My Ubiquiti Networks Bullet2 HP

Posted on January 16, 2011
Filed Under Reviews | 5 Comments

I have always been interested in radio. Not the broadcast AF/FM radio per se but RADIO propagation. How well radio waves travel, what effect frequency had on path loss etc.  I have been a licensed Amateur Radio operator since I was 14.

Integrating radio and computers is a dream fulfilled. I use a computer and radio to communicate using various digital modes on the “ham” bands.

Since wireless networks or WIFI utilize radio..I am interested.  I wont make this into a contest of how far I could establish communications but on one of the wireless adapters I stumbled across.

I purchased a Ubiquiti Bullet HP2. This is  a wireless adapter (if you want to call it that) that has almost 1 watt of output power.  Feed that into a hi-gain antenna and considerable ERP (effective radiated power ) is possible.

For a point to point distant link…several factors can disrupt or limit effective distance.

Height… get the antenna high. If you can actually see the distant endpoint that helps.
In my case just to “see” other networks in my area is difficult. While the closest is about 800 feet, there is a section of trees (FOREST) between my house and the neighbor.  Using a usb wireless adapter on the second story of my house I can sometimes see the remote network. I use linux for testing and one of the tools I can use is Kismet  or Airodump-ng  both tools will show me the SSID, channel and relative signal strength among other things of a detected network.

So I placed the usb adapter at the focal point of a Hughes satellite antenna…big difference…  very difficult to aim.

The only problem with using said system is I need to mount the antenna(s) outside on my tower. That way I can elevate it above some of the tree line and foliage (fat chance…100 foot tall trees). This would require active USB repeater cables…somewhat expensive…

OR one could connect to a remote antenna using coaxial cable…  Good cable is very expensive and the amount of loss at 2.4 Ghz (Wifi frequencies).

So.. This is where the  Bullet2 HP by Ubiquiti shines.  It mounts at the antenna (No feedline loss), it connects to your pc or router using standard ethernet cable..(cheap) and is powered over the same cable using a Power Over Ethernet (POE) adapter. Sold seperately..about $17.

The Ubiquiti Bullet2HP


Notice the type N connector. Do not notice the Duct Tape sticky remnants on the case..from my temporary tower mount.

The POE Power Over Ethernet adapter.

The POE inserts 15v d.c onto the ethernet cable that connects to the Bullet.

The HP2 can be many things. It can be a wireless router, a wireless client. A repeater (range extender). Or it can operate in Bridge mode and is transparent to the pc. The pc gets an I.P address from the remote wireless router.

I have found several things.

1. Th HP2 has a very sensitive receiver. It easily outperforms my usb adapters. Of course those are inexpensive devices..

2. It has a lot of output.

Configuring it using its built in webserver interface. Similar to many wireless routers on the market. You login into the password protected device and can scan the network, align the antenna (signal strength indicator), specify a ssid and wep/wpa key of the remote network to connect to. You also specify if it is going to have a local dhcp server .

I connstructed a bi-quad antenna gain around 11db (supposedly). Using just that antenna and taping the HP2 (for testing) on the antenna tower I was able to connect to the remote networks…barely. With the density of the foliage the signal was around -82 to -90 dbm  at the edge of use.  However… I am certain that with the bi-quad used at the feed point of the dish the link will be stable near -74 dbm. (not tested on the tower yet). But in-house testing (literally in the house) with the dish it could establish a link.

Homebrew Biquad antenna. Yep, it even works.

The Bullet HP2 is weatherproof so mounting it outside is not a problem. I would however use some tape and or silicon to “seal” where the ethernet cable enters the case. There is a rubber grommet that seals well but…. better safe than sorry.

End view of the Bullet showing ethernet cable..and reset switch.

One VERY nice feature is the led signal strength indicator.  Once the HP2 “sees” the remote wifi network..even if its not connected the signal strength lites on the side of the unit work. So when you are up on the tower trying to align that dish antenna for every precious Db of gain…. its a big help.

Bullet HP2 signal strength indicators.. aids antenna alignment up on the tower.

The output power is configurable so you can “turn it down” if possible to help secure and prevent interference with other networks in the area.

Mounting the radio at the antenna removes the cable loss. That cable loss effects both the transmitted radiated signal and the strength of the received signal. A double bonus. If you had a long length of cable with 10 db of loss or more that loss would reduce the power being radiated from the antenna by 10db and also reduce the recieved signal by 10 db.  Just increasing the transmitter power doesnt mean you can hear the remote device…

The HP2 has a type “N” connector, that will connect to MANY commercial external antennas.  One could purchase a antenna and just pop the HP2 on it.

I plan to mount it on the dish up on the tower someday.

Used Hughes dish

More information on the Bullet HP2 can be found at Ubiquiti  www.ubnt.com

Details on Bi-Quad construction can be found at martybugs.net

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Comments

5 Responses to “My Ubiquiti Networks Bullet2 HP”

  1. ThePeachy1 on February 5th, 2011 4:04 pm

    I am totally enthralled and turned on by this post. I can’t believe you weren’t paid for this.

  2. ThePittsofBeingPeachy on February 5th, 2011 4:05 pm

    amazing.

  3. ThePittsofBeingPeachy on February 5th, 2011 5:32 pm

    astounding and remarkable

  4. ThePittsofBeingPeachy on February 5th, 2011 5:33 pm

    I agree this is the shiznit

  5. Bob on October 15th, 2012 6:09 pm

    we use these at our company to connect our main office to a remote repeater location for radio over IP.. we operate over 28 mile distances with these no problems

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