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Cisco Meraki Documentation

Recommendations for Outdoor Wireless Mesh Repeater Deployments

When deploying an outdoor wireless mesh network, there are many considerations that need to be taken into account.  This KB will discuss how to physically deploy the APs, antenna capabilities, and usage of gateways and repeaters, which all need to be taken into consideration when deploying an outdoor network.


Physically deploying and environmental considerations

  • Mount the APs to a sturdy anchor point to prevent theft or damage due to the weather. This can be done by bolting the mount plate to a wall/ceiling or using the metal straps to attach the plate to a pole.

  • Make sure the device stays within the listed operating temperature listed in the datasheet for the model of AP being deployed. If necessary, deploy in shade or provide ventilation if in an enclosure.

  • Ethernet cabling is limited to 100 Meters (about 328 feet)

  • The Meraki PoE Injector must be deployed indoors as it is not waterproof or ruggedized
  • Make sure the AP is grounded properly to prevent static buildup and to protect against other electrical issues
  • Rated speeds are theoretical maximums under ideal circumstances. Actual throughput will vary dependent on distance, environmental conditions, number of clients, and client capabilities. 

Antenna capabilities and requirements for outdoor deployments

  • Line of sight between AP’s antennas is necessary to maximize signal strength. Particularly when using sector/panel antennas.

  • Omni Antennas provide the least range, but provide near total coverage around the AP. They are best used for servicing clients or if you have a single gateway servicing multiple repeaters.

  • Sector Antennas have both a 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz versions. These increase range and limit the radio signal coverage to a smaller area. These are great for connecting repeaters to a single gateway over a longer distance or providing WiFi coverage to a focused area.

  • Environmental factors, like moisture and wind affect performance and link quality

  • 2.4Ghz band is able to travel longer distances as well as penetrate objects better

  • 5Ghz band has a higher throughput as well as more channels, so interference is less of an issue. However, this comes at a cost of range.


Usage of Gateways and Repeaters

  • Our devices automatically try to mesh as a repeater if they cannot access a gateway via their wired interface

  • One Gateway can support multiple Repeaters. However, if the single Gateway device goes down, the entire network goes down.

  • Multiple Gateways will help with redundancy as well as increase performance because repeaters must mesh on the same channel the Gateway is on. If too many AP’s and clients are on the same channel (2.4 or 5 Ghz) the link quality will degrade due to interference and channel utilization.

  • Although Repeaters can connect to other Repeaters to get to a Gateway, this is not recommended because your throughput is halved each “hop” or Repeater the far device goes through.