How to Build a Large Citywide WiFi Hotspot/Zone


How It Works

How do you actually make money from a WiFi Hotspot?

Most people are familiar with WiFi in their homes and some cafes/coffee shops. What I'm doing is building a large WiFi hotspot/zone which people pay to use to get internet access.
Some coffee shops/cafes/hotels & campsites have WiFi which they charge customers to use to make an extra income. I am attempting to do the same but on a much larger scale, covering large residential areas.

You will basically be providing internet access to people wirelessly via WiFi.

They look for your wifi network in their wifi connections, connect to it and will be redirected to your landing page where they pay with a credit or debit card to get internet access.


You can set up a wifi hotspot on a small scale like in a cafe or even from your home with a cheap router, an internet connection, a computer and some WiFi hotspot billing software.

However I am working on a building a large WiFi Zone covering wide residential areas and that will be the focus of this lens, although the information will still be useful if you want to build a small network or just have one hotspot in one location.

When building a large WiFi network the main challenge is getting a good range and coverage of the WiFi network. I am using special outdoor (weatherproof) high power WiFi hotspot equipment with high power long range WiFi antennas. The equipment consists of a unit similar to a domestic wifi router which can handle multiple users, billing/payments & wifi hotspot management systems and a powerful external wifi antenna (Shown in picture)

I have had the equipment supplied & managed by a company who also take a share of the money. You don't have to use a company but if you just want something you can plug into your router and start making money without any technical knowledge then this is the best option. I have also decided to use a company or 'billing partner' for a number of other reasons which I will mention later.*

*When I started this project and diary I was using a billing partner and the equipment they suppplied which was the Engenius EOC 2611 & Engenius EOC 1650, I have now changed to Cloudtrax and the Open-Mesh routers but you will see me mention the Engenius equipment and billing partner as that is what I started with and it will help the diary make sense.


Locating Sites & Installing the WiFi Hotspots/Units

How a Large WiFi Network Works

You will have a main unit (back-haul/Gateway) which is connected to the internet (it is also a hotspot which users can connect to) and it connects to smaller 'repeater' units, which repeat the signal and increase the network coverage and they only need to be powered.

The picture is not of my network but I expect it is a repeater unit, it is attached to a power/telegraph pole, I expect it is drawing power from the pole but they can be solar powered. I expect this unit to be part of a network installed by a local City/Council/Government or large WiFi installation company either independently or on behalf of the local City/Council. Being able to install units in this way is probably best but obviously you will need to gain permission from the company who owns the pole and then with then arrange some kind of payment for the power, I foresee lots of issues and costs associated with this option. If you have a lots of start up capital then I would consider it. However my project focuses on private residential buildings and small private local businesses.

Coverage is everything with building a large WiFi network, your back haul-unit will have a range over a mile with a clear 'light of sight' (no obstructions/buildings/hills/trees in the way) and most computers will only have enough range and power to get a good connection up to 300 feet away with a clear 'light of sight'. However in an urban (city) environment with tall brick & concrete buildings you may struggle to pick up the signal 50ft away. This means you will need lots of repeater units, some say 60 or more per square mile. You can either sell or rent the repeater units to people who want to use the wifi service but don't have a strong enough signal. This way you can get lots units building coverage without having to really pay for it.

A single shared internet connection will only be able to service a certain number of people, as a general rule for each 1MB of download speed you can have six people online at the same time before it becomes to slow. So if you are using a 20MB line then you could have 120 people using it at the same time. Once you reach this limit you will need to start adding more backhaul units (units connected to the internet) to the network, they will all mesh/sync up and make the network stronger, if one internet connection goes down the other one will keep the network live.

If you are trying to cover a town with only one and two storey buildings and houses and it is over looked buy a hill or single high structure (water tower) you could put you main unit there and this would provide good coverage and then you would only need a few repeater units to cover a large area and each one would have a good 'clear line of sight'.

Finding sites to place the equipment is the most difficult part. The main wifi units (backhaul) need to be installed ideally on roof tops or in high positions so they have a 'clear line of sight' with the 'repeater' units.

Trying to convince people to have something on their roof and pay for electricity to power it isn't that easy! I have been and still am trying different methods to get enough repeater units installed to cover a large area.

One of my most successful methods is too find people who will let you put a unit on their building in exchange for free access. If they live in a densely populated area or block of apartments then you will cover that area, maybe 50 properties and will get some customers. You are only paying for the internet connection once so you can give out free accounts and it won't cost you anymore and hopefully you will get a few people in that area paying for it. I would suggest an ad on craigslist or in shop windows or give out flyers or ask friends/family & co workers. Who doesn't want FREE internet?

Offer to pay people to put it on their building/house, its smaller than a TV aerial and as its on the roof it won't get in their way and they wont see it. During these hard economical times how many homeowners wouldn't want an extra $20 or $30 a month? ($240-$360 a year)

Work with local businesses, tell them you want to build a public wifi network in the area and put units on or in their buildings and in return they get free advertising on the WiFi service.

Community project. Start it as a community project providing low cost internet access for low income families and free access to local City/Community/Educational websites. This way you can get churches, community centers, government buildings, sports centers & charities to let you put units on their buildings.

How a Large WiFi Mesh Self Healing Network Works

The green units are the Gateways/Back-hauls (connected to the internet via internet router) and the other units are the repeaters. The laptop indicates a user, users can connect to any of the units when in range.
The red circle & line symbol shows that with more than one gateway, even if one link is broken the other Gateways support the network. Each network can have just one or many Gateways, the more the better as this will spread the load and reduce the number of 'hops' (a hop refers to each time the signal goes from one node to another unit it reaches the Gateway unit). By increasing the number of Gateways you increase the capacity of the network ( 2 x 20Mb Internet connections = 40Mb capacity).

The Main Unit/Backhaul - Equipment for a Large WiFi Zone

When you build a large WiFi network you need special equipment and not the WiFi signal provided by the router you get from your Internet supplier.

This is the equipment I now use in my network. Open-Mesh OM2P WiFi Router & 8dbi omni directional antenna. The unit is powered by 'power over ethernet' (PoE) the low 12v current runs along the ethernet cable using the power injector, so the data and power run along the same single cable and there is no risk of electric shock. The ethernet cable I use is special outdoor weather proof cable so it can be run over roofs, down drain pipes and underground.

The Open-Mesh equipment is really good value for money when you compare it to simliar equipment, I have written a page about the Open-Mesh equipment here.


UK vs. USA

I am building this WiFi network in the United Kingdom (England) and most people reading this will be in the USA. However builing a wifi network is exactly the same where ever you live. The WiFi equipment is exactly the same and when purchased from the USA will have a standard american wall plug. I think you guys get to use one more or one less WiFi channel but this is not a problem. In most countries there are limits on the power output of the equipment (Mw), please check your local regulations or the FCC. However as you will understand just turning the power up to 1000Mw with a massive antenna (the legal limit is usually around 100Mw) won't work.


WiFi Hotspot Management Systems

WiFi hotspots are similar to your wifi network at home except that you want to charge people to use so you will need a system to handle multiple users, user accounts, set pricing, accept payments, data logging, download speeds & restrict access to illegal sites (pornography/terrorism/fraud/illegal file sharing).

There are three basic options

1. You can get hotspot software (free and paid for) and do everything yourself from your computer. You might have to share some of the revenue with the software supplier. This is suitable for small wifi hotspots (cafes or from home)

2. Use a 'billing partner' who handle the system/users and accept card payments. Usually they take a 25% cut and you get 75% of revenue from the hotspot(s). This is suitable for small wifi hotspots (cafes or from home)

3. Use a company/billing partner who supply the equipment and hotspot system management systems and advice. These companies usually provide and install wifi systems in hotels/shopping centers/campsites/ RV parks and have a lot more experience on setting up large wifi networks. Usually they will take 25% - 50% of the revenue from the hotspot(s).

The last option is what I have chosen*. I am not very technical and it would take me a long time to learn everything I need to know, I rather spend my time making money! The company I use provides lots of support & advice on setting up a large wifi network and helps me avoid expensive problems. I tell them what I want to achieve and they advise me and supply the most suitable equipment.

It is up to you which way you want to do it but I would recommend the last option. Find a local company like this, give them a call and have a chat, you will find out that going it alone on a large scale wifi network will be difficult.

*At the time of writing this page I was using a billing partner but now use the Cloudtrax/Open-Mesh system and do everything myself (option 1). There is so much to learn and so many problems you will come across and sometimes it is good to have someone to call to ask for an answer. If you feel confident going it alone then do it but I would recommend using a billing partner.

Click image for larger picture
Click image for larger picture | Source

Selling WiFi Access / Vouchers

The Cloudtrax system uses access vouchers which are fully integrated with Paypal so once a user connects to your WiFi network they will be taken to your landing page where they will be presented with a list of access times and cost you set. You can also manually edit and create access vouchers (see picture).


Internet Connection for Your WiFi Network

Choosing the right service is very important

Obviously you will need an internet connection. Since you will be 'reselling' it you will need to make sure your internet provider allows this, most don't and will cut you off if they find out that you are charging other people to use it. Again if you use a company like I recommend then they will advise you on which companies allow you to resell the connection, you will probably need a business broadband line.

Make sure you have UNLIMITED download allowance with the Internet package you choose. As there will be lots of people using it all the time you must have an unlimited or uncapped download allowance. Some of my customers download over 5GB of data a day!

