We are now Solar Powered | Andrew JV Powell

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2021-09-26 11:30:13

Yes, that's right, this site is now completely solar powered. Actually, it has been for about a week now but I wasn't going to write about until I was sure everything was working correctly.

An Optus AC800s 4G/LTE modem (actually a Netgear device, just branded by the carrier), connected to two MiMO Yagi antennas, feeding into to a GL-AR300 Mini Router, powered by a 160W solar panel connected to a regular car battery, albeit a deep cycle one. The GL-AR300 is then connected to a 110 metre (approx) line of Ethernet cable that feeds into the household. The reason for this distance is the location of the solar setup and antennas is where the mobile signal is at its strongest, whereas back at the house the signal is extremely weak.

I live quite rural and this custom setup has served as my secondary internet connection for some time. The primary internet connection is, of course being rural Australia, is a satellite broadband service. The satellite internet actually works remarkably well, no doubt the technology has come a long way. But you can never get around 600~ms pings and limited data allowance, so some time ago I invested in the Optus mobile broadband deal which netted me the AC800S modem and 500GB per month data allowance. Still a far cry from the bandwidth and data afforded to landline and even fixed wireless broadband users, but it's better than nothing. The 4G service also has vastly improved ping, being around 30~ms to other Australian servers and still easily half the latency of the satellite when going elsewhere around the globe. It was then that I set up the solar system, primarily as it would be impractical to run an electrical cord all the way from the house to the spot where the solar installation is. And also because it would be a bit of a little project.

In any case, this service was mainly used for streaming things like Netflix and YouTube, which could obviously chew through the 20GB allowance of the satellite service in no time, but otherwise didn't have a lot of utility.

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