Wifi Booster And Security Cam Set-up

We have had a spate of burglaries on rural properties around here. Even our next door neighbour had a break-in and a car stolen recently , so we decided it was past time to upgrade our front gate security (at least).

We are also thinking about security doors and window screens in the future as some of these burglaries have been ‘aggravated’.

We already installed an Automatic Gate Opener (above) and a trail-cam type Security Camera some time ago (which we have had some interesting wildlife footage on (below) but we wanted something which would not suffer from flat batteries and which would seamlessly transfer the footage to remote (in this case cloud) storage which could not be compromised.

Since we installed the automatic gate we have had no nuisance visitors pretending to be looking for unknown people in our street (and etc) anyway, so it was clearly a deterrent as we used to often be pestered by such people.

This installation proved more difficult than I can now believe (days), so that I hope this post will smooth your own efforts somewhat. ‘Chinese’ instructions and the opaque nature of them can take a long while to unravel.

The first challenge was to get a wifi (computer/internet connection) to the front gate which is nearly 100 yards away. (You can do this with a long underground POE cable – Work!).

Fortunately people have been busying on inventing and improving wifi boosters or extenders so that they are reasonable readily available and affordable. I was getting 30 megs per second at the front gate this morning – about the same as I was getting in the house!

There is a bewildering array of such devices available but in our case (we have thirty acres) we wanted something which might potentially cover the entire farm.

An additional reason for doing this is that the mobile telephone coverage here is poor and likely to get worse when 3G is replaced with 5G next June. This has happened to us every time they have ‘improved’ the mobile phone ‘service’.

If we can make our wifi cover the entire property we will be able to utilise wifi calling to compensate for this. This phone ability allows you to make and receive your (mobile) calls over your internet connection. Most modern phones have this feature as an inbuilt (switchable) option.

There are a number of gadgets which will broadcast your (2.4 Ghz) wifi out to even 500+ metres omni-directionally (more in line of sight – as much as 5 kms! The record for direct beamed 2.4 Ghz wifi is 300+ km! believe it or not. Some of these may be only available from the US which might make their freight problematic.

I thought I would try one of the cheaper and more powerful units available locally  – as I wasn’t sure anyway whether the whole idea was just a gimmick or scam. It turns out it isn’t.

I have since learned that ACMA, Australia’s telecommunications regulatory body has a 4 watt (transmitter + antenna) limit on the signal from 2.4 Ghz devices (which is what long-distance wifi is). You can also use the 5 GHz band which is faster but does not propagate as far – which is normal the further up the spectrum you go.

The one I bought was the Wavlink AC1200 (Wing 12M) dual frequency one from Amazon for A$129 (July 2023) which purports to be 1 watt with 7  Db antennas, so perhaps close to 4 watts in total, unless they mean it is one watt in total. I suspect this will be adequate if you have up to about 5 acres. They also have a more powerful one (more than twice the voltage at least, and larger antennas) though for A$239 which claims a range of 2-300 metres. This one from the states claims 7oo yards.

Wavlink AC1200 mounted on J-Pole Fascia mount.

Wavlink ac1200

You will (probably) need to set it up as an AP (Access Point). There are four options (Router, Repeater, Mesh, Access Point) . You will probably need a telephone antenna ‘J’ Fascia Mount or the like (Bunnings approx A$58) and a longer POE (Power over Ethernet) extension cable to take the power supply to the antenna. (It comes with only a one metre one – The one metre POE will not be enough to get the signal from near to your router to the antenna (mount).).

Two of the eve mounts cut down and with new holes drilled in them can hold a 6 metre water pipe off your verandah post for greater height. I have done this for my 16 Db mobile telephone yagi antenna.

You can set the wifi channel you want to use so that it doesn’t not interfere with other users.

You will probably also need an ordinary (short) Ethernet cable to connect from your router to the device’s ‘switch’ connector. This ‘switch ‘ which is not waterproof (be warned) is supplied with 24v power from a 240v power supply. I have set it up temporarily inside the fascia as you see here.

‘Power’ switch:

It makes sense to place the switch near the router (perhaps indoors) and to run the POE cable from there to the top of the pole you mount the antenna on. Perhaps 6 metres or so above the ground – anyway higher than your roof and surrounding shrubbery. This is were mine will end up. At the moment it is on a J pole approx 3 metres above ground on the edge of the verandah while I await a couple of extra bits and pieces – and experiment.