Since there will be lots of people using it at the same time you will need the best and fastest internet connection you can get. Check to see the best speeds available where the hotspot will be, if you can only get a low maximum speed like 3Mb it might not be worth doing it.


Why you can't just use one big antenna for a large WiFi Hotspot

I have noticed a lot of people landing on this page because of this question, so here is a quick explanation, although I do mention it throughout this page.

It is true that a single WiFi unit with a small 8dBi antenna mounted at height will pump out a signal for a few Km but the problem is that the WiFi card in most laptops and smart phones is only designed to be used when fairly close the the wifi router (ie in a house or office) so the range is probably 300 feet at best with a clear line of sight. This means to provide coverage to a large area like a city you must ensure that there is a AP within a maximum of 300 feet of where you expect people will be using it. In a built up urban area or indoors you will probably only get 50 or 100 feet clear line of sight so many more units will be needed.

Diary 2011

June 2011

Finding the first site. Housing is very expensive here in the UK and most people (under the age of about 40!) have no choice but to rent so I could not start building a wifi network from my home, I needed somewhere permanent. Every cloud has a silver lining and during moving from one rented property to another I met a property owner and explained my idea and asked if I could put a unit on one of his properties he rents out. It was a big house divided up into small apartments so none of them had a phone line for internet access, this was a problem for his tenants and I had a solution which wouldn't cost him anything so he agreed. The fastest Internet speed in that area was 18Mbs which wasn't amazing but it was good enough.

July 2011
My town is very hilly which is not good for building a large wifi network but the house was a very tall one and on one of the tallest hills so that was great.

Since I wouldn't be there to stop people just plugging their computers into the router and getting free access and gaining access to the building was difficult I decided to have the phone line, equipment and power installed into an exterior lockable electrical box on the ground floor on the outside of the building. The installation of the main unit on the roof was easier than I though it would be due to the height. There was access to a small safe flat part of the roof via one of the apartments and easy access to the chimney where the unit would be mounted on a pole. I hired a TV aerial installation company who supplied and fitted the pole, the guy had never installed or seen a wifi hotspot before so I worked with him running cables and explaining the setup. Luckily there was a drainpipe, which went straight from the top of the roof down the bottom of the building, we just tied a weight to the cable and let it drop! (The cable is special waterproof outdoor UV protected, stronger than standard Ethernet cable and since it only carries a low voltage there is no risk of electric shock). I hired someone because I wanted a good job done and someone who was insured as it wasn't my property, if you can do it yourself and save some money then great!

We just ran the cable out from the bottom of the drainpipe, fixed it to the wall with cable clamps and ran it into the box with the router & power injector, plugged it in and the hotspot was up and running and ready for business!

I had the cable pre crimped with the RJ45 connectors at each end which meant I had to make a hole in the box large enough to put it through which wasn't ideal. It would have been better to just make a small hole for the cable (about 6mm) and then crimp the connector when inside the box but I didn't know how to then. I am now practising how to do it so that on the next install, if the cable has to be run through walls I only need a 6mm or 7mm hole drilled. Below I will put a video on how to crimp a ethernet cable and the tools needed.

August 2011

No customers

Sept 2011

No customers. I get a letter from the Internet provider saying that fiber optic broadband is available now! It is almost the same price but now with 35Mbs Download and 10Mbs upload speeds!

October 2011

No customers. I realise people aren't just going to find it, I need to advertise. I get some flyers printed up and put them through letterboxes of houses within range of the main unit.

Early November 2011

No customers. I call the company I use and asked for advice, they suggest I offer some free service. So in addition to the paid for access I let people use it for 1 hour per day for free.

Late November 2011

One person has used the service, for free for 12 minutes! Ok not made any money yet but people are finding it and using it, the first step! And this guy was not in an area that I had delivered flyers, which was good, it also showed the range was better than expected.

Early December 2011

I amend the flyers with stickers to say there is now free access and start delivering them to a wider area around the hotspot. One guy who lives in the house where the main unit is calls me after seeing the flyer and say he wants to use it but cannot see the signal. I contact the landlord and ask if I can put a repeater unit in the house. There is a power point in a communal hallway so I fix the unit there, it connects to the main unit and now the signal in the house is very strong.

I check the management system later that day and there are more people using it for free!!!

Mid December 2011

Woo-Hoo!!! Paying customers! Two people have paid for 30 days access!

Late December 2011

More paying customers!!!!

Christmas & New Year 2011

A few more people using it for free, an hour a day isn't that much, hopefully they will want to use it more and then pay for access.

Diary 2012

January 2012

I start looking for new locations to put the repeater units on Gumtree (similar to Craigslist), finding people who are trying to make money from their house, renting out rooms, garages, parking spaces and see if they want to 'rent' out some of their roof space, most haven't even thought of it but like the idea!

I find on Gumtree a garage/storage unit with power and a phone line for rent! I call the guy and explain what I want to do and offer some money for some roof space, he is happy as this means he is making some extra money which he didn't expect. And fiber optic broadband is available there too! I am now in the process of getting the broadband installed, check back for more updates!

7 January 2012

Ordered fiber optic broadband for the new site today, installation date is has been given as the 1 Feb. 2012 so I am now ordering another EOC2611 Unit/ Antenna/cable and organising the installation.

20 January 2012

One customer from last month has bought another 30 days access, this is good as it shows they are happy with the service. This is exactly what I want, people who will pay for it every month to create a regular income instead of just occasional use.

I am thinking about the new install site, the building is only a car garage and single storey with high buildings around it, not an ideal site but it has a phone line and power. There is a bar across the street which is a high building so I am going to talk to the bar owner/manager and see if I can put a repeater unit on the roof of the bar in exchange for free advertising on the WiFi network. They already have free WiFi there so I shouldn't have any trouble explaining the advantage of to them, you might think if they already have free wifi then why would they let me put another service in there? Well the wifi they already have does not log users details so it leaves them open to risks if someone uses their service for illegal activities. Also the service is provided by a 'free hotspot' company but only seems to benefit the hotspot provider by having pay per click advertising on the landing page. I will show them how, using my service I can rebrand it for their bar or have people redirected to their website.

February 2012

This month has been a real headache, getting the internet installed at the new site has been lots of trouble and involved lots of waiting around in the cold, when the sun is shining you don't waiting a few hours outside but when its frosty and you can't feel your fingers and toes its not much fun! It seems to be taking ages too, the first engineer visit was about 2 or 3 weeks after I ordered it, then another week for them to check the line and install a new socket, then another 2 weeks until it is fully installed and with a working internet connection.

Also there have been a few 'bugs' in the system which means when people have paid they couldn't use their account which isn't good for business!

I get an automated email saying the repeater until in the house is down (which people who have paid are using), not good! I go to check it and swap it with another until in case it is faulty but still no luck. I check the main unit on the roof and check it but everything looks fine which means there is either a fault with the unit or antenna. I will have to replace it and send the old one back (it is still under warranty).

I have replaced the main unit and this time used an 8dbi antenna instead of the 15dbi, the signal doesn't go so far (a few miles) but it gives better coverage in all directions, the signal is transmitted in more of a sphere so the signal reaches the lower floors better and the repeater units in the house give a better speed. The 8dbi is much smaller and cheaper so I think I might use them more, the 15dbi is ideal if the terrain is very flat but in a town with lots of buildings and hills using more smaller antennas I think is the way forward.

Finally got the internet installed at the new site (took about 7 weeks from placing the order) so now i just need to install the wifi unit and antenna, I still need to speak to the bar manager across the street about putting on unit on their bar but it looks hopeful.

March 2012

The new unit with the 8dbi antenna is much better, the signal is stronger and better quality locally. There are two new users and looking at their postal codes (like a zip code), one is 500 meters away and the other one was 750 meters away! This is very good for outdoors but in an urban environment with buildings and other radio interference it even surprised me!

April 2012

One person phoned me up and said they want to use the service but cannot connect so I suggested that I could supply one of the smaller 1650 repeater units for a deposit of £50 ($100) which is what they cost me and I will return the deposit when they give the unit back, they seemed happy with the idea. This is an excellent way to increase coverage, you will get one extra customer and hopefully a few more who are within range of the unit. By using this method each time I loan a unit I can use that money to buy another one so I can have hundreds of units working building coverage and it won't cost me more than £50 ($100)!

May 2012

I am still really busy and have only had time to put up the brackets at the new site, I have everything I need now except time! I have had a few more customers and lots of people using the free hour per day access. I have been doing lots of business networking trying to get local businesses on board and most seem really interested and I keep getting invited to networking events, I think the time is just right now for this business as people are starting to realise the advantages of a citywide wifi network. I am at that difficult point of starting a business where it is not bringing in enough money yet to stop working a regular job which means I don't have enough spare time to put into the business to really push it forward, I am considering getting a loan so I can use that money to pay bills so I can take a month off work to concentrate on building the wifi network.

June 2012

I moved house twice this month so been very busy and had no time to do anything else.

July 2012

Still not much progress in getting more units up, I am still working full time and the little spare time I have seems to be taken up with chores. I am getting a little frustrated to be honest, when I do have spare time either the weather is too bad to be outside installing units or I can't get in touch with people or there is some family/social event I have to attend. My advice to anyone considering a similar project is that you need a decent amount of start up cash, lots of free time and no family or friends!

