How to get WiFi distance without going broke

narsbars

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
2,171
Getting Fiber. My company ONLY provide a modem with hardwire connections as they want to upsell you to the wireless unit. No way. I have been sharing my internet with my brother in law 300 feet away and while he can connect he sometimes loses the signal and sometimes can't connect as you would expect at that distance. P.S. This is a totally isolated location with no other WiFi within 2500 ft.
I am looking to solve this problem without going broke. He basically uses his iPhone and Apple laptop. It looks as if the solution has to be at my end. Anyone have a suggestion to get him some more signal? None of my equipment has an antenna adapter.
My equipment is two walls back from the exterior of the house. I have been using the generic wireless on my wired DSL connection from the vendor but I do have a

Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router available. (With one floppy antenna :( )

 
Last edited:

GotNoRice

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Messages
10,009
Anyone have a suggestion to get him some more signal? None of my equipment has an antenna adapter.
My equipment is two walls back from the exterior of the house. I have been using the generic wireless on my wired DSL connection from the vendor but I do have a

Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router available. (With one floppy antenna :( )


You could setup DD-WRT on the Netgear and set it up as a Bridge. Ideally you want the bridge to use directional antennas aimed at the source WiFi, but if it's a good unit the default omnidirectional antennas should still get the job done.

Image courtesy of DD-WRT:
Repeater_Bridge.jpg
 

narsbars

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Thanks. So the primary set up as a bridge can also service my TV, Phones, PC, etc. ?? If the diagram is suggesting hardwiring for any other units I couldn't do that. It appears they are probably using the ethernet as an example not a requirement. The other issue is the wireless bridge link is 300ft. Do you think another router would have a greater signal sensitivity to a laptop or a phone? Seems only logical, but I know the dangers of assuming.
I can definitely install DD-WRT, does it still give the option to up your broadcast power?
 

N4CR

Supreme [H]ardness
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Oct 17, 2011
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4,735
Yeah you're looking at setting up whats called a p2p (point to point) link with a Wi-Fi access point at the end for ya brothers wifi. Look into woktenna or cantenna if you want to get really cheap on directional long range aerials lol.

Is it line of sight or is there foliage?
 

Master_shake_

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Messages
15,971
Yeah you're looking at setting up whats called a p2p (point to point) link with a Wi-Fi access point at the end for ya brothers wifi. Look into woktenna or cantenna if you want to get really cheap on directional long range aerials lol.

Is it line of sight or is there foliage?
So you're thinking repurposed satellite dish too?

Such a great idea.
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
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The diagram does show the laptop as being wireless on the primary side, so yes you can likely get away with having wifi devices mixed in. The thing to keep in mind is that wireless is shared between all clients, so if you're running a bridge then that means anything behind the bridge is fighting for bandwidth with anything that is wireless on the primary unit. That said I'd probably go a different route than using DD-WRT, but I'm guessing that suggestion should work. If you're already getting almost enough signal now to a phone, then an AP should have better receive sensitivity as well as transmit power. The bridge should fix the problem somewhat because it will act as an intermediate between the primary wireless device and the clients. Once again though bandwidth is shared so the secondary device is only able to ever hit half the speeds it would normally since it first receives the data then has to transmit it back out again. Basically all wireless clients off both devices will be on the same channel fighting for bandwidth unless the bridge allows you to use a dedicated band for the bridge. (So like bridge on 2.4ghz and talk to wireless clients on 5ghz)

If I were doing what you're doing, I would do something similar to what was suggested, but I would be using devices that were designed for doing it rather and relying on a 3rd party firmware. I'd use a pair of Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-US mesh APs. These were designed for doing this exact scenario you are laying out and have a few advantages. The first one being is they are waterproof and can be mounted outside, so ideally you'd mount a pair of them onto the top of the house with line of sight (TV antennas would be perfect) and then they shouldn't have an issues getting good signal between them. By default they come with decent antennas with are still omni directional so that means you can have wireless coverage off each AP as well as have the bridge link between them. The main gotcha with these devices is to use the wireless mesh link you'll need a Unifi cloud key as you'll have to have the controller software running. So overall it's going to cost about $300 for a unifi setup, but once configured it should be reliable. The other main pro is that these APs use power injectors, so you can power them inside of the building and just get a cat wire somewhere outside to power the AP. It makes mounting them somewhere quite easy and will deliver better signals than trying to use an AP inside of the house.

