Networking GB3JV!

GB3JV progress is being made! I’m expecting the new Rx antenna to be delivered this week, so then I should be ready to get the contractors in for the antenna installation!

Modern Repeaters need a connection to the Internet, so I’ve just ordered a Cisco Meraki Z1 Teleworker “Gateway Router” to form a LAN-LAN VPN Connection to the home QTH from the repeater site. The Z1 is entry-level product and only supports 10Mb/s VPN throughput, but this will be quite adequate for the remote management of the repeater system. The heart of the management system will be an Intel “NUC” running Ubuntu 18.04, Home Assistant and VLC for the media streaming. I might add some interesting logic and web pages later on.

As an alternative for the networking back to the home QTH I was in two minds about setting up a 5GHz (license free) link vs. LTE cellular. For now I’ve opted for LTE cellular, but I might go for the fixed 5GHz link at a later date. For now LTE cellular is the most simple method with minimal work and risk.

The network operator is “SMARTY” (a new brand owned by H3G). It’s a bare bones product but provides unlimited everything (Data, Calls & Texts, EU Roaming etc.) and a fairly decent data performance and a 30-day contract with no significant “fair usage” policies, at least from what I can see. I’ve managed to get the -25% for life discounted introductory offer, so I’m paying £18.50/month, including the “Vodka and Tonic”. If you are interested and want a £10 Amazon voucher and a month’s free rental this is the referral link, that will also get me a free month to offset the cost of the repeater networking.

https://referme.to/rfRHCue

The repeater site is line-of-sight to the local cellular tower, with a sector antenna pointing straight at us about 500 yards away, so the connections should (hopefully) be reliable. If you want to get a cellular internet connection to your repeater site, I’d recommend looking at the Cisco RV130 or RV130W (Wireless) teleworker gateway. These firewall/routers have L2TP and IPSEC VPN capability, 4 LAN ports, a WAN port and a USB socket for a Cellular Modem. They are easy to set up using a GUI (you don’t need to be a CCIE and familiar with the IOS command line!), they are also end of sale, so can be picked up brand new for around £100, or even less. I’ve used the Cisco Meraki Z1 because I can easily add it to my existing Meraki home network and firewall and I get the benefit of the cloud management and the annual license of £20 includes next day hardware replacement, the RV130 is probably a better alternative if you’ve not already got a Cisco Meraki network.

Best Regards, Justin G8YTZ

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