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Practical Demonstration of a Low Cost - Long Range - Packet Radio over 700 MHz Spectral Region

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This report serves as the milestone nine as defined in the project Asymmetric Threat Mitigation in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and Maritime Ports and Inshore Waters. It documents practical field experimentation on the construction of a simple packet radio that operates over long distances and uses existing Wi-Fi technology. The work innovates by using Wi-Fi constrained to 5 MHz bandwidth over 700 MHz licensed spectral allocation, organized in a multi-hop mode as opposed to point-to-point or point-multipoint fashion. This allows for a possible expansion towards a true mesh network for long-distance packet radio. The system built connects CRC, via cameras, with two other sites one 22 km to the east, and the other 7 km to the west. The radio is energy efficient and transmits around 1.5 Mbps with powers below 400 mW while consuming less than 7 W to operate each node. In remote locations it could operate with a solar panel. CRCs work is useful because it helps answer the question what is the lowest price and simplest system one can possibly assemble for a certain minimum broadband performance By modifying off-the-shelf Wi-Fi equipment this experiment was assembled for roughly 600. While this low-cost surveillance solution is not a production model, but a research model, it well serves as a platform for further research on many related topics such as bit-rate performance of multi-hop systems versus number of hops system capacity issues in multi-hop and mesh radio configurations RF interference effects on the effective bit rate performance multi-hop with frequency re-use studies on the effect of antenna mutual coupling per hop node and antenna polarization diversity applied in the wireless access nodes.

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  • Radio Communications

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