I found the instructions for setting up this device and the wifi camera particularly opaque. I am probably not the greatest tech-head, so that the whole process took me in fact days to get working – but eventually I succeeded, so no doubt you can too. So many things now too are intended for mobile phone users rather than desktop computer users.

This Wavlink booster is giving us simply wonderful internet in the garden (approx one acre) and generally within 50 metres or so of the house (depending on vegetation) and some excellent signals out at 100 metres or more (15-25 megs per second). I have a higher antenna pole (6m) I can mount it to which will allow the signal to clear some of our (tree) obstructions. This should further improve the reception.

Also, I have ordered some 12 Db 2.4Ghz SMA (connector) antennas to further boost the signal (possibly above a legal threshold (at least) in urban areas). I am hopeful that this will get our signal out to the boundaries of the property –  otherwise I will buy a more powerful  transmitter (such as the one above) and put this one aside as a spare. May do so anyway as a spare is a good idea. I will definitely buy a spare camera anyway.

In the ‘Repeater’ or ‘Mesh’ modes I suspect you can have multiple of these Wavlink devices sprinkled around a larger property extending the wifi over hundreds or even thousands of acres. There are folks here (in Oz) who will build or supply just such a system for you (no doubt at considerable cost) eg Powertec, MWave, Scorptec, Spectrum etc.

You can also beam a wifi signal (up to 5km! eg from another ethernet port on your router) using a Yagi or like focused antenna to another house or out building without serious loss of speed. This might be very useful for a workshop, granny flat etc.

In addition I bought a Reolink Argus Eco solar powered wifi security camera (A$149) for the front gate (about 70 metres away). Now that I have this working it is beaming the video back to the modem and then onwards to a cloud server which I can access by computer or phone anywhere on earth. I can set it up so that I get notifications on my phone every time it is triggered (which would drive me crazy!)

Tip: You really need to set this camera up with a micro SD card and the App on your mobile phone and with a paid Cloud service as the ‘Client’ for Windows actually doesn’t have all the functionality promised, and the set-up will not work if you rely only on your Desktop. Once set up you can control and view it from the Desktop though. You set it up to overwrite the storage when it is full. I am recording 5 seconds of video every time it is triggered. When you look at the video you can take snapshots, zoom & etc if you want to get enlargements of faces, rego numbers etc.

One of the most difficult things was to get the camera to recognise its own QR code. Move the camera slowly inwards and outwards round and round with many delays. It will (eventually) do it.

I did upgrade the camera antenna with a more powerful one from an old router I had as I was having connectivity issues, however I suspect they were more to do with incorrect Wavlink settings now (‘Router’ versus ‘AP’ setting) and with vegetation in the line of sight. You can also set it up as a ‘Repeater’ (opaque) or a a ‘Mesh’) .

I mounted the camera and its solar charger on a piece of flat gal plate and attached it to another J-pole with brackets like this:

Reolink Argus Eco

Here it is looking at back at me:

Experiment until you get it right. Here is another solar powered wifi camera on Amazon which is even cheaper.

This camera can be accessed via our mobile phones. We can even talk to and hear ‘visitors’ at the gate before they are admitted. I think all these improvements to our security should ensure that unwanted visitors are never a problem in the future.

We soon learned why people believe in UFOs, ghosts, will’o’the wisps and such as the camera soon captured some pretty weird phenomena:


LoWaRa: is another way of long-range radio communication (for voice and data) . It is slower than wifi but has a longer range. The record at the moment is 300 km point-to-point! This is the system which ‘comes’ with ‘the internet of things’ which you may not have heard about  but which is just about the most sinister ‘communications’ development I have encountered.

You can hook up all sorts of things with this system (pumps, electric fences, gate controllers, etc) . A ‘mesh’ can be built covering a very large farm so that all sorts of devices can be linked and controlled remotely (but perhaps also from China!)

You can even now buy voice and data communicators utilising this technology which are very low power and might substitute for a satellite phone/messenger or UHF radio etc – though I will not be quitting either of mine anytime soon (nor my goTenna).

