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Sharing Wireless with 2 Neighboring Houses?

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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April 4, 2010 8:24:17 PM

Me, my nextdoor neighbor (40 yards max), and my neighbor directly across the street (75 yards) each still have dial-up Internet, those two on AOL and me on NetZero. If viewed from above, the locations of the 3 single-story brick houses would form a right triangle. We were discussing the possiblility of sharing one cable Broadband Internet connection. However, none of us have ever used wireless and we don't have the foggiest idea of where to start, what equipment we need, and how to connect our computers together. I'm sure we would need routers and wifi antennas, but which ones and do we EACH need them? And how can we secure/encrypt the connection so that only the 3 of us can use it?

As I stated, we're total novices so if you use a lot of acronyms or tech jargon you'll probably lose us. Can you just tell us in plain english what we need to add to our respective computers, suggest some models that would be adequate for our purposes, and give us some general idea how to do the setups to make the connections?

Did I mention we're NOVICES???

If it makes any difference, I'm using a Dell desktop and the neighbors both use PC laptops. I think we all have Windows XP home edition. I use McAfee Total Protection 2010; not sure what particular anti-virus software the other two use.
April 5, 2010 8:28:32 AM

joshhemming said:
Me, my nextdoor neighbor (40 yards max), and my neighbor directly across the street (75 yards) each still have dial-up Internet, those two on AOL and me on NetZero. If viewed from above, the locations of the 3 single-story brick houses would form a right triangle. We were discussing the possiblility of sharing one cable Broadband Internet connection. However, none of us have ever used wireless and we don't have the foggiest idea of where to start, what equipment we need, and how to connect our computers together. I'm sure we would need routers and wifi antennas, but which ones and do we EACH need them? And how can we secure/encrypt the connection so that only the 3 of us can use it?

As I stated, we're total novices so if you use a lot of acronyms or tech jargon you'll probably lose us. Can you just tell us in plain english what we need to add to our respective computers, suggest some models that would be adequate for our purposes, and give us some general idea how to do the setups to make the connections?

Did I mention we're NOVICES???

If it makes any difference, I'm using a Dell desktop and the neighbors both use PC laptops. I think we all have Windows XP home edition. I use McAfee Total Protection 2010; not sure what particular anti-virus software the other two use.



To save you money, you need an obliging friend who already owns a wireless router. Without even bothering to plug it into the telephone system, that friend needs to power it up and in your property then you need to check that the laptops in the other two houses can "see" the signal it transmits. The reason for doing it that way round is because your PC probably doesn't have a wireless transmitter but can be cabled to the router. The laptops, however, probably do have wireless built in and so long as they are enabled, they should be able to determine whether the signal is getting through.

All that said, 75 yards is a fair distance and the signal could be interrupted by any number of things, not tej least of which is automated light-sensing street lighting equipment but it's worth a try at no expense.



April 5, 2010 6:20:34 PM

After reading your reply a second time, I think I understand what you're suggesting: Hook a wireless router to my desktop PC (USB connection?), power it and my PC up and see if either of my neighbors' laptops can see my signal. Makes sense so far. There's clear line of sight to my neighbor across the street, unless a truck is parked between us. Can you suggest a model of wireless router for us? I don't think I'll be able to borrow one; might have to buy one instead. Do they all have antennas built in?

What I'm not sure of, and probably my neighbors won't either, is what you mean by "see" my router's signal. What exactly should they see on their laptops if my signal is getting through? Will there be a special icon on their monitor? I'm sure there's not a window that will appear which says "I'm getting Josh's signal!"
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April 5, 2010 7:33:03 PM

1 router hooked up to the fast connection,and an adapter for the other 2 computers!
in business!
April 5, 2010 7:37:06 PM

joshhemming said:
After reading your reply a second time, I think I understand what you're suggesting: Hook a wireless router to my desktop PC (USB connection?), power it and my PC up and see if either of my neighbors' laptops can see my signal. Makes sense so far. There's clear line of sight to my neighbor across the street, unless a truck is parked between us. Can you suggest a model of wireless router for us? I don't think I'll be able to borrow one; might have to buy one instead. Do they all have antennas built in?

What I'm not sure of, and probably my neighbors won't either, is what you mean by "see" my router's signal. What exactly should they see on their laptops if my signal is getting through? Will there be a special icon on their monitor? I'm sure there's not a window that will appear which says "I'm getting Josh's signal!"



All wireless routers will have an antenna built-in but you might, in your circumstances, benefit from an extended aerial. I won't recommend one if you don't mind - the US market is a totally different beast with which I'm not familiar.

When you set up the router, if you call the SSID (acronym for network identity) as, say, JoshNet, your neighbours will see an icon in the Notification Area or systray saying Wireless networks are available. They click wherever (depending on version of Windows) to see which ones are and yours will be one of them. Provide them with the security key and the input that and connect. If you aren't too worried about security just for the experiment, leave the network unsecured and there'll be no need for a security key.


April 5, 2010 7:44:11 PM

OK, I've never used a wireless router but I know what it is. The Adapter....don't have a clue. Is it like a simplified router? And is it called "Wireless Adapter"? Do you think we'd still need wifi antennas, given the max 75 yard distance?

Another question I just thought of: does the router have built-in encryption, or will we have to purchase some add'l software to secure our 3-station network? I've heard people talking about keys or network passwords....don't know how to go about that.
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