Prairienet Banner

Jones Park Space

The building is not currently wired for cable internet access and unless Charter Communications agrees to install a dedicated internet line, we will need to bridge or broadcast a wireless signal from the administrative building 600 yards north of the community center.  Below is a map of the park’s community and administrative buildings.  We have included the location of a powered picnic shelter that could be a potential bridging access point.

Proposed Access Points

On Saturday, April 9th, we measured wireless signal strengths at the park.  We connected a router to two types of antennae which were powered by our rental vehicle.  The first antenna broadcast a high-gain signal with a narrow band, lovingly dubbed “Big Boy,” and the small antenna, “Fievel,” had a low gain and broad signal.  We tested the signals from two of our proposed access points: the administrative building and the blue picnic shelter.  Sayer held the antennae from the car while Zac and Stacey read and recorded signals using the Andriod Wifi Analyzer application on a cell phone.  We measured the signals in a direct path from the Administrative Building to the Community Center.  At one point, we tried the signal from the boat house, located WSW of the Administrative Building, as a potential access point, but it was impossible to get a signal due to the density of trees.

Sayer holding up “Big Boy” from the Administrative Building toward the park

After trying each antenna, we quickly determined that “Big Boy” transmitted the strongest and furthest signal, especially when held vertically.  We were able to get strong enough signals at our access points testing “Big Boy” at ground level.  To clear the interference that would be caused by park visitors, we knew we would have to mount the antennae on the roofs of our access points.  And with the antennae posted high up, we would also have to avoid the leaves that would soon be sprouting on the trees.  To do so, we had to point the antennae at angles that would broadcast over clear, unobstructed portions of the park.  The first antenna would likely go on the roof of the Administrative Building and would have a clear path to transmit across the ball fields to the picnic shelter.  On top of the shelter, we would post a receiving antenna on the northeast corner and a broadcasting one on the southeast corner toward the final antenna on the northern roof of the community center.  The shot from the shelter to the community center would go across the pond, just high enough to stay within the Fresnel zone (the elliptical shape of the beams pathway).  Below is a graph of signal strength readouts from each access point toward the community center.

“Big Boy” Wi-Fi Signal Strength

In addition to the distance, people, and trees there is also a water park that will also contribute to blocking the signal.

Water Park

The park district would also like to create an outdoor space for movie viewing during the summer.  We will place a projector and a computer with a DVD player on a cart that can be rolled outside.  The proposed movie viewing area is located just north of the community center and next to the water park.  The park district also plans to move bleachers into the area for easier viewing.

Proposed Outdoor Movie Theater

Movie Theater Bleachers