Mid July 2012

Ok, so I'm a bit more positive than I was in my last post, I have managed to get a small cash advance, not enough to take time off work but enough for about another 10 or 15 units. I also managed to install another unit on a friends house who only lives a few doors down from the main backhaul unit, they suggested I could put one there, I wasn't sure if it was really worth it as it was so close to the main unit but I had all the equipment sitting in my house gathering dust & not making any money and as it only cost me a few hours of my time I thought I would install it anyway. The next day someone signed up for 90 days access from the new unit!

August 2012

Another month and little progress. However it does look like I should be putting the equipment up at the new site next week which will be good. It will be interesting to see the usage trends as it is a different type of area, just off a main shopping street, not my ideal location as I doubt many people will whip out their credit card in the street to pay for access when they go to buy milk. However here in the UK most shop/stores have flats (apartments) above them which are usually lower in value and therefore rented out to people on lower than average incomes, my ideal customers. It will also add a second Gateway/Back haul to the network, although I don't think they will actually form a mesh as there is not currently a clear line of sight and they are 2.25km apart I will only need to add a few repeaters between them to get round large buildings so they will all connect to each other and the network will become much stronger as I will have two 40MB lines supporting the network and coverage area will be increased. Also the type of area will have a large number of people seeing the network so it will be good and free advertising too.

Mid August 2012

Finally got the unit up at the new site today! It was good to finally get it up but I think it could have been a bit higher to be honest. I just estimated the height it needed to be to be level with the roof tops of the surrounding buildings. I should have used a helium balloon and a long piece of string to measure the correct height. The pole is about 25ft in total, anything above that it would have needed guy wires and there isn't anywhere to attach them to. However as it is mainly a back haul unit I will be able to easily place a few more units on higher surrounding buildings to get good coverage. If you have read all of this diary you will remember I mentioned the bar across the street which I hoped to put a repeater unit on the roof, well they did have free WiFi there but don't anymore so I think if I can offer to add free wifi and/or free advertising it should be easier to get them to agree.

Just 2 days after installing the unit at the new site one person has used the free access! It took about 5 months and flyers last time to get people to start using it so it is encouraging news!

21 August 2012

Today the UK government regulator OFcom gave permission for one network provider to launch the first British 4G service. For those who don't know, 4G is fourth generation mobile service, first there was analogue, like a radio, then digital and then 3G also called mobile broadband and then there is 4G which basically provides wireless internet connection with speeds comparable to fibre. This is a concern for anyone running or planning on running a WiFi service like the one detailed in this guide.

However I knew this was coming and have researched how it has affected other WISP's (Wireless Internet Service Providers) where 4G already exists. The general consensus is that you can't ignore it but it isn't a major issue. I don't have all the details about the 4G service or plans here yet but will detail more soon.

September 2012

The new site is going well, as it is opposite a bar there are lots of people using it, not many paying as expected but works really well as advertising. Also the bar owner contacted me and asked if they could advertise the wifi service in their bar! So getting a few units on their building to boost coverage shouldn't be to much trouble now especially as it will benefit them too.

October 2012

Well this month has not been good. Firstly there has been a problem with the internet connection which supports the system and the company I use to supply equipment and handle user accounts/payments has merged with a similar company and the structure/service provided has changed, I fear for the worse. I will post more detailed info later when I have more time.

Also mobile 4G will be here in the UK sooner than expected however with a lot of controversy between the major mobile operators which will hopefully slow its introduction and increase costs which will benefit WISP's

November 2012

OK, firstly I'll talk about 4G. Only one mobile operator is currently offering 4G services almost as a test I think. There will be an auction for the 4G radio spectrum later this year which means the other operators will be bidding and competing for it, it is not expected to cost as much as the 3G spectrum which most operators believe they paid too much for, however it is an auction so no one knows really. The good things about 4G (for a WISP) is that it is NOT unlimited and it is fairly expensive ($70 a month for 5GB) and it seems to be aimed at the mobile market. Also when reading comments on news stories about 4G most people say they just want a decent 3G service and are not too bothered about 4G, this is of course not an accurate measurement but it gives you an idea to the levels of demand for this service.

This month has not been good, there was a problem with one internet connection which served lots of customers, it took about 3 weeks to fix and then the company I use who supply equipment and handle users accounts has merged with another company and despite assurances that 'nothing would change' everything has changed. After they merged users could not get online and the new company says they can't help until I get a contract with them which can't happen until January! They will no longer offer to support my system on a revenue share basis, I must now pay a monthly fee and keep 100% of the revenue. This is good if you have lots of customers as you will make more money but when you only have a small network with a limited number of customers it is an extra expense. I am considering finding another company but this might mean getting new equipment and re-installations or even doing it by myself by finding some good WiFi hotspot software, this way I could just reprogramme the equipment I have installed. I am still weighing up my options.

Diary 2013

January 2013

Happy New Year!

New year, new start.
I have decided to go it alone, not because I really want to but because by using a 'billing partner' the costs have become too high. I have found a new system which is very simliar to the one provided by my billing partner except the new system is free to use. I can still charge customers for access, view usage and real time feedback on each node.

You can buy equipment with the firmware (like software) already installed for as little as $55 per unit, enter a few configuration details and your network is up and running! The best part is that other equipment is supported including Engenius products which I have in my network. I can just flash my existing installed equipment with the new firmware and then use it on the new system. I can do this from the ground using the PoE/ethernet cable so no access issues. I will do this in the next few days and post the results.

I have just successfully flashed my Engenius 2611 units with the new firmware and they are working well and checking into the dashboard where I can see node details and they are meshing together well with good speeds. As this is becoming more technical I will do a glossary of the terminology used soon.

The new system, as with most simliar systems consists of three parts.

The physical equipment - Professional high power WiFi router/ Access point

Firmware - Like software which is installed on the equipment

Dashboard/Controller - Centralised system management. This is where you can view & edit the entire network, network activity, set user speeds, edit splash page, set up paid for access and more.

The new system uses 'Open-mesh' firmware and 'Cloudtrax' for the dashboard/controller. I am using the existing equipment I have already installed.

The benefit of this system is that you can buy the equipment from with the firmware already installed, you just put a few details from the router into and turn it on and you have a working WiFi network! Cloudtrax is free to use which mean you can just buy the router for $55 and there are no other costs! All the money you make from selling access is yours, minus the 2-3% fee taken by Paypal but this means you can take credit card payments and it's all automatic so you don't have to do anything!

Also if like me you already have equipment then you can flash it with the open-mesh firmware. Most equipment which uses an Atheros chip can be flashed with the open-mesh firmware, there are lists of supported devices online and the forums will often tell you if your device will work or not.

I will list the sites for more detail as they have good tutorials and explanations. (More technical for advanced users, otherwise you only need the two links above)

End of January 2013

It has been about 20 days since I switched to the new system and so far everything seems to be working well, no phone calls or emails from customers with problems. I will put a link at the bottom of this section showing the Cloudtrax dashboard so you can see a real live Cloudtrax network in real time with node details/users/data usage etc.

Now that I am happy with the new system I really want to push it forward and have a plan to cover a run down local shopping/commercial area with free WiFi, I don't expect to make much money from it but I feel it will be an excellent form of advertising for my WiFi network as it will be seen and used by lots of people, hundreds hopefully. I am going to talk to the local shop owners and see if they are prepared to share some of their internet connections or have a repeater unit on their shop. I don't want to pay for another internet connection as most people will just be using the free service, I might get a few subscriptions but not enough to make it worth paying another $100 a month. Some of the bars there already have free WiFi so I'm hoping they will understand the benefits. I'm planning on going down and talking to them soon so will post the results of how it goes.

February 2013

I went and spoke to the shopkeepers in the shopping area I mentioned above and most seemed happy with the idea, some didn't even ask many questions, they just said go ahead! Obviously I need an internet connection, more than one really and some of the shopkeepers said they would let me use their's but it was really slow, around 3MB and for that reason they said no. A few other seemed happy but just wanted some more info or needed to speak to the boss/owner. Genrally though I feel it went well and plan on starting the installations soon.

April 2013

There isn't much change since my last post, partly due to the bad weather but mostly due to a lack of funds and finding places to install more equipment. I actually have about 5 units sitting in storage but no site to put them, yet. As for the shopping area plan I mentioned in the Feb/2013 post the main problem is the slow speeds in that area, the businesses liked the idea but were not prepared to share their 3MB connection and to be honest it would be very slow and probably do more harm that good to the WiFi business due to the poor speed. I didn't really expect that many people to pay for it either and I need to concentrate on getting more money coming into the business to expand it. I think I will wait until fibre is installed in that area and then go for it.

Although nothing physical has changed I have been learning a lot more and talking to telecom companies, one which supplies 'leased lines', these are very expensive, maybe $1000 a month for 10MB. At first this sounds bad but when they told me that Amazon only use a 100MB leased line you can start to understand the difference. This speed is guaranteed, a direct link between the socket at the property where it is installed and the telephone exchange, is is not shared.

When talking about standard internet connections that you get at home there is something called 'Contention' or 'Contention ratio'.

For example there are 50 houses in your street and every house has an 'upto 50MB' line, this actually means 50Mb SHARED between those 50 houses! So if everyone is online at the same time you are really only getting 1MB! Ratios are usually 20:1 or 50:1, the cheaper the deal the higher that ratio. Here in the UK we have an ISP offering internet connections for £2.99 ($4.55) a month for 'upto 16MB' speed, sounds good right? Well the lower the price the more people you are sharing it with, 16MB between 20 people streaming HD isn't that great really!

