can be miles away) who wants to connect to your
access point. You can stick the radio on a hilltop, pointing at the city
miles below, and everyone in the city can "see" your access point (if
you're lucky with signal strength both ways).
More details for setup on Ubiquiti radios such as these in my basement:
1. The Ubiquiti radios, out of the box, default to "station" mode, where
you can temporarily connect them by wire or WiFi to a mobile computing
device to log in (192.168.1.20, ubnt/ubnt) and point them at any access
point (even those that are miles away) and then lock on to either the SSID
or the MAC address. That's it.
After that one-step setup of choosing the SSID to lock onto, you can plug
*anything* you want into the radio (e.g., a router, a camera, a computer, a
mobile device, etc.) and it will be using the Internet of the SSID you're
locked on to.
2. The Ubiquiti radios can easily be set up in Access Point mode, where you
plug them into your router and then you can put this access point up to 300
feet away from the router, connected by that Ethernet cable.
This allows you to paint any part of your property, e.g., your pool or your
barn or your front gate, etc., or even to paint an entire city miles away,
with your access point.
In this photo below, you see that I have one powerful Rocket M2 (2.4GHz)
which is set up in "station" mode, while the other powerful Rocket M5
(5GHz) is set up in "access point" mode.
Bear in mind that these radios can go for a dozen miles line of sight when
connected to a similar radio, but the distance will be far less if the
other radio is a cell phone, a router, or a less powerful access point.
The advantage, however, of these powerful Ubiquiti Rocket M2/M5 radios is
that they have 24dBi and 30dBi antennas respectively, which, if you know
how decibels work, is a huge increase in a weak noisy received signal
However, even these two relatively weak 14dBi and 18dBi antennas can still
go for miles line of sight under the right conditions on the other side.
None of those figures even count in the added power of at least 25 or so
decibels (dbM) of power input into the antenna, so that gives you just an
idea of how much more powerful, overall, these radios are compared to your
typical SOHO router (which would be hard pressed to garner even 20dBm of
All at just about the same price (so, IMHO, if you need an additional
access point or a station that connects to an access point, then a typical
consumer SOHO router is one of the worst ways to accomplish that task from
a price-to-performance standpoint).
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