Router with external outdoor antenna (high gain 500 m)

I have a project for an old countryside house where I have satellite link. At the moment, I have the router of my ISP. However, I'm looking for a way to have wifi network with a coverage ray of 500 m. I already found some external outdoor antenna as TL-ANT2415D. Do you have a better suggestion?
How can I connect such antenna to my ISP router that does not have external antenna?
Do you suggest to buy an openWRT router with external antenna and to connect via LAN to the ISP router? Or is there another way?

Thank you

Use a CPE device, which is a pre-engineered unit of router, radio, power amp, directional gain antenna, and outdoor case. For a direct 500 meter service to an endpoint device such as a smartphone you'd want one with rather high gai n for example the Ubiquiti Nanobeam AC Pro.

You can configure OpenWrt as a dumb AP meaning the CPE will be simply an extra wifi transmitter on your existing network. Connect it to the existing ISP router with Ethernet.


Thank you for your reply, but I need an omnidirectional coverage while Ubiquiti Nanobeam AC Pro provides a directive coverage.

I was going to recommend a CPE too, but I think it's supposed to be omni directional.

An omni unit won't directly receive an endpoint from 500 meters. This use scenario requires considerable antenna gain, and/or an active repeater at the far end.

Mixing units here, a circle of 500 meter radius covers almost 60 acres of land. WiFi was never intended to cover that from a single AP.


According to this article, an omnidirectional antenna with 14 dBi is capable to reach 0.4 miles ~ 640 m. Is it wrong?

Well, the transmitter on the other end have to send stuff back, too.


Provided you have unobstructed, direct line of sight for the whole fresnel zone, a point-to-point link (often dubbed as wireless wire) using two heavily directional CPEs should work fine, but you will not be able to serve your clients from that directional point-to-point link, but need to re-distribute the signal locally from a second (omni-directional/ more tradtional) AP.

500m is a lot of range for an omnidirectional system. Most end devices (smartphones, cheap/ISP wifi routers and laptops) usually cannot connect to anything that is more than 100m with their internal wifi system. If your clients cannot send the radio messages back, it's pointless to have a very powerful transmitter. Wifi is two-way communication.

For these ranges the only thing that makes sense is directional. You buy two devices and use them to make a dedicated wireless connection between two points, then you pull the ethernet cable and connect it to other things. You use this instead of pulling 500m of wire.

Why you need omnidirectional over 500m ?

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Right, I thought that it was possible since with cellular network it is possible. However, after some calculation you are right, but this apply to both omnidirectional and directive scenario.

I have a distributed set of sensors and cameras across such area. I thought that with an high gain omnidirectional antenna, it would be possible.
So what is the best solution? A mesh network with several outdoor router/access point?

CPEs or several APs communicating using omnidirectionals, then retransmitting locally.

Or if you share one power grid over the whole area, power lan, if it's capable of going 500m.

Ok, do you have any recommendation of both solutions? Something that is supported by openWRT?

If we assume all CPEs have the string CPE in their model name, there aren't many on the supported list -[Model*~]=cpe

Routers can be APs, so any router would do too, but you want to have at least detachable antennas, or U.FL connectors on the PCB, the latter would however require you to open the case.

Most APs wouldn't have external antennas, so that would mean you'd have to open them, to attach
your omidirectional.

I would also assume the 2.4GHz band is the preferred one to transmit over longer ranges, since it passes obstacles better (rain and snow affects speed too) than the 5GHz band, unless you need more speed.

You have to make sure the device you chose have detachable antennas for the 2.4GHz band, some only have those for 5GHz, while the 2.4 ones are internal, and in worst case, soldered.

A dual band device could be used for communicating with the other APs/routers on one band, and retransmitting the data locally on the 2nd band. That would however require your clients to be able to
utilize the 5GHz band, which isn't very common for sensors and other IoT devices.

thank you I was thinking about the same product.
What about using powerline + WiFi like these? Since I have different building with independent electrical circuit, does each electrical circuit need to connect to the other?
Maybe they will have openWRT support.
Thank you

Yes, the buildings have to be electrically connected, to be able to use power lan.

There are devices out there, that can run ethernet over plain copper wires (like telephone wire), they will not deliver any speeds higher than 802.11n, but they're obviously weather safe.

I have a pair of those running between my house and the garage, where I have wired cameras installed.

Look for short haul modem on ebay, you'll obviously need a pair, one on each end.

A good thing about omnidirectionals is you only need one antenna in the centre, to communicate
with the satellites, while most other solutions will require point to point connections.

2 locations using CPEs, 2 devices
3 locations using CPEs, 6 devices
4 locations using CPEs, 8 devices

assuming the centre point is reachable from all satellite buildings
2 locations using omnis, 2 devices
3 locations using omnis, 3 devices
4 locations using omnis, 4 devices

I'm sure you get the point.

TP-Link EAP225-Outdoor AC1200 Wireless Access Point

$100USD shipped.

200m / 2.4Ghz - 300m / 5Ghz range.