So when planning a large WiFi network with 10 Fibre/ADSL gateways at $50 a month each with 10MB download speed ($500 for 100MB) is in reality $500 for maybe just 5MB! So it might just be better to go for a $1000 leased line for a guaranteed 10MB connection.

May 2013

All I have done this month is replace one gateway/backhaul from an Engenius 2611p to the new Open-Mesh OM2P router which is N wireless and has double the processor speed and RAM. It has only been a few days but it looks good, meshing well with the other Engenius units with a mesh speed of about 45 Mbps. I only had time to check it was working and didn't do any extensive testing but since I haven't had any phone calls or emails from customers (no news is good news!) I assume all is well with the system.

August 2013

If you notice a gap between May and August and wonder what's going on, well nothing much really which is why I haven't updated.

Ok, so August 2013. The only real news to report is that I had a customer who couldn't get a good signal and asked about the repeater so I popped round with an Open-Mesh OM2P and, unlike the Engenius products meshed in a matter minutes (with the other OM2P which is the Gateway/Backhaul)! When using the Engenius products before I would be at a customers house for about an hour resetting and restarting the units until they connected and sometime even when they did it was a pretty poor connection. The OM2P connected straight away with a really good speed, I was in and out in five minutes!

Diary 2014

Sorry this has not been updated much recently but to be honest, not much has really changed since the last update.

Diary 2015

Happy new year, again! Wow the time really does fly, it has been almost four and half years since I started this venture and I have learned a lot in that time!

Again I'm afraid I don't have a huge amount of new information to add, things are still pretty much the same, ticking along. As I predicted the introduction of 4G hasn't affected the WiFi business too much, mobile data is still expensive and people will always want to use the Internet as cheaply as possible. Also the huge rise in popularity of tables, many of which are WiFi enabled only (they can't access the Internet via mobile/cellular networks) has been a real boost for anyone running a WiFi hotspot business. In fact just after Christmas when lots of people got a table as a present I noticed a rise in the WiFi network usage and more revenue.

I also received a comment on one of my pages about monetizing a free WiFi hotspot by showing the user a short 20- 30 second video after they connect to the network, like they have on YouTube videos. I really think this is a good idea and will investigate some options, basically provide free WiFi and earn money from it!

I have also been looking in to Social WiFi which is a method to use free WiFi hotspots to boost a companies online/social profile and have done a little write up here.

5Ghz Backhaul / Point To Point / Point to Multipoint Link

I hope that after reading this you are familiar with 'meshing', you have one unit connected to the internet (gateway/backhaul) and then another unit which just needs power which connects to the main unit (repeater) to increase coverage. This is what I use and it is great but it does have limitations, the distance between each unit is maybe just a few hundred meters, you can add more repeaters but each 'hop' (when the signal goes from one unit to the next) reduces the speed by half. So as an example, your gateway is connected to a 100Mb line, the first 'hop' will drop your speed to 50Mb, then 25MB, then 12.5MB and then just 6.25Mb and even then with interference from other radio signals it will probably be pretty useless. And if one unit in the chain fails or is switched off all the other units after it will fail.

So how do we get a link 1km or 2 km away without using loads of repeaters? We use 5Ghz point to point (PTP) links. WiFi uses the 2.4 Ghz frequency which is used by many other devices (cordless phones, cordless keyboards, cordless CCTV and microwave ovens) and therefore is subject to A lot of interference. The 2.4 Ghz is absorbed by water which is how microwaves work, they heat the water in the food, the 2.4 Ghz is absorbed by rain and snow. There have been cases where city WiFi networks were installed in the winter, worked fine and then when the leaves starting growing on the trees again in the spring the water in the leaves absorbed the signal and the system crashed! The 5Ghz spectrum is not so badly affected by water and is not so widely used so it is much better for providing back hauls. Obviously you will need two 5Ghz units, one 5Ghz unit connected to the internet and another one at the other end connected to a 2.4Ghz unit so people can connect to the network as normal. (I will post diagram below). By using 5Ghz you can get a link 1km away with just two 5Ghz units instead of five or six 2.4Ghz units 200 meters apart.

To get the range each 5Ghz unit needs to be pointing directly (using internal or external directional antennas) at each other so if you want 360 degree coverage you will need 3 or 4 units mounted on one pole. So when you want to bring coverage to another site 1 or 2 km away you just put up another 5Ghz unit on the roof and point it at the pole with the 3 or 4 units and run the cable down into the building connected to a 2.4Ghz unit in the building, job done

This unit from Ubiquiti uses the 5Ghz frequency which is less congested than the 2.4Ghz WiFi frequency and the range is much better (up to 25km), it will go further but the speed and link quality will drop significantly. You will need two units to create a link (one at each end). Most devices cannot connect to 5Ghz range so you will need to connect it to a 2.4Ghz unit like the Engenius EOC1650/EOC2611 or Open Mesh OM2P. I have not used this yet but will do on my next install and post results. I have however only seen good reviews online and had it recommended by other WiFi professionals.

If high speed internet is available in a town a few Km away and you can get a good clear light of sight (no obstructions in the way) you could use two long range point to point wifi antennas to bring high speed internet to your town. Even if your town doesn't have phone lines (or power if using solar power) you could use this method to bring high speed Internet and sell access to residents/businesses and local authorities and make some serious cash! The setup costs can be pretty low.

Open-Mesh OM2P WiFi Router 802.11g/n

This is the equipment from the new system Open-Mesh/Cloudtrax. I have been testing a few units and the performance seems very good compared to similar higher priced products, the signal is strong & meshing speed between nodes can be more than 20MB, there is no need for any technical knowledge, just some set up but there are very good guides from the website. The units are much smaller but have have twice the processor speed & RAM of the Engenius 1650/2611 but at a lower price. Each unit can be a Gateway or repeater, you can move units around and just add more as you need them. It supports PoE (Power over ethernet for outside installations or multi gateway networks.) The unit comes pre flashed with the open mesh firmware, just add it to the Cloudtrax dashboard and your network is up and running in minutes!

I have written a more detailed page about the Open-Mesh Routers here.


Open-Mesh Router OM2P Indoor and Outdoor Housing

Indoor and outdoor enclosures are available but not required, however the outdoor enclosure is needed if the unit is used outside to protect it from rain & moisture. The indoor unit covers the plug socket and hides the unit to make it look neat and tidy and to prevent theft. The unit has two fittings so it can be fixed to a wall or ceiling without the enclosures.

How To Flash a Open-Mesh/Cloudtrax Enabled Device with Open-Mesh Firmware

As I mentioned earlier how the company I was using merged with another company and changed their payment/pricing structure putting me in a difficult position I decided to ditch them and do everything myself. This is when I started using the Cloudtrax WiFi hotspot/network management system, as all my equipment had the old company's firmware on it I had to install the new 'open mesh' firmware on all the routers. It took me a while to learn how to do everything but once I got the hang of it flashing equipment only took me a few minutes. I have made a 'how to' video for anyone else wanting to install Open-Mesh firmware on a supported router. If like me your equipment is installed on a rooftop or tower you can flash it from the ground via the ethernet cable. This video will show you how to put the open-mesh firmware on Open-Mesh/Cloudtrax enabled device including Open Mesh, OMP1, OM2P routers (If you wish to upgrade or downgrade current firmware), FON, La Fonera (2100), Engenius, EOC-1650, EOC-2610, EOC-2610p, Engenius, 3660, Dlink, DIR-300 (after installing a reflash-enabled redboot), Ubiquiti, Pico2 & HP, UniAppliance Colibrì (UniData) & other Atheros chip based wifi routers.

This is useful if you already have some equipment, installed or in storage you may be able to re flash it with the Open-Mesh firmware and use it on your Cloudtrax network without having to buy any more equipment.

How to Crimp / Termintate Ethernet Cable / Add Connector

You will need to learn how to do this if installing units yourself as you will probably have to run cable through walls and floors and cannot really do that with the plug on the end. Also you will probably not know how long the cable needs to be before you start the install so cannot buy pre terminated cable. It only took me an evening to perfect it.

Have You Created a WiFi Network?

Have You Ever Set Up a WiFi Network?

  • Yes, Just in my home for personal use
  • Yes, At my work or business on a small scale
  • Yes, At my work or business on a large scale
  • Yes, Professionally on a large scale like a Hotel/College or RV park
  • Yes, A large or small community WiFi network
  • Yes, A small WiFi network for profit
  • Yes, A large WiFi network for profit
  • Yes, A citywide WiFi network for profit
  • Never!
See results without voting

© 2013 SpaceShanty

More by this Author

Do You Have a Question? Please post it here and I will do my best to give an answer 125 comments

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 4 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Sanjay, This guide is over 10,000 words, please read it throughout and I will be happy to answer any specific questions you have. Thanks

Sanjay Mishra 5 months ago

I am also interested in installing this system at my village in Bihar.

Pl advise further

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 6 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Afe, Starting a project like this is not easy but if you start small you will begin to learn quickly and then you will be able to scale the network.

Firstly you will need to find an ISP which allows resale of service, look for business Internet providers, the best one you can afford, ideally one that offers an 'uncontended' or 1:1 service.

Satellite broadband is always a possibility but from the research I have done it is usually slow and expensive, but you should research this for yourself as it may have improved recently.

