900MHz 54Mbps mini-pci Ubiquiti SuperRange9 using existing Atheros driver

  • The new 900MHz 54Mbps mini-pci card is compatible with existing Atheros/madwifi drivers, and thus pfSense!
    Although it is scheduled to be out in May, Ubiquiti has hyped vaporware in the past so it's not a sure thing.
    Perhaps non-line-of-sight wireless mesh will be possible.  As soon as these cards are out I'll test with a few WRAP.2C units,
    each containing one 900MHz card for backhaul/mesh and one EMP-8602 400mW 2.4GHz card for the wi-fi access point,
    and report how much farther the 900MHz backhaul travels through downtown buildings compared to regular 2.4 or 5.x.

  • We've been testing a few of these 900mhz cards over the last month on WRAP.2C2 with pfSense.  They do perform better than 2.4/5.x through buildings and trees, but in most tests the cards stop communicating when distance > 1/3 mile.  We thought it may be due to the wider Fresnel zone ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresnel_zone ), so we placed one end 10 stories high, but didn't have much better luck.  So, we're guessing these cards may be substandard?  Or, could our reduced range possibly be caused by possible insufficient power from the WRAP units?  There is a campus not too far away using 900mhz, but we also tested far outside the city with similar depressing results.
    Thanks, -pc

  • I've tested these too.  They can do LOS at similar ranges to 2.4GHz.  They only seem to do NLOS at ranges of less than 1mi.  We tested in an average suburban town with the AP mounted ~40' off the ground.  The client unit was ground-bound.  All in all, they definitely didn't work as I had heard they would.

  • Hi mastermindpro,
    May I ask what antennas and AP hardware (wrap/soekris/pc/?) you are using?
    It seems you're getting somewhat better signal that us with these cards.
    Thank you,

    • Pete

  • Sure, we were testing with WRAP boards (the unsupported 64MB model  ;D ).  We were using an 8.5' long omni on the AP end and a 9db yagi on the client end.  I think both antennas were PacWireless, but I don't remember for sure.

    There was no question that noise floor and antenna directionality are far more important in the 900 spectrum.  We're only going to use panels on both ends for 900 deployments as a result of our testing.  There just wasn't enough predictability and reliability with the omni.

    As an aside, we've also tested Tranzeo's 900Mhz units, and I like those better from a reliability standpoint.  I'm still not sold on their actual throughput, but they seem to burn farther than our omni setup did, without a doubt.  That's probably all due to the directionality of their panel antennas, though.  I bet if we put the SR9's into a panel enclosure, we would have similar or better results.

  • I have had some interest in these cards as well..
    What kinda Clients did you use to connect with this card?
    Ive been searching around for Client Stations for the 900Mhz SR9's but without any luck..

  • Our tests were WRAP+SR9 to WRAP+SR9.

    I've not tested these, but…
    A Client Station could be built using the following: (put wrap+sr9 inside, ~$340 total):

  • Which CPEs do you recommend for this? I know Tranzeo is one but are their any others just as good and cheaper?