Building an outdoor network in a tough environment? Make sure the access points that you choose can handle the harsh demands of the outdoors.
One major consideration in deciding which products to use is their IP (Ingress Protection) rating. By knowing the product’s IP rating, you know whether your chosen access points can take the specific demands of your environment.
So, what exactly does an IP rating mean?
Understanding an IP Rating
Ingress means “the action of going in or entering.” For example, an ingress of dust means roughly that the product is “dust-tight.”
In IP ratings, the first number is how the materials resist solid objects getting into the housing; and the second number rates how well the device keeps water away from critical device components:
- IP65 – rated as dust tight and protected against water projected from a nozzle
- IP66 – rated as dust tight and protected against heavy seas or powerful jets of water
- IP67 – rated as dust tight and protected against immersion for 30 minutes at depths 150mm – 1000mm
- IP68 – rated as dust tight and protected against complete, continuous submersion in water
To decide what type of rating your desired device should have, keep in mind the factors of that environment.
When you think of environment, you may immediately consider its temperature first.
High temperatures can also affect your Internet connection. Heat can affect the access point by causing the expansion of the hardware. It also can melt the casing if it hasn’t been designed for high temperatures.
Likewise, extreme cold can alter the reliability of your wireless connection. The hardware can freeze. Or if the access point has ice covering it, you have to manually chip off the icing, and even then, you’re not guaranteed that the access point will work once again.
Not Just About the Temperature
When you think of a harsh environment, you may think of blistering heat or teeth-chattering cold. However, a tough environment is any that causes great wear and tear on your access point.
For example, dust, water, and high winds can significantly affect your access point and thereby, your signal.
When you place an access point in a dusty environment, such as a construction site or factory, you run the risk of causing the scattering of Wi-Fi signals. That means that the Wi-Fi signals will go in all different directions rather than solely in the desired direction.
If water enters an antenna, the RF path’s quality can be compromised. Areas in which there are constant rains, extreme humidity, snowstorms, or fog need access points that can tackle those risks. Water can infiltrate the access points, affect the connectors and transmission lines, and cause mechanical issues.
Moreover, water can refract waves, so it can affect the reliability of the connection.
Rain may also cause attenuation (weakening) of point-to-point links. If the access point is in an environment where tropical rains are constant or one of high humidity, attenuation values up to 30 dB are possible.
An Access Point That Excels in Tough Environments
Now that you know the value of an IP rating for access points and what to keep in mind when picking out an access point for your outdoor network, consider our EnGenius wireless outdoor access point.
The EnGenius ENH1350EXT combines a ruggedized IP67-rated enclosure with 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless speeds up to 1,300 Mbps. Plus, a GigE PoE-compatible port makes for easy placement where power outlets are scare.
Learn more about the ENH1350EXT and what it can do for your outdoor network.
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