Afe 6 months ago

I am very interested in this, I am tech savvy but don't know much about networking. My problem starts from the the top so I am getting a little discouraged already. How do I find an ISP to use? Is it possible to find a global ISP powered by satelites? Please my email is Don't blame me if my question is vague, like I said earlier I am not grounded on networking but I am extremely interested in setting a hotspot with 1km coverage. Pls email me so I can ask more.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 6 months ago from United Kingdom Author

John, I recommend using the Cloudtrax system as it incorporates Paypal or you can take payment in another form and create access vouchers/codes for customers.

John 8 months ago

Sir, please give me ideas about billing system to your costumer

I already have a Ptp connection 1000m link, an i confused how to set the limit?

The software you use?

And how it updated?

**Thanks in advance

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 14 months ago from United Kingdom Author


You can use your single 1:1 50mb connection from a single point. If you have a customer 1km away you can use 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz Point to Point link which is different from using repeaters. Point to point links will only lose a small about of speed unlike meshing or each hop which cuts the speed in half.

acjnas 14 months ago

Your article has been really helpfull.

I am very concern about the size of the mesh; you mention it was a better idea to have a strong 1:1 internet connection rather than many 1:50. (for economic and performance resons)

Well... if I choose 1:1 high speed, then the size of the mesh Can not get any bigger than 200 square meters. If I want to go beyond, speed will cut in half per each hop. Not to mention that you shouldtn add more than 5 repeaters on each gateway

Lets say that I have an internet service of 50mb 1:1 (you mention amazon uses 100mb) then I can Only expect to offer service to 200 square meters. In my case there are 2 houses every 200 suare meters. So in summary I will only have two potential customers.

This approach will make me lose money since I cant go over 200 meters with my 50mb 1:1 internet connection, without the speed being reduce by 50% on every hop

This is very very dissapointing, since I was expecting to cover at least 1km , basic math will tell me that I need 5 gateways, which means 5 diffrente internet contracts to an ISP.

I read on the open mesh website an example with a big hotel that endup with about 50-60 repeaters to cober wifi in its building, basic math will say that they also needed to pay for at least 10 extra gateways.

Am I missing something here or I can conclude that one open-mesh network is limited to only 1 gateway + 5 hops and 200 - 300 mets coverage range.

Or to put it in other terms, when using open-mesh my 50mb 1:1 internet conection can't reach any further than 300 meters without loosing the speed by half on every hop

Thank you very much for your orientation.

I am only interested in the 2.4gh frequency.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 15 months ago from United Kingdom Author

sriram rajj,

Thank you so much for your kind words!

Your idea sounds good, everyone wants faster internet! The ubiquiti UAP-LR is a good piece of equipment. If you want to use it with the Cloudtrax system you will just need to flash it with the Open-Mesh firmware. I think the Ubiquiti UAP-LR is supported but please check before buying it.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 15 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi, Could you please post your questions here so everyone can benefit from the answers. Thanks

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 15 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi, A project of this size will take a huge amount of planning (site surveys, negotiations with utilities/local authorities, testing, staff). I can help with specific questions but cannot provide "full details" as this would be weeks worth of work.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 15 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi, the average outdoor range of wifi is about 100M so you will need a unit every 100M, you can use repeaters but you cannot repeat the signal more than 3 times without loosing speed and quality. You will need to add a gateway/backhaul unit at your house, then 300m away, then 600m and 900m with 2 repeaters in between each gateway .

Kamal yadav 15 months ago

I am planning to start a Internet service provider only with Wi-Fi connectivity in my town, town size will be around 50km radios, is it possible if yes what are req for this need full details on it....basics idea is that users can use my service with smart phones and tablets and laptops with their I'd and password.... please help i really appreciate on my email id -

Mukesh Beniwal 15 months ago


I m Mukesh Beniwal from Haryana India. I want to create small hotspot wifi zone in my village that cover 1000m area from my home. So any customer connect with wifi and use internet. So any one can help me what i do for this.

Frain 15 months ago

This thing helped me. I am going for this project in my town. However I need some help. My email is Thank you sir.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 15 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi, The Cloudtrax system allows you to set the number of devices that can be used on a single subscription.

ahmad 16 months ago

hi ,

thank you for sharing your adventure.

I want to build a city-wide WiFi and ask if there the it's possible to give the customer a WiFi repeater that creates a new , private access point!

so the customer can connect many devices for paying just for one subscription .

thank you again :)

sriram rajj 16 months ago

Dear space shanty,

Right from the bottom of my heart a big salute to the great research work done by you, Its truly inspirational,thought provoking and like a lighthouse for those who want to really work in this WiFi sector.I got this thought only 9 months back and when researching i found your page,its really worth reading it again and again.

Now i want to start my project in my home town and near by villages in Andhrapradesh,India.actually here the people are provided with 2G data service but charging them for the 3G service as there is no service for the 3G,people are forced to use 2G paying for plan is to avoid that usage of data plan proving WiFi services at affordable price and good speed .I have gone through many products to set but as for availability ,service and more over supporting of cloudtrax i prefer to choose ubiquity UAP-LR(PLEASE GIVE YOUR SUGGESTION ON THIS SELECTION ALSO SUGGEST THE FIRMWARE TO BE LOADED IN ORDER TO USE CLOUDTRAX).I found that All Open-Mesh models support OpenWRT(DOES THIS openWRT SUPPORT CLOUD TRAX)waiting eagerly for your replay,A big thanks for your post and proud to say iam fan of you.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 17 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Ankush Bhimanwar,

Hi, It depends on the size of the area you wish to cover. If it is more than 1000m in diameter then yes a sector antenna in the center would be ideal using 5Ghz radios to create links to 2.4Ghz wifi hotspot zones.

The antenna in the listing will work (I have used it myself) but there is a maximum range of WiFi for mobile devices is only about 100 feet so you will need a unit with an antenna approx. 200 -300 feet apart.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 17 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Abhishek Agarwal,

Hi, this looks very interesting, I have sent you an email. Thanks

Abhishek Agarwal profile image

Abhishek Agarwal 17 months ago

hi .

i am not a technician in this field. but 2 year ago.. here in INDIA .an ISP company tulip telecom. setup a tower for providing internet service to client at my roof.. now company declared him insolvent.. now i have a tower..and most of equipment..i am also enthusiastic for setup the wifi hotspot business.. i think. you can help me.. i searched over information. than i read your blog.. if u ask . i give you .. devices photo.. you tell me which type of antena and router are they. how can i setup...


Ankush Bhimanwar 17 months ago

Hay Shanty...

I am planning to create a network for ISP purpose so can I really make this much big network with the help of 3 sector antenna at the center of the area only????

Or I need to make more efforts on to it???

N other question is how much are can I cover with the given device bellowed"...

" "

My major target customers will be mobile users so can u help me suggesting on it.....

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 17 months ago from United Kingdom Author


1. The range of WiFi depends on many factors such as buildings, materials used for buildings (wood/concrete/stucco/steel/glass), interference from other wireless devices, moisture in the atmosphere. For example at a campsite or RV park you might be able to use just 3 units for a 400m area, in an urban area you might need 10 or more. Sometimes you just have to test, use one and add more if there are 'dead spots'.

2. Engenius & Ubiquiti are both good value with solid performance.

3. Again I will refer to question 1 but the average range is 100 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors.

4. A gateway is the unit directly connected to the Internet. You can mount it on a tower for the best range and coverage.

5. A clear line of sight depends on the terrain, if there are no buildings or trees on a flat piece of land the unit could just be a few fet off the ground, in an urban area the two units will need to be able to 'see' each other, in your case 34m.

6. Again refer to question 1 but I would recommend a repeater every 100 meters max. But try not to have more than 2 or 3 'hops' as you will lose half of the speed with each 'hop'.

7. The more Gateways the better.

8. Planning, testing, time, money, advertising, checking there is demand, correct pricing and determination!

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 17 months ago from United Kingdom Author


Mikrotek is a good brand, just as with any other electronic equipment there are different brands and each person will have their own preference, I like Open-Mesh because it is good value for money and easy to use.

Yes mobile devices don't have so much power and a shorter range so you will need a WiFi unit within close range.

Point to Point is usually used to connect two points like two buildings, you can set it up so devices can use it between the two points but it is usually just used to connect those two points. As an example if you wanted to connect two buildings across a town, you can't run a cable across other people's houses but you can transmit a signal, think of it like an invisible cable. Usually for point to point you will use two directional antennas creating a narrow beam of signal between them. For a WiFi hotspot you will use omnidirectional antennas, the signal will be transmitted in all directions.

I hope this helps.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 17 months ago from United Kingdom Author

vishwajeet bhagwat,

Great to hear you have made this much progress! What software are you using?

vishwajeet bhagwat 17 months ago


i have setup a wifi hotspot for my village in india. in my village the average hight of buildings are about 3 storeys. i have put three sector antenna of 120 degrees on a 70feet tower and connected it to a dhcp server.

i have a lease line connection of 6mbps. i have also put software for providing hotspot on commercial basis in an area of around 5-7km radius.

but i don't know there is some problem in the system. i am not able to connect to the wifi. the login page is not opening.

can u please suggest me what i should do. or which equipments should i use or how should i connect and which all software should i use to provide hotspot.

akoposipong 17 months ago

Hi Spaceshanty

I appreciate really your page and very thankful that I landed here. I will definitely follow your page. I hope you will not feel bored as I have many questions in mind. I am planning to build a WISP in my neighbourhood around 100-200 meter radius, future ready for expansion. Are you aware of mikrotek routerboard? What's the difference between open mesh? I am in the process of choosing the right equipment.

