Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Even More Wireless Photography with the Engenius 2611

In the previous two posts I have shown some typical configurations that you could use. So this post is really about the practical aspects of using these units.

There are a few things you need to be aware of.

1. The internal directional antenna has a horizontal spread of 70 degrees and a vertical spread of 35 degrees. There is signal available outside these limits and a quite usable signal even behind the unit. If using the internal aerial you can position the unit to point in the direction you are working to maximise the available signal strength.

2. An Omni-directional antenna is available for this unit. This will spread the signal evenly around the antenna but the signal range is shorter in all directions. As a rough guide you should consider the range of the omni antenna to be half that of the internal directional antenna.

3. The unit requires a 24 volt power supply. This can be supplied from batteries for the remote units. It is recommended that a DC converter is used if using batteries as this will ensure a constant and regulated 24 volt supply. Not all converters are equal. Some are very inefficient and will rapidly drain the battery. A clue to efficiency is how warm the converter gets. Solwise supply a unit to convert 12 volts to 24 volts. I have used a different unit but if you have no experience of selecting this type of unit then go for the safe option and use the recommended unit.

4. Height above ground of the unit is a big factor in getting the maximum range and signal strength out of the unit. For outdoor events I mount the unit at the server end on a 2.5 metre stand which goes on top of the van and is secured to the van with guy ropes. This gives me a total height of 4 to 4.5 metres for the unit.

5. This may sound obvious but the system should be set up and tested before you use it in anger. Document all your settings and clearly label each unit.

6. Consider the data throughput and the size of image being shot. If all you need is a medium sized jpeg then that is what you should shoot. Larger files just take longer to deliver over the system and if you are shooting rapidly you can fill the camera buffer as it backs up images waiting to be transmitted.

7. If you have multiple photographers you should consider setting up more than one network if the volume of data is likely to saturate one network.

8. Check that all files have transmitted regularly. You can do this on the camera with the Canon units. Resend those files which have not transmitted when you are back in range of an Access Point.

9. Your body is a great wifi shield. Try to maximise the available signal by not standing between the camera and the Access Point. Ideally position yourself so that the WFT unit on the camera has a clear line of sight to the the Access Point.

I'm sure I will think of some more and will add these as and when.