Setup for a Farm IT project

Hello, everyone, I'm currently working on a new project for a family farm, here are the specs of the farm.

Far is mostly shaped like a rectangle, it's mostly deep, you can call it around 5km x 600 meters. The location of the main office it's around 700 meters from the entrance.

Currently what we have is a simple booster for cell phone signal working really well, and also 4 camera set up near the main office, the cameras are working good, they are recording but the limited HDD that I had in the main unit is just lackluster, only 500 GB, plus the software that is using is just not as good as I hoped and kinda clunky.

My project:
- add internet connection by a mobile provider, as my cell phone can get data and I believe that I can get a slow but useful connection.
- Connect the cameras to the web and be able to check on them from any location.
- Improve the software and way to check on the camera, especially someone open-source or Linux based.
- Increase the number of cameras, including some IP cameras and wireless ones.
- Create a wireless connectivity all around the necessary locations, mostly for wireless cameras and usability of laptops and cell phones, this would be the front and also different locations all around with a 360-degree movable camera.
- UPS and battery to allow for cameras to run even on loss of power.
- Storage of more videos.
- livestock inventory and ability to keep an approx head count of this.

This are my current project, hope that the great community can give me a hand when I'm lost or just help with my questions, and i will keep everyone on check.

i would use ethernet powered cables and then run them to a hub connected to the computer. you can bury the cables to keep them safe and have a single ups power the computer running the system and also all of the cameras. you can go cheap on the ups if you get a cheap gasoline power generator. you can loose power and be up for days as long as you have a few gallons of gas and zero down time. this way you can have all the ip cameras data on the computer being hosted, but also keep the cameras off the web and behind the firewall on the router, and the computer they connect to.

wireless sounds good in theory but having separate ups to each camera and running a 5km long network is VERY expensive, and then you have to worry about security. a dos against your wireless camera will take it down and since the camera isnt saving the feed it will be one huge blank spot on the feed.

for storage look into freenas and zfs. freenas is great but you cant add drives once you set it up. zfs you can add drives and do other things, but their is a overhead costing speed and more ram. you can run this on the server running the camera network.

for the livestock thing, i would look into implantable or clip on rfid's. they are cheap at work we use the 7 cent ones but i would spend a few more pennies to get ones that have a bit more range. this is how librarys and the military keep track of all their stuff. you can have a rfid reader at each entry/exit point and run something like polaris to keep track of where they are. you can put very specific data attached to each cow like age, gender, what shots it has had, and the location data going back forever. the rfid's are pennies each and a dollar for the most expensive ones. rfid readers cost more but they will last you a while, and you can run the ethernet cables to the server running polaris, the cameras, ect.... and have it all powered by the same battery backup. so it stays up and working in case of power outages. rfid's will last forever unless physically damaged and you never have to change batterys, so once you get it set up you only have to put effort into tagging new cows. but it somewhere like the ear and you wont even have to remove it.
you may want to hire someone to set this up for you and teach you how it works as their are no easy how to guides as it is very enterprise'y.

now, you could use the cameras and a AI to watch every individual cow and learn them by site and keep track of them with the cameras, but AI's re expensive and it would have to be custom, and the overhead means you would need a dedicated server for it. assuming you hired multiple programmers who really know what they are doing it would also take 6-18 months if nothing goes wrong.

for accessing the data elsewhere, i would just use remote desktop or ssh in, unless you have a client who also wants access and isnt very tech savy? in which case no idea.

setting up the cameras



thanks a lot for the information.

I was thinking of setting up the 3G USB stick to a pfense server so I can divide the wireless network, the security cameras ones, and the computers. Most of the cameras I'm looking for now are poe IP cameras, and I will look into a poe switch,

For the wireless cameras offsite, I would try to see if I could run a power cable, or maybe a solar panel if it will be enough.

Most of what I'm doing is going to be done by myself. I was hoping for battery backup as a generator would take time to setup and is not reliable all the time.

