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Long range (5+ miles) directional WiFi signal boosting?

Hello all,

I have a possible project that I would like to work on and need some advice/input. My work blocks things like personal email accounts, gmail calendars, etc. It's very frustrating when I'm working technical coverage (engineer) during a start-up process on the night shift (12am-8am). I really don't get a lot done during this period and I'm just there in case anything goes wrong and it's extremely boring 99% of the time. I just bought a laptop and was trying to get creative as to how to get internet access without going through my work (secure) connection. I've already explored tethering from my iPhone and I'm still considering it, but it will probably severely limit bandwidth or it will cost a fortune.

I work approximately 4.1 miles (LOS) from my apartment. I live on the top floor (3rd floor) and my balcony faces directly towards my office. The only thing between the two are trees mostly. I'm wondering if I can get something like a wifi high-gain, low loss, directional antenna connected to my router. I've found one that claims over 6 miles with low LOS issues:

http://www.buy.com/prod/outdoor-wifi-grid-24dbi-ultra-directional-antenna-kit-w-low-loss-40ft/224777181.html

It's actually relatively affordable if I can pickup the signal from work using just my standard internal wifi adapter in my laptop. Or another small adapter booster to help pickup the signal.

Does this sound feasible? Any flaws in my plan? Will the tree coverage between points cause a massive/small signal loss? Will my existing internal laptop adapter pick up the signal? Will the antenna only work in ideal weather conditions?

Any input would be GREATLY appreciated! :D
13 answers Last reply
More about long range miles directional wifi signal boosting
  1. to be able to communicate between two locations 5 miles apart would require a directional antenna at each location.

    the internal antenna of a laptop might be able to pickup the signal from the directional antenna but cannot send out a strong enough signal which would reach that directional antenna. Usually the max distance for a N-network card outdoors is about 850 ft.

    tethering might be an option but you better check with the service provider. Some providers will switch you to a different plan if you use tethering on your phone. Usually an extra $20 to $30 a month
  2. It's all about what you are willing to spend.

    You could install your own point-to-point microwave specifically designed for what you want to do.

    A pair of Ubiquiti airMAX Nanobridge M units will do what you want. They can use TDMA in a point-to-point situation with an advertised range of 20 km. I use 4 of these and my longest hop is 41 km (26 miles) with perfect results. I use the larger 16 inch dishes. In the TDMA mode, there is near-zero latency and nobody is going to leech off of you either.

    They are PoE powered (injector is included) and setup is performed using a built-in webpage type interface similar to any router. This is carrier-class equipment.

    Cost: about U.S. $80.00 each on Ebay. Search for "Nanobridge M."

    The Ubiquiti site is
    HERE. Click on the Nanobridge M picture-link under the words "Airmax antennas."

    They are available in 4 versions: 900 Mhz, 2.4 Ghz, 3 Ghz, and 5 Ghz. and no license is required in most countries.

    It is also possible to use just one unit as a standard Wifi receiver, AP, or bridge.


    Edit:

    Quote:
    Does this sound feasible? Any flaws in my plan? Will the tree coverage between points cause a massive/small signal loss? Will my existing internal laptop adapter pick up the signal? Will the antenna only work in ideal weather conditions?

    Yes, thick tree coverage is a stopper.
    No, your laptop built-in antenna is useless in your situation.
    Weather is not a factor except if dry trees don't kill the signal, wet trees might. It depends on the density of the trees. Since the Nanobridge is powered over the Ethernet line, it can be located 100M away so maybe a dish on the roof?
  3. tigsounds said:

    A pair of Ubiquiti airMAX Nanobridge M units will do what you want. They can use TDMA in a point-to-point situation with an advertised range of 20 km. I use 4 of these and my longest hop is 41 km (26 miles) with perfect results. I use the larger 16 inch dishes. In the TDMA mode, there is near-zero latency and nobody is going to leech off of you either.




    So your longest hop from one dish to the next is 26 miles? Or all 4 dishes combined adds up to a length of 26 miles?