We have also been upgrading the physical fence and gates by extending the height of our electric fence. This was mainly to keep cats and large dogs and kangaroos from jumping over but I’m sure it will have a similar salutary effect on potential burglars.

This is what the front gate looks like now

Since being nearly frightened out of my wits during the first lock-down a couple of years ago now by having some lunatic tap on my study window just 18″ from where I was sitting at midnight (‘looking for a lost puppy’ – which proved to be true!) he having climbed over our locked gate nearly 100 metres away I had decided to make this somewhat more difficult anyway!

I have found that 12mm by 30 cm bolts can usefully and easily extend the 4′ height of the gate by another foot. Placing the electric wire at the top should deter all but the most foolhardy. We already have this electric fencing all around the farm to keep the stock in and foxes etc out so it was easy to do so it was easy to connect to that.

PS: The red circular object towards the right-hand end of the gate is an LED which flashes when the electric fence ‘clicks’. This will assure potential burglars that the fence really is electric without having to go to the trouble of peeing on it etc. I have them scattered around the farm to alert me to whether the fence has a short somewhere. I buy them from eBay for about $20 ea.

I have extended the height of the strainer posts with a 1 metre length of 40mm x 4mm gal angle to effectively raise the height of the fence to 5’6″. I have a bolt at the bottom right through the post and a four screws further up to secure it. Works well. This should deter all but the most agile kangaroos and large dogs – and I hope cats too (We are sick of them eating ‘our’ birds).

Mind you, since we fenced the foxes out we have had an ‘invasion’ and ‘explosion’ of possums and native rats (which are undermining our gardens) both of which have become a bit of a problem actually. There doesn’t seem to be enough raptors around anymore either (or wagtails), but far too many kookaburras (which are probably eating the wagtails etc), I suspect because people are feeding them. Subtle changes to the environment create such imbalances.

We believe we have had a large dog taking up to 20kg lambs from our paddocks over the last couple of years so when I have finished modifying all the gates (most likely how it was getting in) at least this should cease.

Sometimes we have a couple of kangaroos in the paddocks too. As there are two mobs of nearly fifty each on either side of us we certainly don’t want to become a kangaroo cafeteria, so we will extend the 5’6″ height all the way around the property when we have time. I have already bought the extra 2 metre fibreglass posts (which I use with my tree protectors) for that purpose.

I know the place will look a little like ‘Fort Knox’ (or ‘Fox Nought’ – as Della suggests) but we are not unfriendly people. Our phone number and name is at the front gate. Anyone who knows us or who has genuine business will be quite welcome. We normally only lock the gate of a night or when we are away.At other times people only have to press the button for admittance.

PS: This was my post from 3-08-2020: Some young people are crazy: in the middle of this pandemic, after ten o’clock last night a young man had climbed over our locked front gate ignoring the ‘Beware of the Dog’ sign, walked the fifty yards in the dark up our driveway then tapped on the window pane right next to me at my desk where I was working on my most recent post (A Moondarra Maelstrom) looking for a lost puppy! The night before someone had broken into a neighbouring property, stolen a car and done ‘wheelies’ all up and down the road! As a consequence of that I had mentioned to Della (and then to the young man) the desirability of having a loaded gun leaning up against the table at all times so one could fire a shot or two ‘over their bows’ so to speak just to get their attention! This young fellow was lucky I had not done so already as he gave me a very big shock I can tell you! I suspect it is not legal to use a firearm for this purpose anyway, so I had not. Our dogs did not bark as they and Della had gone to bed. Some help they are when you need them. No-one has climbed over our locked front gate since I installed it over ten years ago, and no-one has ever walked in to our house in the dark and knocked on the door in thirty years! I am not ready for a repetition of this experience I can tell you. We have not had a very restful night’s sleep. There will be an electric wire on the top of the gate next time he passes. PS: If he had read the Facebook message correctly about someone having found his lost puppy in our road he would have seen their contact details and not gone door to door in the dark frightening the life out of people. I mean climbing over a locked gate is breaking and entering, a serious enough crime. Multiple child-raising failures there in him I feel.


2 thoughts on “Wifi Booster And Security Cam Set-up”

  1. Well done. You cannot have enough security. Especially as you say you are having thefts close bye. It’s not some thing I need personally but it’s a good post to keep at hand in case friends of ours have problems in the future. Thanks for sharing your endeavour.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *