Question: Long distance wireless networking

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by ultimatequix, May 16, 2009.

  1. ultimatequix

    ultimatequix Limp Gawd

    Nov 27, 2006
    I have a site with two locations, a house and a workshop. The house currently has cable internet going to it. I'm looking to get the workshop connected, the problem is that the buildings are approximately 500-700ft apart. Without subscribing to another line just to get the workshop connected, are there options to go wireless? I'm not very familiar with wireless networking outside of the range of home routers. Is it possible to use two long distance directional access points mounted at each location to make a decent connection? And if so, what kind of costs would I be looking at? Thanks in advance for any light you can shed.
  2. Atech

    Atech 2[H]4U

    Jul 14, 2007
    500-700 feets is what...160-230 meters?

    If that is the case and you only need to connect one PC at the "remote" location and there is not to many WLAN's around, I would suggest this:

    I have gotten connection with that antenna way over the described distance you are talking about
    .oO(I think..i hate non-metric measures, so I could be off though)
  3. p3n

    p3n Gawd

    Sep 29, 2002
    We used to use high gain antenna at work to link to one of our seperate buildings, with 802.11g it was pretty slow but it did the job, this building has since had 8 cores of fibre run to it; we're planning to try another wireless link to a different building that would cost way too much to run fibre to (under a 'brick' carpark), this time though we'll probably try 802.11n - our antenna are for 2.4 ghz so we'll need to find some APs that can isolate the signal to one radio (shouldn't be too hard) but I guess its a consideration.
  4. vapb400

    vapb400 Gawd

    Sep 19, 2004
    We had a similar thing with a client of ours. They have a huge warehouse but outgrew it and the only room for expansion was in another building in the office park. The total distance from network closet to office in the new warehouse was about 1500 feet.

    We could have done a second VPN or wireless but we ended up doing fiber and then converting it back out to Cat5 with these boxes:

    Cost wasnt too bad, it might be worth looking into

    It was certainly cheaper than paying for another line for years.

    You could also just buy a switch if the total distance is less than 200meters. The theoretical max of Cat5 is 100m, so if you can put a switch in the middle in a waterproof protected and powered box, you could then make a 200m run which may or may not be enough.

    Our cabling guy swears that there is a headroom over 100m as long as you are using high quality cable.
  5. marley1

    marley1 [H]ardness Supreme

    Jul 18, 2000
  6. soni

    soni n00b

    Jan 27, 2009
  7. Berg0

    Berg0 [H]ard|Gawd

    May 16, 2005
    I've used a wireless point to point bridge from tranzeo for a few similar applications. works like a charm.
  8. nigerian_businessman

    nigerian_businessman [H]ard|Gawd

    Sep 3, 2004
    This should be simple, but to better help you, is it a clear shot from the house to the workshop? Are there any obstructions at all such as trees, large bushes, other structures?

    Your best bet for the house will be to simply get a router that you can install DD-WRT on. This will be very easy if you have a window facing the workshop, if not you will need some sort of outdoor weatherproof way of mounting it -- home depot has solutions for this but you could probably work something out on your own if you get creative. An N router will be overkill unless you make the signal very directional at both ends, save your money if you don't need the speed. This router is good for the money - easy to flash and it has a removable external antenna. There's another similar Asus model for $10 cheaper that can be flashed with DD-WRT, but it doesn't have the USB port for easy firmware flashing and may not have the removable antenna. Personally I'd spend the extra $10 but the cheaper one will probably work just as well. Set the router up in the window facing the workshop.

    At the workshop, your options are more open, but you basically need a directional antenna facing the router. You could purchase a wireless adapter for your workshop PC with a removable antenna and something like this directional antenna mounted outside. That will cost you ~$50 and be pretty simple. Personally, I would go the DIY route. Save yourself a few bucks while having a bit of nerd fun. You can find a lot of information available online about DIY antennas and WIFI signal boosting. I would start with the cheapest and simplest ideas and work your way up. You shouldn't need to build a yagi for 700ft. Try the simple parabolic reflectors, waveguide cantennas, etc. You should be able to use nothing more than a long USB extension cable, a USB Wifi dongle, and some cheap/free materials to catch the signal off that router.

    If you need some help I've got a whole lot of bookmarks and relevant info. For a few months I shared a cable connection with my father-in-law over a distance of a quarter mile, over signal degrading rooftops and urban 2.4ghz interference. I made a 10db collinear omni-directional antenna attached to a ubiquity networks cardbus a/b/g adapter in an old HP laptop w/ a broken screen that I disassembled and re- purposed as an access point inside a weatherproof box mounted on an 8ft mast on my rooftop. The town I live in is in a valley, my house is on one of the hills and my elevation is approx. 25 ft higher than his, which combined with the mast was enough to get LOS.

    On his end I used a simple cantenna w/ a high gain alfa USB adapter, which was enough to give us a steady 4 bar connection. The hardest part was weatherproofing it and securing it to the rooftop. It was a totally overkill solution to a temporary problem but I was bored and felt like breaking a couple FCC regulations. Key points are that the total cost for the antennas came out to under $40 and the rest of the hardware I had sitting around, and that the end result was a connection that, had I used commercial solutions, would have likely cost 2 or 3 times as much. Of course, it helps to have some old wardriving equipment laying around but those adapters are not totally necessary, you can get by with far cheaper stuff.