    I really would like to get faster internet from intown to where I live but want to do it for a reasonable amount of money and time. Also I am completely new to networking of any sort.

    If you know of a good page or information on this topic it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
  4. Matt Berger said:
    tigsounds said:

    A pair of Ubiquiti airMAX Nanobridge M units will do what you want. They can use TDMA in a point-to-point situation with an advertised range of 20 km. I use 4 of these and my longest hop is 41 km (26 miles) with perfect results. I use the larger 16 inch dishes. In the TDMA mode, there is near-zero latency and nobody is going to leech off of you either.




    So your longest hop from one dish to the next is 26 miles? Or all 4 dishes combined adds up to a length of 26 miles?

    I really would like to get faster internet from intown to where I live but want to do it for a reasonable amount of money and time. Also I am completely new to networking of any sort.

    If you know of a good page or information on this topic it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks


    I get 1000 km between two dishes, but I had Harry Potter help align the dishes through magic
  5. Note: this is not an answer. Just another question...

    It seems like 'tgsounds' has good knowledge and technical know-how regarding WiFi and wireless communication. Pls be kind enough to provide advise on the following.

    As you have given the link, I've check the Nanobridge and its really interesting. But before buy those devices I'd like to ask for some guideline.

    So my requirement is to reach public WiFi network which I'm receiving very poor signal outside my house. As you have mentioned I'd like to use the parabolic antenna as a receiver and input its signal into a range extender or a AP. So all my devices can access the net from inside the house.

    Since I'm trying to reach a public WiFi network, I just can't access their router/ AP nor the antenna. So I've purchased a Yagi directional external antenna and connect it to my laptop. But there was no improvement on signal reception. Now I'm thinking of buying a 2W WiFi signal booster/ amplifier to use with my Yagi antenna or purchase the Nanobridge parabolic antenna. Pls provide any information or any suggestions regarding this setup and any diagram or guidelines...

    Thanks and sorry if I submit my question in inappropriate place...

    Sam.
  6. Samy7b9 said:
    Note: this is not an answer. Just another question...

    It seems like 'tgsounds' has good knowledge and technical know-how regarding WiFi and wireless communication. Pls be kind enough to provide advise on the following.

    As you have given the link, I've check the Nanobridge and its really interesting. But before buy those devices I'd like to ask for some guideline.

    So my requirement is to reach public WiFi network which I'm receiving very poor signal outside my house. As you have mentioned I'd like to use the parabolic antenna as a receiver and input its signal into a range extender or a AP. So all my devices can access the net from inside the house.

    Since I'm trying to reach a public WiFi network, I just can't access their router/ AP nor the antenna. So I've purchased a Yagi directional external antenna and connect it to my laptop. But there was no improvement on signal reception. Now I'm thinking of buying a 2W WiFi signal booster/ amplifier to use with my Yagi antenna or purchase the Nanobridge parabolic antenna. Pls provide any information or any suggestions regarding this setup and any diagram or guidelines...

    Thanks and sorry if I submit my question in inappropriate place...

    Sam.


    You really should not add these to old threads they are not read by many people. If you already tried a yagi and so no improvement you likely can not solve your problem. You generally need directional antenna on both ends when you try to go any distance. You have already tried the only solution that has any possibility.
    Other versions of directional antenna will not likely work a lot better.

    A 2watt amplifier is illegal and amplifiers only work very specific situations. The main problem with amplifiers is they amplify both the signal you want as well as all the noise and interference. It would likely be cheaper to buy internet that to buy a quality 2watt amplifier. It is extremely hard to build a quality amplifier than can put out that much power and most reputable dealers that sell them know you must have a license to transmit that much power so they won't even talk to you.
  7. tigsounds said:
    It's all about what you are willing to spend.

    You could install your own point-to-point microwave specifically designed for what you want to do.