Can I use an antenna as point to point while broadcasting wifi? I know this works inside home, but what I mean is in outdoor, your broadcasting a wifi where mobile can connect but theres a range right? because mobile power is limited. I want to use the same antenna while broadcasting wifi as point to point where repeater and that antenna can communicate outside the mobile range can.

Im a bit confused with the point to point link (far distance) and wifi ( short distance) and combination of this.

Thank you very much and more power to you.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 17 months ago from United Kingdom Author


I would suggest using a pair of point to point WiFi units. Search for "Ubiquiti NanoStation locoM2 2.4GHz Indoor/Outdoor airMax 8dBi CPE" on Amazon, they cost about $50 and you will need two plus some ethernet cable from your parents router to the unit.

To answer your other question "Can I use an old rooftop mounted antenna?" If you mean an old TV antenna, probably not. If you use two directional wifi roof mounted antenna, yes!

Chad Britten profile image

Chad Britten 17 months ago

Hey there,

I recently moved about 300+ feet from my parents in a rural setting. We have some trees in between our homes but other than that it's a straight shot. I was hoping to join their wifi connection but the signal only makes it halfway (to the middle of the yard). They have a Comcast AR-5381u router. It is an 802.11n (300Mbps) Wireless ADSL2+ router. Would love your advise and equipment suggestions about how to share their internet.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 18 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Sandeep,

This page was written as a guide to starting a WiFi hotspot business. Creating a CCTV system supported by WiFi is somewhat different as, I assume, it is not being created for profit.

I am happy to help in any way that I can but I have never worked on a project this large to be honest.

Can i ask what is your position within the party?


abhicraze 18 months ago

Hi Shanty,

Awesome Blog/Post.Thanks for in detail information.

This is Abhinav. I am pretty much interested in implementing the wifi-zone here in my town(3kmSquare). I have couple of clarifications needed from your end.

1. What/How I need to cover an Area of 400meters wide.

2. Do you recommend any other brand other than open-mesh. If so pls gimme details.

3. What is the coverage of a single repeater.

4. Is it mandatory to keep gateway for internet? Can I use Tower instead?

5. Could you pls tell me what is the max height to set a repeater to give a clear signal or clear of sight.Here in my town max is 3 floors(34meters).

6. I am thinking to start first with a area of 500 meters wide.How many repeaters and gateways are necessary?

7.What happens if i use lot of gateways/Towers.

8. What you personally recommend in starting business in a smooth way.



SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 18 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Omobulejo, No device (smartphone/laptop) will be able to use the WiFi at the school as the wifi card in the device will not be powerful enough. I suggest you use a point to point wifi link from the school to the area where the students are (5Ghz if there are lots of trees) with a directional antenna at both ends and then link the unit to a 2.4Ghz router.

As shown in the example here

Omobulejo Abiodun 18 months ago

I want to improve the WiFi signal my school with lots of trees for students living about 750m to 1km to receive good signals. I'm using Netkrom 300mbps AP with N connectors. Please which antenna can you recommend?

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 18 months ago from United Kingdom Author


The 481 is the firmware version, you will be able to see the firmware version each unit is running in the Cloudtrax dashboard.

Yes Cloudtrax is the management system, yes it manages the Open-Mesh devices or any AP with open-mesh firmware installed.

There is no limit to the number of devices that can be managed but 100 per network is advised, however you can just name each network like 'Jaipur WiFi Zone 1', Jaipur WiFi Zone 2' etc. and tick the box to allow vouchers to be used on all networks. This way users will be able to use the WiFi network regardless of which network they connect to.

A repeater is a unit which is not connected directly to an Internet connection. Each unit which is directly connected to an Internet connection is known as a Gateway or backhaul unit, a repeater unit only needs to be powered and it will connect to the Gateway unit increasing the WiFi coverage area.

Nitesh Mangal profile image

Nitesh Mangal 18 months ago from Jaipur, Rajasthan

Thanks for quick response...

So first i need to check routers with open mesh 481 or later compatibility?

Cloudtrax is only for managing devices. If am not wrong it manage the open mess devices.

Please tell the no of devices it can manage.

What do you mean by repeatets? Please....

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 18 months ago from United Kingdom Author


1. Yes you can install the open-mesh firmware on other routers.

2. Yes roaming is available between APs with 481 or later firmware.

3. Sorry I am not sure.

4. The range of WiFi depends on many factors, max. outdoor range of any AP is around 600ft

5. Since interference come from other devices using the same frequency there is not a lot you can do about it.

Nitesh Mangal profile image

Nitesh Mangal 18 months ago from Jaipur, Rajasthan


1. Is cloudtrax can use with other routers?

2. Is there any gap or it take time in obtainning ips when goes to other AP?

3. Is there any AP available which uses TDM, to increase the no of customers?

4. Max Range of AP cosidering interference.

5. How you overcome the interference?

Nitesh Mangal

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 18 months ago from United Kingdom Author


1. Think of the 5Ghz link like an invisible ethernet cable, if you have an internet connection at location A and you want Internet at location B then you can use a 5Ghz link. The 5Ghz link is not for users to connect to. In the above example you would connect a 2.4Ghz router to the 5Ghz unit at location B, then users would be able to connect to the 2.4Ghz router with smartphones/laptops etc.

2. I would suggest getting the best Internet connection you can afford. But it depends on how many users there will be, if only 10 users then just a 10Mb or 20Mb line might work. If you expect to have hundreds or thousands of users then you will probably need a leased line.

I would prefer it you posted questions/problems here so that others can benefit from the answers instead of replying in private.


Umar 18 months ago

1. In the diagram above where you were talking about the 5ghz backhaul solution, something is not clear to me.. so when i position the 2 stuffs 2km aparts... do devices around or within the 2km distance see the wifi network even as it is travelling in the 5ghz spectrum? because i want to know if i can just put the OM2 routers in between to convert the 5ghz to 2.4 ghz for normal devices to use..

2. what kind of internet connection should i go for? Lease connection or what? I am kind of lost in this part..

NB: Please do not be scared of my ignorance.. it's one of those things. and can i get your email so that i can reach you incase i get stuck or something.. thank you waiting for a reply

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SpaceShanty 19 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi, Yes. As they will be three separate networks you will just need to check the box in the Cloudtrax dashboard that allows users to use their voucher on all networks.

parag 19 months ago

hi.... thnx for very useful information.. i am setting-up wifi network in 3 villages near mumbai, india.

suppose 3 villages are A, B and C ( with same SSID ).. can a user from A use wifi connection in B or C ?..

Can i manage all 3 networks under same cloudetrax login.

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SpaceShanty 19 months ago from United Kingdom Author

kuehnfrog, I'm very happy with Open-Mesh for the cost, not had any problems. At $75 per unit and no other costs I can't complain.

kuehnfrog 19 months ago

I have been using open mesh for 5 years. I just don't have 100 percent faith in it. It's too flakey, too random. Do you wish you had used something else ?

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SpaceShanty 19 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi grwboy,

I'm glad you found this useful. The maximum range of WiFi is only about 100m outdoors so if you have WiFi routers on the top of each you will have a 300m 'dead spot' in the middle. If you want to provide coverage between the two buildings you will need more units, I would suggest 1 every 100m using repeaters. If each unit on each building is a Gateway/backhaul you will only have 2 or 3 hops on the repeaters.

To find locations for the repeaters you can see if any local businesses want to place a unit on their building, explain the benefits of joining/supporting a citywide WiFi network. Good luck, if you have any more questions feel free to ask.

grwboy 19 months ago


Thankyou so much , this information is so much helpful. I just want to know that I have two buildings in a small town and both of them are at same hight .. range is approximately 500m can I use both ends and provide this service on both side of the city? Please I need this info please recommend me some idea and pros and cons.

Contact id#

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SpaceShanty 19 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Alok,

I am happy to offer advice but I cannot design and plan a project for free which a company would charge thousands of dollars for, sorry!

Alok 20 months ago

Can any body give me the cost & equiment with proper layout plan of the following requirement???

An organization is spreaded over a 5 stored building, having 40 rooms, having 100 ft length and 40 ft breadth, with 300 employees. The average number of visitors to that office is approximately 2000 per day basis. The company wants to provide Wi-Fi campus for the employees as well as the visitors. Design a model with detail specifications of the

equipments to establish a Wi-Fi campus with approximate cost of each devices and cost expenses for the environment. Also draw a neat block diagram to show the layout of such structure. Mention the equipment, model, name of company, approximate cost, and justification in a tabular format.

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SpaceShanty 20 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Geri, You could simply place the OM2P router on or near the front window, then you will get coverage inside your cafe and outside. If you really want to cover a wide area outside I suggest you place another OM2P on the roof of your cafe or just on top of the frontage/signage.


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Geri Sejko 20 months ago from Saranda, Vlorë, Albania

Hey there

I wanna make a small area hotspot for begin like 100-150 meters around my Internet Cafe so do u think i need 1 or more OPM2 ..i will take the OPM2 out side and the area its clear no building no trees

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SpaceShanty 20 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Subrata, As you have probably read from this article I would suggest using Open-Mesh WiFi routers, they are easy to set up and good value for money.

subrata nath 20 months ago

I want to start a buiness.How to create a wifi hotspot zone up to 3-5 km and what kind of mechine i need to help me.

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SpaceShanty 21 months ago from United Kingdom Author


Thanks for you comment.

Berenger 21 months ago


You guys are very great.

