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Extending range to another building

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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February 19, 2012 1:30:03 PM

Warning! This is long but I’m trying to be thorough

Ok guys I have been on a quest to search for a good and somewhat cheap way to extend my home wireless network. I am going to be a detailed as I can so you all can draw the best picture in your head. Also I would like to stress that I have very little knowledge of what the industries acronyms mean, so the more detailed you are the better and it will be greatly appreciated. I know how to set up a basic home network but that’s not saying much when it pretty much does it itself.

Here’s the thing. I have Comcast cable Internet hooked to a Linksys WRTS54GS. It is currently centrally located in the house and works great anywhere in the house (3300sq ft), so moving it to a better location in order to extend the signal shouldn’t be an issue. Approx. 160 feet away is a large shop my dad and I just completed and want wireless Internet. At 160 feet from the house, you are at the very front of the shop and then it goes back another 60 feet you will be entering the office where the computer is. The office is another 15 to 20 feet long giving a total length of 80 feet. So currently we are at 240 ish feet total. As stated above, I can move the home modem to a place that will be sitting on a window ledge facing the shop. 160 feet away is another window in the shop that I can put whatever device you guys recommend. The hopes are for that the recommended device can incorporate the entire shop of about 2600 sq feet so we can have laptops anywhere we want but mostly in the office

Now I heard of many different options repeaters, bigger antenna, second modem (which might be the repeater thing.) I just don’t know what exactly to do. I currently use a Macbook (mac haters please no comments ☺ ) and I can get a very faint signal from the home network as well as accessing the Internet but if I move a little or a slight breeze develops, then it goes away.

Cliff notes

I need to extend my signal with my Linksys WRTS54GS a total of 240 feet but I can place something in between that distance at the 160 foot marker, shorter than that it will be sitting in the driveway. Clear line of site and only have to go through two windows if that even matters.


Thanks so much
Jacob
February 19, 2012 4:40:40 PM

Would it be feasible to lay a run of CAT 5e cable in PVC conduit to the building, or do you need to do it with wireless? If cable would work, you can configure a wireless access point in that building that will cover it with a strong signal.
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February 19, 2012 9:49:10 PM

I need it to be wireless but thanks
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February 19, 2012 9:56:21 PM

Then your best bet is probably a directional antenna to a wireless bridge or repeater in that building and you may want to consider going to wireless N if you want any kind of speed out there. Of course, cheap makes it difficult, what kind of budget are you talking?
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February 20, 2012 4:30:40 PM

Well not too cheap. If we are talking thousands of dollars then we are going to have a problem. If we have to upgrade our wireless modem then that's fine. Your suggestions are great and I appreciate them, can you tell me which modems, direction antenna's and wireless bridge or repeater you would go with if you were in this situation.

Will the directional antenna be on the home modem and if so will I still get decent signal in the house?

Jacob
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February 20, 2012 9:12:59 PM

:)  No not thousands, but hundreds. Here is a good layout, although you do not need to use their products, they have some good antennae: http://hawkingtech.com/index.php/products/wireless/outd... (click on the How it Works tab).

I would use a pair of outdoor directional antennae, like these: http://hawkingtech.com/index.php/products/wireless/outd... (they are 89.99 each at Newegg) attached with an appropriate cable (as short as will work, like the HAC10N) at each end to your AP and bridge.
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February 20, 2012 11:57:41 PM

Great! So the pictures shows that I will need two antennas and three access/bridge modems and possible a better wireless modem than my current linksys? One thing, the access points between the modem and the antenna has an antenna on it as well. What signals is it sending out? Is it possible for a wireless modem to directly connect to the antenna? At the end of the picture the antenna is connected to an access point and that is connected to another access point. ( they have the same model number.) are they just being use in different configurations?
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February 21, 2012 1:07:43 AM

The idea of having a distinct wireless access point attached to the transmitting directional antenna is done in order to preserve the quality of your wireless in the main building. The idea of having a separate bridge to receive the signal is so that you can maintain bandwidth and not cut it by using a repeater. There are high end products that combine those functions but they are fairly costly.

By the way of example, each of the devices, router, AP, bridge, and outside building AP could all be done by several of the same router that you already have if using dd-wrt firmware and configured for that purpose. So with three more identical routers to what you have all running dd-wrt, two directional antennas, and some cables you could do your desired setup.

There are loads of tutorials both written and video on YouTube to configure dd-wrt to build the network. Take a look at THIS and THIS on how to configure a client bridge.

HERE is a link to the dd-wrt firmware and router compatibility.
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February 21, 2012 8:29:53 PM

So lets say I did buy 3 identical routes to the one I have and the two antennas. the firmware is all set up. Will I see any decrease in speed in the shop or will it be the same as in the house? Also you mentioned the N routers, are those just faster or do they have other advantages for doing what I'm trying to do?
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February 21, 2012 8:34:00 PM

N is faster and has longer range at 2.4GHz than G (dual band N won't help as it is fast but the 5GHz signal has shorter range), but with directional antennae and that set up your bandwidth and latency should be fine. In sum, I don't see any real advantage for you to go the more expensive N route.
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February 21, 2012 11:12:34 PM

ok great I really appreciate all of your information. I believe I have a good idea of what needs to be purchased. I viewed the youtube videos and it seemed to be straight forward. I will have to watch them a few times to get it right.

Thanks so much
Jacob M.
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