600' cable run

I have a house in the mountains of western North Carolina. After hitting dead ends with trying to get cable or DSL internet service (satellite isn't really an option for what I need due to the latency and bandwidth caps), I may have finally found a viable option to get internet via wireless. A company called Skyrunner has antennas on several of the mountains in the area and all I need to do is be able to get line-of-sight to one of their towers.

This is a bit harder than I expected with the woods all around, but I have found a spot where I could mount the antenna at the far end of my property. The problem is that the antenna would be mounted 600' from the house. I know that CAT 5/6 has a limit of 100m. Can anyone think of any options to link up the antenna to the house?

I have also started to look at fiber, but I would need converter boxes on each end and the converter boxes would require power, which would require a 600' run from the house. This is starting to get expensive.

I assume I would get horrible latency and error rates if I just ran a solid 600' CAT 6 cable.

Any other ideas out there?
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  1. You're right, once a CAT5 or CAT6 cable reaches over 100' you will start to experience a higher latency and packet loss.

    In theory you could run that 600' line from your antenna to your home, but as i said before you will experience high latency issues and packet loss due to the extreme length of the run cable.

    Another option that i could suggest (unfortunately its more expensive) would be to 1) have the cable run underground instead of above ground, and 2) purchase approx 6-10 routers and have them stored in water/damp proof boxes underground which the lines will be connected to. Have them all connected in a straight line. As i said before, this is a more costly solution, but if your willing to spend a little more $$ it might be worth it. The routers should be roughly 80' away from the next one down the line. What they would do, is keep the signal strong and make sure that no packets are lost during the transmission process. You will still experience high latency regardless of what you do due to the length of the cable, but this method will eliminate packet loss.

    If you need a diagram to further explain what i mean then i will make one for you, just reply.
  2. Thanks, novasynth.
    I may have to consider this option. However, the CAT6 spec says 100 meters, not feet, right? If so, I might be able to accomplish this with one or at most 2 intermediate routers.

    I also saw elsewhere that someone recommended coax for long distances, but then I guess I still have the issue of having a converter at the far end which would need electricity.

  3. most likely.

    The coax cable just might work, infact i never actually thought of using that. You will need a transmitter and a reciever though to ensure that the signal is sent and converted into the language your router / computer will understand ;). Instead of sending a video transmission, the cable will simply transmit TCP/UDP packets.

    you can read up on coax cables and such here
  4. An antenna would not be using an ethernet cable, it would probably be coax. Why not ask the company providing the service what you should use?

    Have you looked at a cell modem? While many carriers have limits, you may be able to find something usable. I think T-Mobile is true unlimited data.
  5. I checked with the wireless internet provider and all of their antennas have ethernet connections, not coax (which I found surprising).
    And unfortunately, due to the mountains all around, most of the cell carriers have pretty spotty coverage in this area and the data speeds are not sufficient for what I need for work.

    Now I'm beginning to consider finding a used antenna mast which would help me get over the trees and locate it closer to the house. Still not cheap, but may be less hassle than the other options.
  6. Best answer

    I do question what active component will actually be receiving the signal you are seeking to use. An antenna itself will not supply anything to your system. There must be a receiver too. That device will also need power and protection from the elements.

    If you need to power a remote antenna/receiver that will output to Ethernet, then just run outdoor-rated electric wire (overhead*) to the location and use a Wireless WiFi router to get the signal back home. Be sure to use a very lightly fused, GFI protected circuit (fires in the mountains are such a bummer). 600'+ of wire and a wireless router is the cheapest and probably most dependable system you can ask for. A used/(no good?) small apartment/studio refrigerator makes a nice insulated weather-proof enclosure in the woods for the equipment.

    If you are really going to run 600' of Cat5e, then get an outdoor repeater like this one
    HERE or similar.

    *overhead because rodents like to chew the insulation off wire. These days, some wire insulation is made from vegetable oils (cheaper) instead of petroleum so the insulation is actually food for critters that chew). :(
  7. Best answer selected by jeastbur.
  8. Thanks, tigsounds.
    SkyRunner uses Power over Ethernet to run the antenna receiver. Knowing that, I think the best option will be to install an outdoor PoE repeater to extend the range.

    I plan to trench the line between the antenna and the house, so hopefully having it buried 4-6" will be enough to prevent animals from snacking on the cable insulation.

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
  9. I wanted to post a followup to this thread.

    Skyrunner came out and installed the antenna and receiver on Saturday. I was able to get line of sight to their tower from one spot which was about 400' from the house. Skyrunner uses Power-over-Ethernet to power the receiver and they brought a more powerful power injector to try. We decided to run the cable, test it, and if needed, split it into two runs with a PoE repeater in the middle (they were able to install a PoE repeater at a very reasonable cost along with a Hoffman box to house it).
    They used a high-grade CAT 5E cable and we saw no signal degradation over the 400' run (this made me happy because this was the cheapest option).

    Here are some pictures of the installed receiver that is pointed at their tower 5 miles away on top of Tryon Peak near Asheville, NC.
    I HIGHLY recommend Skyrunner for anyone looking for broadband in western NC. Everyone I talked to at the company is extremely helpful and the technology they are using is quite incredible. Their throughput test on my receiver yielded 30Mbps down and 25Mbps up. Of course, I am only paying for the 6/2Mbps plan, but nice to know what it is capable of.

  10. Awsome ! What a great company. Now if they would only come down to Venezuela...

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