What do I need to provide also videos (localy)?

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 21 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi AK,

As I have replied to other people on this page who are planning similar sized projects there are so many variables it is difficult to give an answer.

You say you you want to provide WiFi to 10,000 users and ask about the bandwidth needed, it depends on how much you want to give each user, 1MB, 10Mb or 100MB so you might need 10,000MB or 100,000MBs or more bandwidth. Each hop (each time the signal goes from one unit to another) will cut the speed in half so you must factor that in too, without visiting the area or doing a site survey I cannot give a realistic answer. The cost of the equipment will depend on the specifications you require, units can cost as little as $50 each right up to over $1000.

I wish I could help more.


SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 21 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Raj Kumar,

The cost depends on many factors, mostly the equipment you use. It could be as little as $1000 USD or anything up to $10,00 USD or more.

raj kumar 22 months ago

What cost may be apply on making aroud 1km wifi zone

AK 22 months ago

Hello , Sir

As i m planning to start WiFi broadband service in my village and neighboring Village i need help regarding which devices should i use , how much they will cost , how many users they will support. i want build WiFi broadband network for about 12 km radius , and about 10000 users. how much bandwidth i need ? how to distribute and security ? Area i want to build WiFi network is hill site area and little bit forest too, in some area there is big river too. i need help regarding how to set up ? devices needed , implementation , maintenance, distribution and security .

Looking forward for you guidance

thank you in advance

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SpaceShanty 22 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Pretty steady, not many changes to report really.

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SpaceShanty 22 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Sorry I do not have a video of a 2km area WiFi zone, I expect you could find something on Youtube.

Yes you can use the OM2P WiFi router and antenna anywhere in the world, you may just need an adapter for the power supply.

To install the router you just add the MAC address to the Cloudtrax dashboard, connect it to an Internet connection and power it on.

If you wish to install it outside you will need the outdoor enclosure.

Naga sai 22 months ago

how is your business now?

ankit jain 22 months ago

Really it's very help full but I want full video of setup wi fi hotspot zone 2 km area.

Can I use om2p PNP mini router and 12 v power us adapter in india and EAG-2408antena in indian village.

How can I install om2p router

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SpaceShanty 22 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Kardan Tec,

Maybe I am confused but you plan on using WIMAX/LTE to 5 or 2.4Ghz wifi AP and then back to 4G? I do not understand why you would want to convert it back to 4G. I would always try to reduce the number of radios and devices in the network as each time the connection is passed from one device to another you will lose speed and increase latency.

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SpaceShanty 22 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Kardan Tec,

If you are referring to the number of repeater per Gateway the recommended number is no more than 5 but through the use of a switch you could increase the number of Gateways and reduce the number of repeaters used. Cloudtrax do recommend that no more than 100 units are used per network but if you required more you could simply create multiple networks, eg 'City WiFi Zone 1' , 'City WiFi Zone 2', 'City WiFi Zone 3' and check the box in the Cloudtrax dashboard that allows voucher access to all networks. Users would just be able to connect to any unit in any network, or in the example given, any 'zone' without having to re-enter their code.

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SpaceShanty 22 months ago from United Kingdom Author

There is no upper limit, for instance the City of Belton, Texas uses the Open-Mesh system.

Kardan Tec 22 months ago

I have been told that open-mesh/Cloudtrax fails once you go over x amount of units can you tell if this is true ? or what is the most you have had on working at one time ?

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SpaceShanty 23 months ago from United Kingdom Author

rakesh kumar verma,

I am considering doing a step by step detailed video guide but it may be a while as I have lots of other commitments at the moment.

Rami 23 months ago

Thank you sharing this valuable information with the world.

rakesh kumar verma 23 months ago

i was in searche of these types of device, because i hadn't idea how can i create a 2km wifi hotspot for my town i get to know a little bet about it, i want full guide videos chating or video tutorials for creating my wifi hotspot kindly help me Admin

Kardan Tec 23 months ago

What is the most open mesh AP's using Cloudtrax have seen working with good rates ?

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SpaceShanty 23 months ago from United Kingdom Author


Open-Mesh provide hardware (routers) and firmware which runs on Open-Mesh and other brands of routers (Engenius/Ubiquiti/DLink and others with Atheros based chipsets). Cloudtrax is a web/browser based control system for WiFi networks with routers running open-mesh firmware.

To manage a WiFi network you just need to enter the MAC address of the router/s in your Cloudtrax dashboard. You can then control your entire WiFi network from any computer with a Internet connection.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 23 months ago from United Kingdom Author


I think there will be some interuption when a user moves out of range of one router and connects to another.

bcs 23 months ago

Are you providing seamless connectivity between two repeaters?

If so how do you connect two wifi repeaters?

Sotheara 23 months ago

I have gone through this page. All member here interested to launch a small WISP same as me. What I don't understand is what is the relation between Open-Mesh and CloudTrax. and how to manage devise on CloudTrax? and also is there an authentication avialable?


Kardan Tec 23 months ago

sorry location is -4.659544, 55.464209

backbone supplier spec

Kardan Tec 23 months ago

-4.659544, 55.464209 (location whole Island) Spaceshanty. I have looked into wimax and LTE A CoPM and think LTEA is going to be best but still not sure. 2600mhz MPTMP PICO BS, 1800mhz PTMP with tri-band drop down to 5Ghz/2.5 then on to AP creating 4G. That is what I would like to do but how to implement /deploy it is a very big exercise and expensive

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 23 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Mark,

I suggest you use 5Ghz point to point raidos to each main building, rooftop mounted and then run an etherent cable down in to each building to APs inside the building. Can you give me the location and I will take a look on google maps.


Mark 23 months ago

24km x 7 km area. 1Ghz Ka-band into earth station.. how do I deploy ? I need to provide up to 40mbps to customers and 100's to Government. can someone join me and help sort this out as I am not a fully qualified CTO

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SpaceShanty 23 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Sohel Rana Biswas,

For a project this size you will need more than 100 Access Points/routers and multiple high bandwidth Inernet connections. I suggest you use the open mesh routers as they only cost about $75 each but you can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on more expensive units. The cost for a project this size depends on many factors including terrain, access, bandwidth given to each user etc.

Sohel Rana Biswas 23 months ago

I am sohel rana biswas from west bengal , india . I create a wifi zone in my area range 10 km . please help me how many cost and equipment in create this wifi hotspot zone .

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SpaceShanty 24 months ago from United Kingdom Author

For 25,000 to 30,000 people you will need the fastest connection available, a leased line.

Pranav Kothari 24 months ago

Hi, it is very useful information for setup a wifi network in my town, I think I should start to create a free wifi for my villagers, and if palika not supports me, I think I have a chance to earn some money from this.

Pl. Suggest me, which type of Internet connection I should use ? There is about 25000-30000 population in my town.

Pl. Update your Dairy

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SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Bijay,

If you can upload the pictures to a site like and post the URLs here I will take a look.


Bijay eren sapkota 2 years ago

Hello, I am working on building a WIFI network for an area of 2 km. The area is sloppy and has lots of obstructions like tress and hills. As this is the first time i am working on something this huge, i don't know what types of devices will give me best outcome. The sad part is i am not a technical person. Moreover, i am working on behalf of an NGO so i would be thankful if you could give us ideas. I could send pictures of the area i want internet in if you could take a brief look before advising me. Thank you.!

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Chetan,

You can buy the equipment from Amazon, there are links on this page. Or from the Open-Mesh website.

The units start from $79.99 so this can be your total set up costs!

Chetan Deore profile image

Chetan Deore 2 years ago from Nasik (Nashik), India

Hi I am from India . Where can I get these instruments ? What will be cost to set up wifi

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SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

I'm happy to hear you read all of it and it was helpful!

I am sorry I have not updated it much recently, to be honest, not much has changed since the last update.

The Cloudtrax system I mention is really easy to use, even for non techicial people.

Albert Yaw Opoku 2 years ago

I have spent the last two hours reading your adventure!!! - I live in Ghana and have been researching the best way to set up city wide wi-fi in my community. I am not a technical person and yet your clear writing and simple language had given a deeper understanding on wi-fi networking. Kindly update the diary as I want to follow your progress.


Albert (

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Sharon,

Getting line of sight is difficult.

You can either try and raise the height of the units above the obstruction. Cut down the trees. Or use another third mast to 'go round' the obstruction.

The 900 MHz fequency is a good place to start.

If it is only trees you might have more success

SharonJavea 2 years ago

I'm in the process of setting up something very similar, via 15 towers/AP's and am having issues with line of sight, mainly due to trees - any suggestions that may help us would be greatly appreciated...

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hello, 'hi'

All of the Open-mesh eqipment is suitable for HD video. If by 'cctv for up to 10km' you mean you want to be able to view CCTV from 10km away wirelessly, I would suggest using a 5Ghz point to point (PTP) link.

hi 2 years ago

Plz I want to no which open mesh equipment is for hd video distribution & cctv for up to 10km

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Karlos, If you check out one of my other pages 'CloudTrax Open-Mesh WiFi Cloud Network Meshing System' I have included a video of mine showing how to install open-mesh firmware on an Engenius device so I know it can be done, and it would also mesh with a OM2 device.

I'm pretty sure you could install open-mesh firmware on the Natostation M2 but have not done it myself, I suggest you checkout the cloudtrax dev. site for more info

karlos 2 years ago

Thanks for the reply Shanty! Awesome startup WISP run down.