    A pair of Ubiquiti airMAX Nanobridge M units will do what you want. They can use TDMA in a point-to-point situation with an advertised range of 20 km. I use 4 of these and my longest hop is 41 km (26 miles) with perfect results. I use the larger 16 inch dishes. In the TDMA mode, there is near-zero latency and nobody is going to leech off of you either.

    They are PoE powered (injector is included) and setup is performed using a built-in webpage type interface similar to any router. This is carrier-class equipment.

    Cost: about U.S. $80.00 each on Ebay. Search for "Nanobridge M."

    The Ubiquiti site is
    HERE. Click on the Nanobridge M picture-link under the words "Airmax antennas."

    They are available in 4 versions: 900 Mhz, 2.4 Ghz, 3 Ghz, and 5 Ghz. and no license is required in most countries.

    It is also possible to use just one unit as a standard Wifi receiver, AP, or bridge.


    Edit:

    Quote:
    Does this sound feasible? Any flaws in my plan? Will the tree coverage between points cause a massive/small signal loss? Will my existing internal laptop adapter pick up the signal? Will the antenna only work in ideal weather conditions?

    Yes, thick tree coverage is a stopper.
    No, your laptop built-in antenna is useless in your situation.
    Weather is not a factor except if dry trees don't kill the signal, wet trees might. It depends on the density of the trees. Since the Nanobridge is powered over the Ethernet line, it can be located 100M away so maybe a dish on the roof?




    This sounds like total BULL. If you want to make a 25 mile link between transceivers, the antennas at EACH END need to be 150 feet high to compensate for the curvature of the earth ( Fresnel Zone)! And yhou will most likely need a zoning permit to have a tower that high. You will also be required to have a tower light operating 24/7 or face a stiff fine from the FAA. Instead of pushing a device that can't do the job and promoting Ubiquity, why not just tell the truth???
  8. coupdgras said:
    tigsounds said:
    It's all about what you are willing to spend.

    You could install your own point-to-point microwave specifically designed for what you want to do.

    A pair of Ubiquiti airMAX Nanobridge M units will do what you want. They can use TDMA in a point-to-point situation with an advertised range of 20 km. I use 4 of these and my longest hop is 41 km (26 miles) with perfect results. I use the larger 16 inch dishes. In the TDMA mode, there is near-zero latency and nobody is going to leech off of you either.

    They are PoE powered (injector is included) and setup is performed using a built-in webpage type interface similar to any router. This is carrier-class equipment.

    Cost: about U.S. $80.00 each on Ebay. Search for "Nanobridge M."

    The Ubiquiti site is
    HERE. Click on the Nanobridge M picture-link under the words "Airmax antennas."

    They are available in 4 versions: 900 Mhz, 2.4 Ghz, 3 Ghz, and 5 Ghz. and no license is required in most countries.

    It is also possible to use just one unit as a standard Wifi receiver, AP, or bridge.


    Edit:

    Quote:
    Does this sound feasible? Any flaws in my plan? Will the tree coverage between points cause a massive/small signal loss? Will my existing internal laptop adapter pick up the signal? Will the antenna only work in ideal weather conditions?

    Yes, thick tree coverage is a stopper.
    No, your laptop built-in antenna is useless in your situation.
    Weather is not a factor except if dry trees don't kill the signal, wet trees might. It depends on the density of the trees. Since the Nanobridge is powered over the Ethernet line, it can be located 100M away so maybe a dish on the roof?




    This sounds like total BULL. If you want to make a 25 mile link between transceivers, the antennas at EACH END need to be 150 feet high to compensate for the curvature of the earth ( Fresnel Zone)! And yhou will most likely need a zoning permit to have a tower that high. You will also be required to have a tower light operating 24/7 or face a stiff fine from the FAA. Instead of pushing a device that can't do the job and promoting Ubiquity, why not just tell the truth???



    Many places in my part of the country are line-of-sight out to 50 miles or more. If I cared to put a repeater on the hill out back, I could probably double that. Not all of us a flatlanders.
  9. jjudge said:
    coupdgras said:
    tigsounds said:
    It's all about what you are willing to spend.