Plus if you can force it to use 802.11b at 1, 5, or 11Mbps you could probably double or triple that range. Reduced bit rate = better SNR = longer tx/rx (like LoRa WAN). Removable antennas should give you an upgrade path if you need more range.

TL-ANT2415D $85USD shipped. Seems like an okay idea. Do you need 2 or more? Plus cabling? Plus what router at what cost? Is that cheaper than the TP-Link EAP225-Outdoor AC1200? Plus all cabling is lossy so you will lose a few db or more cutting into the 15db.

With openWRT loaded on an EAP225 you could AP - STA or MESH them together they would make a better connection and then you could broadcast a local hotspot from the spare radio.

At 200m or 300m LOS (or more at lower rates) x 2 for an AP - STA pair or MESH that should give alot of coverage. I haven't tested this so that would be on you.

Also this one: TP-Link Omada N300 Gigabit Wireless Access Point $54USD (no openWRT though I don't think) but it could make a good AP daisy chained off an EAP225 (if the EAP225 is using 2.4Ghz for AP - STA or MESH) and you need another 2.4Ghz AP for devices.

LoRa WAN. Could be worth looking at for sensors. Probably too slow for cameras. 1080p = 5Mbps. Reduced frame rates would lower that.

Sounds like alot of fun but either way you are going to be spending money to get that kind of coverage. The EAP225 x4 or x5 in a X or Y shaped mesh would be close to covering a 500m radius according to their numbers - and then the spare radio would cover another 200-300m depending on frequency and bitrate.

I thought I would throw this in there as well....

...this prices out at ~$1500USD. Whereas an EAP225 mesh with 5 nodes is around $500. Other commercial solutions would be in the thousands.

The EAP225 is an off the shelf, all in one solution. MESH (802.11s) is reliable and pretty easy to configure. If there are any dead spots, you just add another node or adjust placement of existing nodes. Easy to fix. Cheap. MESH is the preferred solution for reliable coverage of large areas from what I have read - assuming you have power available at the nodes.

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Thank you very much for your detailed answer.
Just a last question :slight_smile: Do you recommend to buy a normal router as archer c6 or a business router as EAP225? Both should be supported by openWRT.

EAP225-wall v2

The EAP225-wall v2 indoor model looks interesting since you can get it used ~$55USD.

Not sure about the QCA9561. The stock firmware might not MESH and I don't know if OpenWRT fixes that or if it is a limitation of the chipset. Also it has smaller antennas built in = less coverage. Per the photos it would be more difficult to add antennas since there are no connectors.

Archer C6 v2 US version

The C6 v2 US version 16/128Mb, would get my approval due to its low used price ~$30USD, QCA9563 supports MESH. Be very careful when buying used as to which versions you get as mixing and matching chipsets typically doesn't work in a MESH - use the same one if possible or expect problems. I couldn't find any videos on youtube for modifying its antennas - but there were lots for other devices like the archer C20.


I prefer the C6 v2 US version, due to lower cost (almost half an EAP225 indoor) and its got better antennas. In theory if you could get the bigger 12-20db omni antennas installed on it this thing would be rockin. You could make your own weather proof enclosure for it.

Lastly you can get cheap 12-20db antennas (~$7-15USD) so I would go for those over the TL-ANT2415D. Even if they break - you could literally buy 5 or 10 of them for the same price as the TL-ANT2415D. Check youtube for all the antenna hacks.

It might be worth checking out devices like the C20 v4 although bear in mind it is a 8/64Mb device. It might work - just don't load tons of packages on it. For example my ar750s (uses the same QCA9563 as the C6 v2 US version) uses 62Mb with 19.07.7 installed on it in a 4 node MESH.

Like he said - you really want a router that has removable external antennas (rp-sma) or internally U.fl or ipex connectors on it so you don't have to solder ideally. Lots of great suggestions. You could literally save hundreds of dollars and get better performance.


I learned to set up an OpenWRT MESH by watching this youtube video by Van Tech Corner. He made it really easy to set up a MESH fast using LuCI. Cảm ơn Van!


Check out the jalapeno or habanero.


When you buy routers to test, even if they don't work out they can still be used as AP's in conjunction with other products and solutions. Start small - just buy 2 or 3 to test. Buy the cheapest ones that will do the job. Low cost = low risk --> if something didn't work it's okay because you didn't spend a large amount of money.

Think of the big picture - "one size fits all solution" probably isn't going to work. It will be an evolving project to cover 196,349 metres (48.5 acres) and will likely used mixed solutions.

If you go more DIY style you can buy way more stuff, get better performance, save alot of money and have alot of fun. I made 2 MESH networks using OpenWRT just for home use just for fun.

Re. the cheap 12-20db omni antennas online - they aren't outdoor rated - but everyone is still using them. Just add silicone to seal it up around the base on the outside and inside of the enclosure to prevent water from getting in.

For a project this size you could save thousands by taking a mixed approach using the strategies presented here.

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Thank you. I'm still evaluating if choosing powerline, mesh or both of them (mixed scenario). In any case, is it recommend to buy a router as those reported before (for the main building where is located the modem)? Or something else?