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WIRELESS ROUTERS IN AN EXHIBITION ENVIRONMENT

Hi Team,
 
I am looking for a suitable Wireless Router to use to control a model railway layout at exhibitions. If anyone out there is doing so then your help would be greatly appreciated.
 
The layout currently has a maximum number of 9 users and the area covered is about 10m x 15m.
 
The Controlling computer is an HP ProBook 4720 running Windows Pro 10 in 64-bit mode with 8GB of RAM and an SSD.
 
The Train Control System uses the Lenz system (xPressNet) and the Layout Control System uses the MERGCBUS System.
 
The connections between PC and Router and between PC and Command Station are wired.
Each operator uses a Wireless connection between the router and a Touchscreen Tablet/iPad2 used as their Control Panel as well as a wireless Throttle ( WIThrottle/Engine Driver/Lenz Throttle or JMRI Throttle) to control the speed and direction and sound of each train they are controlling.
 
The Layout Controlling software is the Java based JMRI programme.
 
In the past we have suffered from 'Stealing' of the layout by other operators on other layouts at exhibitions because of the shared channel/frequency so the ability to switch channels/frequency quickly in the Router and update each of the Tablets is a 'must have' before we start a running session.
It is this that I am trying to overcome. Preferably, the Router would have 'Auto' Search to select a suitable environment in which it can work when setting up.
 
Network traffic is expected to be high in both directions - Command Control Signals coming from each of the operator's Touchscreen Tablets and both 'Occupancy' and 'Positional Feedback' from the layout modules to each of the operators.
 
This is a completely separate network not linked to the Internet. 
 
Dave.

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Sage

Re: WIRELESS ROUTERS IN AN EXHIBITION ENVIRONMENT

> In the past we have suffered from 'Stealing' of the layout by other
> operators on other layouts at exhibitions [...]

 

   Define this "Stealing"?  Set, and not share, a wireless-network
passphrase?

 

> [...] the Router would have 'Auto' Search to select a suitable
> environment in which it can work when setting up.

 

   If you mean radio channel(s), then this is probably not an avoidable
feature, but that may not help much in a crowded environment.

 

> Network traffic is expected to be high [...]

 

   Define "high".


   What have you used (and had trouble with) in the past?

 

   I would not expect most of your technical model-railroad details to
mean much to most of your audience here.

Message 2 of 4
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Re: WIRELESS ROUTERS IN AN EXHIBITION ENVIRONMENT

"Stealing" is an apt description of what is actually happening. With no input from any of the operators on a layout, locomotives will start to move off on their own. In the past this has not been much of a problem but now, with more and more people turning to using wireless control, it is becoming more prevalent.

 

The cause is usually another layout operator who just happens to be in close proximity and who just happens to be able to control another layout with their equipment. This is generally resolved by mutual consent and one layout changes their control frequency, to avoid the 'interference', if their equipment is capable of changing to another frequency easily.

 

As an Exhibition Manager, when planning an exhibition I try to keep layouts using wireless control and using similar equipment as far apart as is possible so as to avoid the problem in the first place. This is not usually  a problem at small exhibitions but at large events, like those held at a National Exhibition Centres where there may well be over 100 different layouts, then we can get problems.

 

It is now part of the information gathering process, prior to setting up an exhibition, to ask for details of the wireless equipment in use, the normal frequencies used by their control equipment on a layout and whether or not these can be changed quickly in the event of possible 'interference' from other users in the same way that we need to know how much space the layout will occupy.

 

It is looking at such information that shows that "NETGEAR" equipment is a common brand name that shows up regularly. Thus, my reach out to the Forum to see what is currently available that is capable of doing the job we want it to do and what can be done to limit such problems as  more and more people turn to using wireless communication within the hobby.

 

Dave

 

Message 3 of 4
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Sage

Re: WIRELESS ROUTERS IN AN EXHIBITION ENVIRONMENT

> [...] one layout changes their control frequency, to avoid the
> 'interference', [...]

 

   This sounds like simple radio interference between (too-)simple
radio-control systems, not anything to do with wireless networking,
which uses encryption and (if configured properly) authentication.

 

   On what, exactly, is this "control frequency" change done? I'd bet
_not_ on a wireless router.

 

> [...] "NETGEAR" equipment [...]

 

   Which '"NETGEAR" equipment'?  This forum deals with Netgear equipment
which does wireless networking.  When wireless networking devices
interfere with each other, the result is poor performance, not "crossed
signals", where one user's message gets delivered to some other user's
gizmo.

 

   You seem to be barking up the wrong tree.

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