You didn't specify, but I'm going to assume you are trying to get coverage inside of two buildings that are 300' apart. The 300' distance is trivial if the APs are outside unless there are a ton of trees, but can be a huge problem is both ends are inside. You can likely get good enough coverage inside the building even if the AP is on the roof, but you might need additional placement. The good thing about what I suggested is that I would keep your existing Netgear for your wireless clients, and then use the 2 Unfi Mesh APs only for outdoor clients and secondary location. This will help eliminate a lot of the bandwidth sharing you might encounter by simply bridging on the nighthawk and give better overall performance.
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
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So you're thinking repurposed satellite dish too?

Such a great idea.

It's 300', not 3,000. I have a UAP-AC-M with the optional panel antenna on it and can get usable bandwidth on a phone like 800' away LOS. (20 down, 5 up) I'd think for OP that a pair of Unifi AC Mesh with the standard omni directionals can handle 300' just fine if they are mounted outside. If mounting was a big issue I'd probably look at Unifi nanobeam NBE-5AC-GEN2 because they are quite cheap and far less hassle than trying to build something yourself.
 

narsbars

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
2,171
Yeah you're looking at setting up whats called a p2p (point to point) link with a Wi-Fi access point at the end for ya brothers wifi. Look into woktenna or cantenna if you want to get really cheap on directional long range aerials lol.

Is it line of sight or is there foliage?
Pretty much line of sight.....not counting the walls.
 

narsbars

2[H]4U
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Jan 18, 2006
Messages
2,171
It's 300', not 3,000. I have a UAP-AC-M with the optional panel antenna on it and can get usable bandwidth on a phone like 800' away LOS. (20 down, 5 up) I'd think for OP that a pair of Unifi AC Mesh with the standard omni directionals can handle 300' just fine if they are mounted outside. If mounting was a big issue I'd probably look at Unifi nanobeam NBE-5AC-GEN2 because they are quite cheap and far less hassle than trying to build something yourself.
Mounting outside is not a problem. Saving money is the real issue.
 

narsbars

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
2,171
The diagram does show the laptop as being wireless on the primary side, so yes you can likely get away with having wifi devices mixed in. The thing to keep in mind is that wireless is shared between all clients, so if you're running a bridge then that means anything behind the bridge is fighting for bandwidth with anything that is wireless on the primary unit. That said I'd probably go a different route than using DD-WRT, but I'm guessing that suggestion should work. If you're already getting almost enough signal now to a phone, then an AP should have better receive sensitivity as well as transmit power. The bridge should fix the problem somewhat because it will act as an intermediate between the primary wireless device and the clients. Once again though bandwidth is shared so the secondary device is only able to ever hit half the speeds it would normally since it first receives the data then has to transmit it back out again. Basically all wireless clients off both devices will be on the same channel fighting for bandwidth unless the bridge allows you to use a dedicated band for the bridge. (So like bridge on 2.4ghz and talk to wireless clients on 5ghz)

If I were doing what you're doing, I would do something similar to what was suggested, but I would be using devices that were designed for doing it rather and relying on a 3rd party firmware. I'd use a pair of Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-US mesh APs. These were designed for doing this exact scenario you are laying out and have a few advantages. The first one being is they are waterproof and can be mounted outside, so ideally you'd mount a pair of them onto the top of the house with line of sight (TV antennas would be perfect) and then they shouldn't have an issues getting good signal between them. By default they come with decent antennas with are still omni directional so that means you can have wireless coverage off each AP as well as have the bridge link between them. The main gotcha with these devices is to use the wireless mesh link you'll need a Unifi cloud key as you'll have to have the controller software running. So overall it's going to cost about $300 for a unifi setup, but once configured it should be reliable. The other main pro is that these APs use power injectors, so you can power them inside of the building and just get a cat wire somewhere outside to power the AP. It makes mounting them somewhere quite easy and will deliver better signals than trying to use an AP inside of the house.

