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Advice picking up wireless network signal through trees

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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March 3, 2014 9:27:48 AM

My apologies for any ignorance I am rather new to this. Backstory; my isp has a monopoly and is raising price AGAIN. My friend lives 3 houses down and has given me permission to use her wireless which is open/unsecured anyway. As are like 5 others at her end of our street. I am 350-400 feet away and her signal currently cannot reach my laptop. There are 2 2 story houses and LOTS of trees in between her 2 story house and my 1 story house. I currently have my internet running from pole through coaxial into a wireless modem owned by my isp. I am wondering
1. Can I even get her signal?
2. If so, what would be my best antenna choice? I'm thinking something omni-directional?
3. Do I need more than an antenna and a router? And if so please explain why.
Thanks!
March 3, 2014 3:10:54 PM

You really need clear line of site but you are pretty close. The way this is normally done is with outdoor directiona bridge on both ends. You can go many miles if you are up high enough with nothing in between. Hard to say with stuff in between. It will cost about $150 to try it. The units that I normally use a ubiquiti airgrid.
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March 3, 2014 5:54:10 PM

bill001g said:
You really need clear line of site but you are pretty close. The way this is normally done is with outdoor directiona bridge on both ends. You can go many miles if you are up high enough with nothing in between. Hard to say with stuff in between. It will cost about $150 to try it. The units that I normally use a ubiquiti airgrid.


Thanks for your info,
Couple of Q's; I used to use a different neighbor's wifi before they moved and I was close enough for my laptop to grab it without antenna. But, to confirm, you don't think that just one antenna on my end will be enough to pick up hers?
Also, I was originally thinking I would mount my antenna on my roof right near where the coaxial is already coming into my house, which is also very close to where I normally use the laptop. But the trees are thick. Or I could mount the antenna on my end on a tall tree in my back yard that has a MUCH less obstructed line of sight to her house, but it is about 20 feet from my house and closer to 40 to where the cable already comes in... I could run the cable from the tree and such but is this too much distance for the signal to travel wire-wise?
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March 3, 2014 6:17:45 PM

You do not use outdoor antenna anymore. You use outdoor bridges that have the antenna and the electronics in the same unit. They use PoE for power over normal ethernet cable. Solve the issue of having to buy expensive microwave cable and they cost almost the same as just the antennas. You would have to read the distance limitation on these devices but they could likely go the full 100m ethernet cable. I don't think i have gone much over 100ft up a tower and had no issues.

You would plug the ethernet into your PC or into a router/AP in your house.

Hard to say if it will work or not other than to try it. If you had direct line of sight it would likely at that distance but with trees you never know. The beam is fairly narrow so you don't want to point it directly into a tree.
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March 5, 2014 7:00:16 AM

bill001g said:
You do not use outdoor antenna anymore. You use outdoor bridges that have the antenna and the electronics in the same unit. They use PoE for power over normal ethernet cable. Solve the issue of having to buy expensive microwave cable and they cost almost the same as just the antennas. You would have to read the distance limitation on these devices but they could likely go the full 100m ethernet cable. I don't think i have gone much over 100ft up a tower and had no issues.

You would plug the ethernet into your PC or into a router/AP in your house.

Hard to say if it will work or not other than to try it. If you had direct line of sight it would likely at that distance but with trees you never know. The beam is fairly narrow so you don't want to point it directly into a tree.


I see. So is there no way to pick up all these open signals down my street without putting gear on my friend's house?
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March 5, 2014 9:31:33 AM

It is really hard to say since you are close it might work. Some people want to pick up the mcdonalds a mile away with no clear line and come here wanting to know how to do it. Those I can be sure won't work. At 400ft you many times can see the signal if you stand outside but it won't be strong enough to use. Those are the ones a directional system may help.

This is a tough call since it costs money to even try to see if it works.
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March 5, 2014 4:26:45 PM

bill001g said:
It is really hard to say since you are close it might work. Some people want to pick up the mcdonalds a mile away with no clear line and come here wanting to know how to do it. Those I can be sure won't work. At 400ft you many times can see the signal if you stand outside but it won't be strong enough to use. Those are the ones a directional system may help.

This is a tough call since it costs money to even try to see if it works.


yes bill001g $ka-ching$, that is it in a nutshell... And hey, thanks for all the info. researching directional systems now... So many to choose from! http://www.radiolabs.com/products/wireless/directional-...
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March 6, 2014 4:41:54 AM

The ones I tend to like the best are
http://www.ubnt.com/airgrid
You can get these for less than $75
http://www.engeniustech.com/business/Directory/business...
The ens200 or enh200 are in about the same price range

Both these units have the electronics and the antenna together most the ones in the list you have are only antenna. You would still need to run a cable to some equipment and antenna cable is very expensive compared to ethernet cable.
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