Archive for April, 2007

My 3km Wireless Network Link with Linksys APs

After years of sitting on my wallet not wanting to spend the money on any of the available outdoor 2.4Ghz or 900Mhz radios intended for long range use, I finally had a bit to drink on my birthday and started ordering stuff to setup a wireless link from my house to work so that I could get a better than 19,200bps internet connection. It turns out I couldn’t get high enough to get a stable link between my house and work due to a heck of a lot of noise in the direction of the office (and a lot of tall trees cutting down the SNR) so I gave up hope on free high speed internet access and went knocking on my closest neighbors’ doors. I found a guy willing to let me put an antenna on his garage in exchange for me paying for his cable internet.

Pictured below is the gear located at my house. It’s a 24 dBi grid antenna connected to a Linksys WRT54-GL via 10 feet of LMR-400 all mounted to the windsock tower on the far side of the runway next to my house, about 400′ away. The remote site is located on the right side at the tree line on the horizon 3km away. The link SNR is 30 dB. It runs at 54 Mbps.
24 dBi Grid Antenna on Windsock Tower

Pictured below is the Linksys WRT54-GL, a Linksys 12 volt PoE adapter, an ethernet lightning protector and a 0-3Ghz coax lightning protector all mounted in a gutted Federal Pioneer disconnect box. So far the Linksys gear has had no problems with -10 degree celsius temperatures.
Radio and related gear in outdoor box

Cost for just the link (two radios, two antenna, two coax lightning protectors, two 10′ LMR-400 cables) was about $600 CDN. Another $700 or so was spent on 500′ of outdoor Cat5e (no problems with a 380′ ethernet segement between the Linksys WRT54-GL and a DLink Switch II 5 port switch), a pair of ethernet surge protectors, a PoE adapter, some surge protector power bars, another WRT54-GL to act as a NAT router at the remote end with the cable connection, and a pair of D-Link PowerLine HD Ethernet Adapters (BoPL adapters) to make a connection between the guy’s house with the internet connection and his garage that I attached the antenna and radio to.

1 comment April 27th, 2007

Creative SB Audigy 2 causing system lockups

I’m an idiot. How over the span of 4 years I didn’t figure out that it was my Creative SB Audigy 2 causing my system to lock up I don’t know. I could have sworn that the card had sat on my desk while the problems continued. As far as I know (and I really don’t care to really look into it) the Audigy 2 doesn’t like whatever chipsets were used by Asus for their A7A266s and A7Vs. Nor do they like to run on MSI KT4Vs. Setting PCI latency to an insane value of 256 doesn’t help (at least on the KT4V). As soon as the system asks the card to do something there’s a good chance it’s going to hang the system.

Of course I never noticed the correlation between “sound” and “crash” since, before two weeks ago, I very rarely had my stereo switched to the computer sound. Usually it was on the radio or television. After getting a high speed wireless link setup on April 7th and listening to radio stations over the internet, and experiencing 6+ system lockups a day a couple days in a row, I finally clued in.

Frickin’ Creative. Not even the absurdity of buying THX from Lucas Film and giving THX approval to all your sound cards (how does that work… I’ve got the requirements for cinema THX specs and they don’t appear to apply very well to computer sound cards) could make me want to run out and buy another one from you. I can’t believe that the best sound card I ever had was an Adlib Gold (straight from the 80’s).

1 comment April 18th, 2007

Facebook blows their UI

After months of people bugging me to join Facebook I finally joined on the weekend.  My first impression was, “wow they’ve really got a nice, well layed out, clean interface”.  That changed last night while I was browsing the site at the same time they changed to their new layout which, in a word, blows.

The old layout had everything in a small compact column along the top left side.  Now there’s some stuff in the old location, some stuff along the top left of the page, and some stuff on the top right of the page.  So now, instead of ever so slightly rolling your hand and clicking you’ve got to move the pointer all over the place.  Maybe I’m lazy, or maybe it really does suck.  This Facebook group seems agree that it sucks.

Add comment April 11th, 2007


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