It is going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.
It is going to be interesting to see how this all plays out. I am not aware of any other camera manufacturer that actually designs, develops and MANUFACTURES their product in the United States. Seriously, some camera companies brag about how their cameras are made in China to save you money….. *cough* c u d d e b a c k *cough* Seriously what kind of backward BS is that? Claiming they are designed in the US – More like copied in the US…. But I digress… smart people know what I am talking about….
Moving forward, given the entirely new landscape and what is seemingly becoming a distaste for products being made in China. I wonder how that is going to affect all those companies having all their products manufactured in China.
Aside from the fact that the consumers are now seeking out and demanding products be made entirely in the US, I wonder how the supply chain is going to handle the transition? I wonder how those companies that are solely reliant on China for their everything are going to fare?
There are already tariffs plus limited shipping sizes and delays on cargo shipping. So one is going to assume that will cause a mass panic within the manufacturers attempting to retool and bring their manufacturing back in to the US to avoid the inevitable seen on the horizon.. The trade war already started a pause within the manufacturing sector and re-evaluate their positions in 2019
Fast forward to 1st quarter in 2020, add more tariffs, major shipping delays and then……. BAM! The Wuhan Virus comes in to play and sets everything on fire. We could debate the virus was a purpose set in motion to disrupt the economies in hopes that China would prevail on top…. But there is really no point at this point to…..
It’s obvious that going forward the trade between China and the US is going to see a dramatic change.
For the first time in 23 years, we have been contacted by several large companies to see if we would be interested in contract manufacturing for them. I would have taken in the work except what they are needing is not in our wheelhouse. We are however seeing more and more interest in having printed circuit boards actually manufactured in the US – We recently installed our first surface mount SMT Juki system in January to bring all our board production in house and also in hopes to be able to offer contract engineering and production services to other companies wanting to stay in the US for their everything. It was good timing on our part to walk out on the edge to better see what was coming……
All in all 2020 may be the year that America finally comes home. Finally pays up for true American made products.
Once you start using wireless cameras the very next thing you start wanting is to get out a little further, just over the next hill or maybe another mile or maybe 5.
So understanding how to increase your wireless signal strength all of the sudden becomes very important. This is also why we offer setups and installation services Nationwide. Not only will our techs get the maximum range but we will also train you as we go if you are interested!
So what can you do to increase your signal strength?
For starters make sure your system is operating at short ranges properly BEFORE you try and go long. This is a critical step not to be overlooked. When you are first setting up your wireless system always start with the closest camera and make sure it performs well before swinging for the fences and going long.
Signal strength in general has a lot of variables, but there are some key points to understand to insure you achieve the best signal strength for the longest period of time.
All connections should be clean and corrosion free
Make sure to tape all connections with a rubberized tape to waterproof
No breaks, chew marks, missing shielding and free of any damage
Install with a drip loop if possible
Secure cables down to avoid excessive movement and stress
Select the correct antenna for the application
Tape all connections to waterproof
Secure antenna to avoid excessive movement and stress
So with the basics covered, lets talk how to achieve better signal strength. Understand that with each and every setup you will encounter many different variables. Every setup with be different but if you understand how the signal works it may help you increase your signal strength and ultimately increase your range plus speed as well. With the BuckEye Cam Wireless system the signal test signal function is typically only used during setups and occasionally when you decide to test your signal, but for the most part once the system is up and running the test signal function is used very little. The test signal function is setup to quickly poll the network for the signal so it is always best to test the signal several times to insure accuracy of the signal reading. If you get a good signal reading on the first try you are more than likely good to move on. However a low signal or no signal on the first try only means you need to test the signal again BEFORE making any changes. Because the signal test is so quick it can be affected by network traffic. By that I mean if the camera network is really busy (sending a lot of pictures from another camera for example) it can affect the signal test. Think of it like getting a busy signal on a phone but rather than it saying busy it will just say no com. That is is why when you get a no com response you should always try and test the signal several more times.
If once you have established you are not getting a signal or just want to improve the signal reading, you have several options available. The first is always to upgrade your antennas. Keep in mind that with our system you are dealing with the antenna at the camera and also the antenna at the base.
My suggestion is to ALWAYS upgrade your base antenna first and the reason is because upgrading your base antenna will increase your signal strength across your entire network (not just one camera). So you get more bang for your buck by upgrading your base antenna first then upgrade the field units next. You can certainly upgrade both.
The typical rule of thumb when it comes to antennas is “the higher the better” – there are a small percentage of instances where this isn’t the case but for the most part “the higher the better”. Regardless of which antenna you are using the higher you can get it the better your signal will be.
This should include elevation advantages when possible. A well placed repeater on the “mountain top” can all of the sudden take your 2 mile range and make it into 20 miles on a single hop so keep that in mind.
