Last week we talked about using inexpensive Wi-Fi extenders to extend your home Wi-Fi signal to your shed. But what about other areas of the farm? A single, standard Wi-Fi network has a range of up to 100m line-of-sight. But with the latest technology and specialised antennas, this can go much further, in-fact distance of up to 10km are possible. You may need to get data to and from remote parts of the farm for:
- Remote fence monitoring or switching
Monitor individual paddocks or switch them on and off for maintenance
- Remote water level sensing
Monitor pumps, dams and troughs throughout the property
- Remote cameras
Keep an eye on specific places of interest
- Replacing phone signal in mobile black spots
Your phone can use Wi-Fi to make and receive calls and messages where Telstra won’t
Sometimes it’s worth doing the job properly and extending the Wi-Fi network to cover a larger area.
There are a number of companies, such as Agrinet (agrinet.com.au), that specialise in creating Wi-Fi networks covering entire farms. Although the initial outlay isn’t small, it may be cheaper than you think. Once the network is set-up there are no on-going costs, unlike the monthly costs of SIM cards – it’s your Wi-Fi network and the data can flow around it freely. Even if you don’t go with a whole-farm network, these specialists can also set up a short Wi-Fi link to save you time and hassle.
If you don’t want to do the whole farm and can get phone reception in the location you need Wi-Fi, you can use the cellular network by way of a Wi-Fi hotspot. In JVA Fence Station installations where the customer also has other equipment for the site like cameras, we use an inexpensive commercial hotspot to create a small Wi-Fi network around the station. Consider one that is unlocked to accept any SIM card. You will mostly be looking at the Telstra network, but keep in mind other providers like Aldi actually use the Telstra network and have lower-cost plans.
If you have cameras and want more than a few photos a day, you will be looking at data plans of 1GB per month or more, for around $30. But if you are just monitoring data like fences or water levels, we find the lowest 365 day plan from Aldi does the job for around $15 per year. Not bad for peace of mind!
NB Here at JVA we don’t endorse any particular sellers, retailers, products or services. We just tell you what has worked for us.