On the rfid things, I was wondering whats the range on them? as i would need to have a good separation on the livestock and the reader to not harm the flow of work.

the range depends on what rfids/readers you use.
anywhere from a few inches to 1500+ feet
if i were you i would use gen 2 Ultra High Frequency RFID's and assuming america, you need 908-928mghz frequency. their are company's that make rfids specifically for tagging cattle. you may wish to run a low level 32-64 bit encryption on them, even though it is breakable. these days people can download apps to turn their phones into rfid reader/writers and you may wish to also lock them to prevent tampering. however if that isnt a concern keeping them unlocked means you can reuse them until the cows break them so years or possibly decades. also if you want to get REALLY creative you can create custom commands on linux set to alert you when a cow escapes the farm, or hasnt moved in X amount of days (tag fell off/cow died) and such.

also connecting the cameras to pfsense will help with a lot of virus's and such assuming you put a firewall on it, but it wont stop a ddos. any 12 year old with google will find loic and can take them out instantly for as long as they want. if the purpose is protection from a criminal element, it's a pretty significant flaw.

and the problem with a solar panel, is you need a rather expensive battery to store the power and then feed it into the cameras when needed. hundreds possibly thousands of dollars here. the solar panels are cheap, but the batterys are made of expensive rare earth metals and every laptop, electric car, and military wants them. for 5km im pretty sure it's cheaper to run cables, and if you are running cables why not run ethernet too? or just ethernet and power over ethernet?

EDIT oh yea, all of this hardware wise on the server is goign to be a bit demanding. higher core # is priority not speed so something like dual xeon 26xx or the new zen with 64gb of ram or more. the more cores the better. the the camera thign isnt very demanding, but constantly saving multiple 1080p or 4k video streams 24/7 to raid or zfs is going to take a dozen or 3 gb of ram and while rfid shit is pretty easy since the rfid's can only store small amounts of info, most of it is made for windows not linux so virtulize all the things and no resource sharing \o/.

thanks a ton really, i will look into the rfid more in detail.

For the camera yeah maybe running cables would be optimal, i need to see what layout we have for power. a few places already have power in the location thus running ethernet would be more expensive than wireless.

For ddos i believe it wont happend, we are talking in a farm located several km from the town, in a third world country (venezuela) so most criminals would probably try to steal the camera than to just ddos it, and most of the security is knowing who is in the entrance.

its why i though of using pfsense instead of a cheap router, i can try to block most of the wireless and ethernet signals from the outside, so i would not be touching the cameras directly or the software but mostly the videos per say, and i can then rerunt the program at home or another location if i want the features.

Mostly power would be the issue as you say.

Currently im searching each piece of the puzzle so currently on the router, im checking if i woudl go pfsense or regular router, mostly thinking pfsense would be the best option for me, and thus i looked at this.

im mostly making a list in amazon, after i pick the router, i would go into the switch and the wireless parts, then server, then ups then cameras.

you can save money on the pfsense router by using a older quad core with 8gb of ram and a few pci e internet cards added in. those atoms are pretty weak and the system doesnt have anything you cant get form something like

for a fraction of the price + a few add in ethernet cards. this ones dual socket and the cpu's are 5$ on ebay.

also fun fact, unshieled/poorly shielded microwave ovens can fry rfids and block wifi, radio, ect.... so if everything stop working when you turn on the microwave, that's why. fcc makes all the companys in the states shield them pretty well, but never been to Venezuela so i no idea how the law is down there. cheaper to cut corners on the shielding so if it isnt outlawed it might be a problem.

point to point radio networking will be your friend over long distances in rural areas, and can be a lot more cost effective and labor-light compared to running cable.

other than that I got nothing.

Im not sure about used equipment in ebay, given that i need to buy from the us and bring to venezuela, any changes or damages would take time to replace, thus im more inclined to buy new or make one

how about this one

or is it better to make one myself, as the camera server and storage server will be also made by me?

For unshielded microwaves im not too worry, we dont have any of those in the farm, and we mostly buy stuff from the us so mostly is shielded i assume.

Thanks, mostly i just think of adding a outdoor antenna to increase the range, its mostly linear with little obstruction, the most it will have is foliage or trees

im starting to check this

for wifi outside

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Be careful with a generator and get a proper power conditioner. Small generators do not = clean power...

its why im not really about to connect a expensive setup to a generator that would cost about a fraction of the entire setup.