We get this questions a lot. First the antenna must be matching the correct frequency. If you get the antennas from us – they match, no worries.
Yagi VS Omni
I’m not going to go into engineering specifics and complicate this so basically a Yagi type antenna is a directional style, meaning you point it in the direction you want your signal to go. The Omni type antenna has a 360 degree pattern so there is no “aiming” involved.
So if you are not sending and receiving from multiple directions (like a base does or a repeater would) than usually the yagi antenna is the preferred choice.
If you are sending and receiving from multiple points then the Omni antenna is the one to use.
Yagi antennas can have higher output (referred to as gain in dBi) than Omni type antenna.
The other aspect of the yagi which is often overlooked is they can eliminate interference or “noise” from outside sources. Since the yagi needs to be “aimed” they have a beam in which they transmit and receive. They also have “dead space” which can be used to quiet the interference by aiming the yagi in a way that still gets the signal out but also quiets the noise in the dead space. In the diagrahm below you can see the beam width and shape of a typical yagi. Within the red area is where the antenna can “hear” outside of the red area becomes more difficult for the antenna to pick up the signal. This is why the yagi needs to be “aimed”.
When working with yagi antennas, you really need to aim – test – move – aim – test move until you get the best signal possible. This needs to be done a in a slow and methodical fashion taking your time to make sure you have the best signal possible. Having coordinates helps to make sure you are pointing the yagi in the precise direction to start with. You might be surprised to find out the direction it needs to be pointed isn’t the direction you thought it might need to be.
In contrast the omni “hears” in a 360 degree pattern so you just need to get it up high – no aiming involved.
Cables Cables are probably more easily understood (and explained). If you are going to use a cable longer than 20′ you need to go with “low loss” cable. We use and call them 400 series cables, but they can have several different names.
When it comes to cables you just don’t want the length to be any longer than really necessary because you lose signal (dB) for every foot of cable. Rule for this is to keep the length within 10′ of what you really need. You can easily calculate your cable signal loss by using the 3.9 dB loss for every 100′ with 400 series cable. So if your antenna has a gain of 9 dBi and you are using a 40′ cable your net gain will be 7.44 dBi .
If add another 10′ of cable making it a 50′ cable and your net gain would be 7.05 dBi so you can see why you don’t want a bunch of extra cable. This doesn’t take in consideration each connection point but the measurables which you can control (antenna gain and cable length are the biggest factors)
Mounting So you have the right antenna and the correct cable now how do you mount it all? There are a multitude of ways to mount everything as long as the antenna is up as high as possible, aimed and secured you pretty much have it. There are antenna masts both stationary and mobile telescoping available to use but the key is getting the antenna secured and stable. If your mount is “swaying in the wind” or easily moved by mother nature you will experience less than stellar results, so make sure your mount is solid. Also keep in mind that you may need to service the antenna/cable every now and then so plan a method for this while you are at it. Also make sure that before your completely secure your antenna down that it is aimed correctly and you are receiving a good signal. Once you are getting a good signal, tighten everything down and verify you still have a good signal before you leave.
If you follow these tips it will surely improve the signal and will make your wireless system more enjoyable.
We commonly refer to it as repeating but what do we really mean? What is really happening and why would you ever want to repeat?
Repeating is necessary when your “signal” to the base directly may be poor or non existent. So you create a “hop” by repeating from one device to get the signal back to the base. In the example image below, Camera 2 is “Repeating” through Echo 3 back to the base. The advantages of repeating are that you can increase your coverage area and build a much larger network. The way the BuckEye Cam System repeats and handles the communication is probably a little different than you might expect. Naturally you would think that repeating would increase the transmission times significantly but you might be surprised to learn it really doesn’t. If it normally takes 17 seconds to transmit directly to the base you would expect it to take 34 seconds to add a single “hop” but because we considered that in our design in reality it will only take about 20 seconds (roughly adds about 20% per “hop”). So your transmission “distance” is really only limited to the last device on your network – you could literally repeat for miles and miles and miles.
Why is the transmit speed so important?
Rule of thumb is to limit the number of “hops” to as few as possible – “always best to go directly to the base”. We say this because as you build your network of devices (Cameras, Echos, Feeders, Controllers and so on) transmission times become very important and every second counts. In order for the network to stay agile and fast so you don’t end up with a continuous backlog of picture we take every possible advantage to insure we cut every second we can in the communication protocols. The faster the cameras can transmit means the quicker the camera can go back to “sleep” which means the longer the battery will last and battery life is extremely important.
As more and more companies come out and try to compete, my guess is you will see more and more companies find out quickly that true wireless communication is not as simple as they once thought. Then our BuckEye Cam features start quickly adding up and understanding the advanced protocol and engineering we are using becomes more prevalent.
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.