This topic comes up quite a bit in our day to day, so I would like to cover some things to consider in regards to transmission distance as it relates to our BuckEye Cam systems.
How far can the BuckEye Cam “actually” transmit? (this is probably the most asked question by far)…
Answer is: That depends. Seriously it does. Transmission range can literally be anywhere from 40 miles to 1/2.
Transmission distance and speed has a wide range of variables to consider but when you start breaking it all down in smaller bite size pieces it all starts to make sense.
First start with the terrain – is it hilly or flat or something in between?
Terrain plays a big role in how you want to set up a wireless system. Keeping in mind “the higher the better” you want to utilize high points to your advantage which can greatly increase the range by “going over” a lot of things that might decrease your transmission range.
What is the foliage like? Are there a lot of conifers (pines) or mainly hardwoods?
Anything that stays green year round is more difficult to transmit through (not impossible, just things to consider) as compared to hardwoods.
How many devices are you planning on using (cameras, feeders, controllers, etc)? The more devices you have, the larger the “wireless network” becomes which gives you more opportunities to “bounce” the signal (we call it repeating). Having the ability to repeat basically means you are really only limited by the last device on your system. Lets say your last camera is 3 miles from the base, you can easily add another camera and repeat off that last camera using it as a repeater. And since our system can handle up to 254 devices per base you can see how you could easily cover a lot of area very quickly.
Antennas: The standard antennas are the easiest to use and hide, extremely durable and work very well in most conditions. With that being said I cannot stress the importance of also knowing that a couple of key placed antenna upgrades can easily double or triple your transmission range. Keeping in mind when it comes to transmission – “the higher the better” – upgrading an antenna from the standard “dipole” to a high gain yagi with a 30′ cable (so you can get the antenna up higher) really makes a huge difference in the performance. So having the ability to upgrade antennas is a big deal when it comes to wireless device transmission.. Having experience in the field makes a huge difference so make sure you completely understand how the antennas work before you try and set up a system. I promise you it will safe you a lot of headache and time!
At the end of it all the easiest way (for us anyway) is to use google earth, plotting your device locations, your base location and then looking at the terrain to get a really good idea on what it is going to take to make your system work.