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I work with a non-profit that has an Optec digital sign about 30 feet in front of the building. Our wireless transmitter(Outdoor Bridge?) has corroded beyond repair.

After months of struggling for cooperation from their customer service, they're insisting that we need a (Engenius Bundle Kit - A Series) "$1350" bundle to replace our system.

The system is really straightforward. Our computer that connects to the sign has a seperate NIC that connects straight to the sign. Originally it went into an RJ45 power to a transmitter, going over a matching pair over at our sign.

I can just plug in a 50ft ethernet cable to the nic and walk it straight to the sign. It works. I have a hard time believing that it will require $1350 to just let it communicate that far. I just need to connect to a local IP, and it supposedly can't be connecting through our wireless network(Something related to DHCP?)

~ Is it possible to have a NIC to NIC connection. Something that functions the same as an Ethernet cable, but able to not be exposed to the outdoor elements?

Is a connection like this something that requires over $1000 in parts? Is it true that I would have to use their specific model so that they can 'program' it to communication between two windows computers? I'm not a networking guy, I'm sorry.

Thanks so much for any information. We can't afford the steep cost we're being presented with.

  • Are you certain that it's over Ethernet? I only ask because I know some signs use RJ45 but are using RS-485 or something other than Ethernet. You may also need to explain more details of why you can't just connect it using a typical Wi-fi bridge in order for somebody to give you a good recommendation. – user10608 Sep 12 '19 at 18:05
  • When I walk a cable out there myself, it's a network patch cable. My understanding is that there isn't a real distinction. It also works as an ethernet cable connecting devices to our network. I know little about Wi-Fi bridges. Would they function the way that I'm looking for? – PC4PBrainerd Sep 12 '19 at 18:31
  • @Peter Cooper Jr.: I pondered your question as well, but re-read the question and see that there's a NIC in the computer that is connected to the sign. If it is a genuine NIC and not simply a proprietary device using RJ-45, PC4PB may be in luck. – fred_dot_u Sep 12 '19 at 21:34
  • Can you confim that the card in the computer is indeed a NIC? Are you able to read an IP assignment for the device? – fred_dot_u Sep 12 '19 at 21:35
  • And, is there some reason you can't just use that 50 ft. cable that you know works? Burying it or the like may be a cheap option, at least if you're willing to put in the labor yourself. – user10608 Sep 13 '19 at 22:27
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I've used a wireless ethernet bridge adapter to turn a wired network connection into a wireless.

wired to wireless adapter

As shown in the photo, the RJ-45 connects to the previously wired device, while power is provided via USB or a barrel type power connection. If there is a conventional power outlet, one can use a common USB charger block to provide power to the unit.

I believe the set up process involves a smart-phone, connected to the device's internal web page, configuring for connection to your local network and that's it. It's been a while since I did the set up, but it's a simple task.

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  • This looks really promising.This might be exactly what I need. Maybe. This still involves connecting the device to a wifi network. The support technician said that the device would switch over to DHCP if it connects to our router, and that would prevent it from communicating correctly. I think we'd be looking at the same issue. Is there a way to disable that on the Sign itself? It's running a Windows XP system – PC4PBrainerd Sep 13 '19 at 22:57
  • You wouldn't necessarily have to connect to your main network router. Even a twenty dollar yard sale router can be configured for no DHCP and provide an independent faux-wired connection as needed. If some of this is getting over your head, find a shoestring computer guy that doesn't have corporate pressure to sell and understands simple networking. It can be challenging to find someone who is capable of independent thought, but an open minded tech could be a lower cost, one-off answer along with the adapter. – fred_dot_u Sep 13 '19 at 23:21
  • I've got a good half dozen routers of decent quality around. I'll do some reading and toy around. That feels like a promising route. – PC4PBrainerd Sep 13 '19 at 23:59
  • Can you confirm that it will reach the required range? 50 ft is quite a lot for Wi-Fi without a directional antenna. – Jan Dorniak Sep 18 '19 at 15:38

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