You didn't specify, but I'm going to assume you are trying to get coverage inside of two buildings that are 300' apart. The 300' distance is trivial if the APs are outside unless there are a ton of trees, but can be a huge problem is both ends are inside. You can likely get good enough coverage inside the building even if the AP is on the roof, but you might need additional placement. The good thing about what I suggested is that I would keep your existing Netgear for your wireless clients, and then use the 2 Unfi Mesh APs only for outdoor clients and secondary location. This will help eliminate a lot of the bandwidth sharing you might encounter by simply bridging on the nighthawk and give better overall performance.
I have even seen the components you are talking about in the FS forum here on the H, of course I didn't realize I needed them then. LOL I really like the idea of keeping the current Nighthawk in the scenario you propose.
 

scrappymouse

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Mar 18, 2016
Messages
200
is your brother on the same power-grid as you? you could get something like this for fairly cheap if so, you can always test and see if it works. I was going to install a Wireless bridge for my brothers shop about 500ft away, but he tried those first and they worked flawlessly and much cheaper and easier....I personally always go the cheapest/easiest route first, than if that doesn't work I'll up my budget.
 

narsbars

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
2,171
is your brother on the same power-grid as you? you could get something like this for fairly cheap if so, you can always test and see if it works. I was going to install a Wireless bridge for my brothers shop about 500ft away, but he tried those first and they worked flawlessly and much cheaper and easier....I personally always go the cheapest/easiest route first, than if that doesn't work I'll up my budget.
Whoa! Yes he is, being only 300 feet away and absolutely no other electrical users around that might work. Think I will try a WTB here on the H and then jump on Amazon for a trial. If it doesn't work it can go back.
 

Vengance_01

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 23, 2001
Messages
6,269
is your brother on the same power-grid as you? you could get something like this for fairly cheap if so, you can always test and see if it works. I was going to install a Wireless bridge for my brothers shop about 500ft away, but he tried those first and they worked flawlessly and much cheaper and easier....I personally always go the cheapest/easiest route first, than if that doesn't work I'll up my budget.
That's just mind boggling it worked .. what was the latency like
 

scrappymouse

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Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
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That's just mind boggling it worked .. what was the latency like
I was surprised as well, he said it worked really well, didn't complain about latency, but I'm not sure he'd know what that was anyways, but he stated it was plenty fast for what he needed to do, so as long as it works.
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
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is your brother on the same power-grid as you? you could get something like this for fairly cheap if so, you can always test and see if it works. I was going to install a Wireless bridge for my brothers shop about 500ft away, but he tried those first and they worked flawlessly and much cheaper and easier....I personally always go the cheapest/easiest route first, than if that doesn't work I'll up my budget.

This is a good solution with a couple of caveats. It does seem to have an all in one so one of the devices has wifi built into it. But since it's an older model it's 2.4ghz N only. I don't think that will be an issue in this case, and if it's not desirable you can likely just disable the wifi portion and plug in another AP on the other end. Some of the faster powerline adapters aren't really powerline and use wifi to drive the signal, so keep that in mind if you look for faster ones.

As far as latency goes it should be negligible since this is a wired connection. The real culprit for latency is going to come from transmission errors and noise, not from how long it takes for the signal to travel. The biggest problem for powerline is that it's not really pointed in any particular direction so for it to work it has to be able to send out enough power in all directions. If this were isolated to a single wire then there is no doubt the signal could travel thousands of feet without issue given the cable size. (The loss per 100' goes down as cable size goes up) For how you want this setup it would be ideal to plug these into outlets that are as close to the breaker panel as possible on both ends, to help minimize potential issues. The more outlets and switches between the two devices the more potential issues. That said sometimes some wiring is simply less error prone than others, so trying different outlets can yield wildly different results.
 

scrappymouse

Limp Gawd
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Messages
200
Whoa! Yes he is, being only 300 feet away and absolutely no other electrical users around that might work. Think I will try a WTB here on the H and then jump on Amazon for a trial. If it doesn't work it can go back.
Let us know if it works, curious if my brothers situation was just a fluke :)
 
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