I have not seen one guide or post showing success when installing firmware NG on a non OM device...

Have you actually installed the latest NG on Engenius, what about Ubiquiti?

You mention:

"Most equipment which uses an Atheros chip can be flashed with the open-mesh firmware"

I would love more detail on this, (perhaps its just Eugenius?) as my experience shows you cannot just throw the NG firmware onto a Nanostation M2 (same chip and bootloader as the OM2P) - it won't let you...

I would love to mesh the OM2P with the Nanostation M2!

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

You can install the Open-Mesh firmware on a number of devices, including Ubiquiti and Engenius. However if you have a problem the site will ONLY be able to offer help/advice for Open-mesh OM2P/OM2-LC/OM2-HS routers.

Karlos 2 years ago

Hang on a minute, you mention the engenius range and the Ubiquiti range are supported by Cloudtrax NG firmware.

My understanding is it is ONLY the Open Mesh units with full support. I would love to install NG on a Ubiquiti Nanostation M2!

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Rob,

I'm verry happy to hear that this article has been of use to you and that you have actually setup a WiFi network with a decent amount of users. I would be very interested to see it (you could give me the network name via a private messsage so I could see it, the limited view option)

I know I haven't updated this article in a while, I have been really busy with other projects but will do soon. It would be great to also see the public network you are considering setting up. Would you create a new network or just extend the one at the hostel? If you just extended it your customers could benefit from their subscription outside of the hostel, giving the hostel more appeal and working as free advertising.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

All the best.

Rob 2 years ago

Hi Shanty,

Great blog I've read it back a few times. I have now setup 2 open mesh routers and the network is running great with around 45 users per day.

I was just wondering if you are planning to update your diary and progress?

The setup is have is in a backpackers hostel, I am considering setting up a public mesh network in my local town at the minute as this setup is so quite cheap and pretty simple to run.


SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

I do notice the pings sometimes go skyhigh but the next time a unit checks in (every 10 minutes) it goes back to normal, I think it may just be a glitch. Have you tested the network when the pings are high and noticed a drop in network performance? What download/upload speed do you give each user?

Chris 2 years ago

Hi i am also set up a cloudtrax mine has been running pretty good for about 6 months. i have about 30 customers on a 20mb connection normally everything is good. every so often i think somebody uses torrent download software and all my ping times in my dashboard go skyhigh up to 700 and it cripples my network. have you had this problem? got a fix?

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SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

I would suggest using Cloudtrax software, I have written another Hub about it here

Chetan Deore profile image

Chetan Deore 2 years ago from Nasik (Nashik), India

hi I am from Nashi Maharashtra India . I am intreaseted to set up Wifi hotspot and earn some money . right now started on small scale with dynaspot from one softwear egg. but i think with this there is some speed issue.

Please do provide me softwear base solution sao that i can go for prepaid wifi users and earn some money from them. i am plaining to setup wifi in my near by building so that more customers can be covered

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

I would use roof mounted gateways for meshing repeates in customer homes or anywhere else you can put a repeater unit. The trees can be a problem but by using a 5Ghz point to point link you can create another hotspot zone/area a few Km away from your Internet connection.

hemant 2 years ago


Its Semi Urban area and city is spread in a radius of 3.5 Km with linear surface means no mountains and not very tall buildings (Up to but trees may pose problems.


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SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

I would opt for fibre over ADSL, it is the best option if you cannot afford a leased line. What size of area are you trying to cover? And is it urban or rural?

Hemant Dhanorkar 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Hi Shanty,

you want to say That I'll have to take a 50MB Internet leased line or 50 MB broadband internet connection to serve 100 customers with 1Mbps bandwidth.

And yes as you asked We do have Fiber optic in our area.

Thanks for helping me.

hemant 2 years ago

Hi Shanty,

As I want to cover a City wide area I have decided to start a WISP business. But not sure about should I take Leased line (very expensive) or a Simple Broadband connection (with a permission to resell) for backhaul. As you said Leased line is far better compared to ADSL line can you tell me how to estimate how much bandwidth I would need to handle 100 users with each user having up to 1Mbps speed.

Thank you very much for sharing all this information.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi, Please explain your desired setup a little more.

If you want to provide WiFi for 500-1000 users you would need lots of AP (access points), maybe one for every 25 to 50 users. I mean there is equipment which says it can handle 1000 users but for gaming your going to get a massive lag. What speed is your internet connection? Even 1Mb per user you will need a 1GB line or combine a number of interent connection.

I would suggest using a switch and running an ethernet cable to each AP, and using equipment from Ubiquiti, Ruckus or Aruba.

Ostia Wifizone profile image

Ostia Wifizone 2 years ago

Hi, but if I wanted to create a gaming network with this, I could connect from 500 to 1,000 people conteporaneamente in a resort?

With a single point internet creating multiple nodes connected by an ethernet cable? Thank you.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi, I would suggest just buying one Open-Mesh OM2P router and a 8dBi antenna, place it in a good position where it will give the most coverage and do some promotion with flyers.

nagendra 2 years ago

hi sir

i am living in a small town in india, i completed my btech in electronics, i am planning to start wifi business, but i don't have any idea , i get only 2 mb speed internet in this area , suggest me something

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SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi, If you use the Cloudtrax system you can set the upload/download speeds for each user when they buy access, I would suggest 1Mb download speed, this means you could have 50 users on the network at the same time. Of course not all users will be online at the same time so you could have even more customers. You could then sell faster speeds for more money or they could 'upgrade', you would have to go and manually edit their voucher.

You could offer packages like

Basic - 1Mb

Fast - 5Mb

Superfast 10Mb

But remember if you give them a fast speed at first and you have lots of users their speed will drop which they will be unhappy about so I would start by giving them just 1Mb or 2Mb and see how popular it is.

Abdulrahman 2 years ago


Great post. We live in a small city, and we want to start a project like this. I have a lot of question and i hope thar you don't get bored with me.

If i have a net with 50 m speed, how many user i can support? Ill give them limited access, wuth limited speeds. Like 100mb with 64kbps. How can i calculate depenfing on what offers ill use. Is therd a simple rule gor that?

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Hemant,

When using the Cloudtrax system, users are issued with an access voucher which is just a code they type in to a box on the landing page. As users use Paypal to pay for access you create the access times and cost (1 hour/$1, 1 day/$5, 1 week/$15 etc.) for your landing page on the Paypal website which gives you a code you put in to your landing page. You then set the upload/download speeds on the Cloudtrax dashboard which is the default for all vouchers.

However, you can manually create and edit vouchers in the Cloudtrax dashboard. So if a user buys access and wants a faster speed you simply change the upload/dowload value for their voucher. Or they can pay you in cash or by card over the phone and you can tailor a voucher for their needs. (I will add a screen shot of the edit voucher page above)

Doing this is simple for just ten users but if you have hundreds it might get complicated, I would suggest offering a simple range like.

Basic (1 Hour - 1Mb Down/0.5Mb Up) - $1

Fast (1 Hour 10Mb Down/5Mb Up) $3

Superfast (1 Hour 20Mb Down/10 Mb Up) $5

Hemant 2 years ago

Hi, thanks a lot for sharing this valuable information.

I have a question, in this wifi Hotspot zone, how you give access to different users, Do you create user id for each user, and if you want to give different speed to different users and put a data limit on each users how do you achieve that.

For example in a area there are 10 users and each with different speed and different data usage limit, what hardware/software you need to do this thing.


SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

I started off using a billing partner here in the UK, they have now merged with another company called Airangel. I now don't use a billing partner, just Cloudtrax, which is free and I keep all the revenue.

brad 2 years ago

Which billing partner did you use?

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

If it is a 5 star hotel you will probably want a unit in each room which is wired to the router. Or at least one unit which is wired to the router for every three rooms. It is difficult to give an answer without seeing the hotel and its layout.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Please see the reply I have left for Harish sharma's question.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Covering an area of tis size will require lots of Gateways and repeaters, depending the terrain and types of buildlings, height of buildings. I would suggest placing a 5Ghz point to point unit on a rooftop in the center of the area you want to cover and then adding more 5HGz units to create multiple Gateways and add repeaters. The cost depends on equipment used, each unit can cost between $100 and $3000 each plus internet connections, antennas, cables and fixings. Simliar citywide networks have costs millions.

Harish sharma 2 years ago

Hello sir, first of all thanks for this amazing post. i want to setup a Wi-Fi hot spot in 1 km diameter circle of my town. i want my customers to receive my wifi signals like they receive cell phones signals in their home as well. so how much would it cost and how many repeater,routers and antennas will be needed. need ur help plzzzz contact me as soon as possible my id is . thxxxx

mohammad azhar 2 years ago

I have a big five star hotel building .want make wifi for all floor witch is the best for me building is g+5 long coredoor

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Muhammad Ali,

If you want to cover a 2km area with WiFi you will need lots of units, multiple Gateways and repeaters. I have tried to include as much information as possible but if you have any specific questions please ask. Each network setup will be different so a single guide is not really possible.

SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi, Is the bootloader locked?

jshah9 2 years ago


I am trying to install open-mesh firmware on my d-link600/300 and TP-link router but it does not work using ap51 utility.

Can you advise on how you did it in detail?

Muhammad Ali 2 years ago

i was in searche of these types of device, because i hadn't idea how can i create a 2km wifi hotspot for my town i get to know a little bet about it, i want full guide videos chating or video tutorials for creating my wifi hotspot kindly help me Admin /writer.....

contact id:

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