    You could install your own point-to-point microwave specifically designed for what you want to do.

    A pair of Ubiquiti airMAX Nanobridge M units will do what you want. They can use TDMA in a point-to-point situation with an advertised range of 20 km. I use 4 of these and my longest hop is 41 km (26 miles) with perfect results. I use the larger 16 inch dishes. In the TDMA mode, there is near-zero latency and nobody is going to leech off of you either.

    They are PoE powered (injector is included) and setup is performed using a built-in webpage type interface similar to any router. This is carrier-class equipment.

    Cost: about U.S. $80.00 each on Ebay. Search for "Nanobridge M."

    The Ubiquiti site is
    HERE. Click on the Nanobridge M picture-link under the words "Airmax antennas."

    They are available in 4 versions: 900 Mhz, 2.4 Ghz, 3 Ghz, and 5 Ghz. and no license is required in most countries.

    It is also possible to use just one unit as a standard Wifi receiver, AP, or bridge.


    Edit:

    Quote:
    Does this sound feasible? Any flaws in my plan? Will the tree coverage between points cause a massive/small signal loss? Will my existing internal laptop adapter pick up the signal? Will the antenna only work in ideal weather conditions?

    Yes, thick tree coverage is a stopper.
    No, your laptop built-in antenna is useless in your situation.
    Weather is not a factor except if dry trees don't kill the signal, wet trees might. It depends on the density of the trees. Since the Nanobridge is powered over the Ethernet line, it can be located 100M away so maybe a dish on the roof?




    This sounds like total BULL. If you want to make a 25 mile link between transceivers, the antennas at EACH END need to be 150 feet high to compensate for the curvature of the earth ( Fresnel Zone)! And yhou will most likely need a zoning permit to have a tower that high. You will also be required to have a tower light operating 24/7 or face a stiff fine from the FAA. Instead of pushing a device that can't do the job and promoting Ubiquity, why not just tell the truth???



    Many places in my part of the country are line-of-sight out to 50 miles or more. If I cared to put a repeater on the hill out back, I could probably double that. Not all of us a flatlanders.


    It is not as simple as you think. He makes a very good point about the fresnel zone. This is related to the expansion of the signal. Go play with some of the online calculators and you will soon find why cell phone companies put up such all towers. Sure you "might" get lucky and a hill be properly located but you still have to be a certain distance above even the surface of the hill.
  10. Quote:
    This sounds like total BULL. If you want to make a 25 mile link between transceivers, the antennas at EACH END need to be 150 feet high to compensate for the curvature of the earth ( Fresnel Zone)! And yhou will most likely need a zoning permit to have a tower that high. You will also be required to have a tower light operating 24/7 or face a stiff fine from the FAA. Instead of pushing a device that can't do the job and promoting Ubiquity, why not just tell the truth???


    Zoning permit? "FAA" You are in the United States, I can smell your stench from here. You people think yours is the only place on earth where people live, arrogant bastards. I don't "Push" Ubiquiti airMAX products, I "recommend" them because they work and are durable. I have also used absolute junk made by Mikrotik that should be shoved up the company president's arse. I live in Venezuela and go over mountains to get internet and a 150 foot tower here is a source of curiosity therefore a risk, and way too short to do me any good. Come on down here and I'll show you the ingenuity it takes to get internet 40 miles from the source. Better yet, just stay in Kansas Dorothy, you'll stay safe there. Don't tell me about your permits and agencies, here, money talks and BS walks and a good gun in steady hands helps.
  11. I also live in Venezuela, my house is just outside the range of the sat internet provided by the government to the school, this is th eonly signal available, no cel coverage, what would you recommend to get the signal?
  12. Hey everyone calm down here or this thread will be locked and short bans will possibly be issued. I'll have the moderation team keep close tabs on this thread to make sure it doesn't get any more out of hand.
  13. Erm - anyone noticed the date of the OP?

    Hi Tig - long time no see.

    Rjbmed - we can see IP addresses, you know.
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