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Broadcast wifi 500 feet - what hardware?

savethelinoleum 1,555 1,338 September 27, 2010 at 11:35 AM
I've done some googling but want to double check with the SD family first.. I want to broadcast wifi from one house to another about 500 feet away. I need to go across a busy 2 lane street, and past three established trees. I'm thinking that with the trees and traffic as obstructions, I will probably need to put a WAP somewhere in between and/or boost the source signal on it's way over.

I have the asus 520GU with DD-WRT as the current 'main' router. My intention would be to hook that thing up to a "high gain" antenna, point it towards the destination house. Then I just need to setup another 520 with DD WRT and turn it into a WAP correct?

Should I use different equipment for the router and WAP?
Given how far I'm trying to go, anyone have a recommendation on an antenna for the source side?
Do I absolutely need to use an outdoor antenna or is there an effective indoor one (that I could place near a window on the porch for instance)
Do I need to upgrade the antenna on the WAP side?

FWIW, I have a big ass HDTV antenna that I need to actually go and hookup outside.. it's a UHF/VHF one made by panasonic that was about $100.. This would be at the destination house.. not sure if I could also use that to pull in the signal?

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#2
you'll need good antennas on both ends.

most antennas of this quality are already made for outdoor weatherpoofed mounting. That's the general use.

how established are these trees? and anyway to mount the APs any higher? You'll want the minimum obstructions. The signal is easily degraded and trees are killer.
The routers should work fine with tomato/dd-wrt running on them. But depending on the how dense those trees are, they maybe a little underpowered.

no way to use the tv antenna. The easiest is getting a directional (flat panel, or dish) antenna with pigtail for 2.4ghz routers. Also the router and antenna have to be very close to each other. You'll want the pigtail to be short (2ft max) unless you are using very very high quality cabling.
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Last edited by fyu September 27, 2010 at 11:44 AM.
#3
To be honest, this is a lot of work and no guarantee on whether it would work. You could get all the hardwares, hook them up then find out the signal couldn't reach that far. Also there are a tons of variables that might make this scenario a failure. All this so you could save about $30/m on internet bill? If your sole intention is to save money on internet bill, I would definitely recommend against it.
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#4
I could place the antenna in a window in the attic that is facing the right direction but its unconditioned space and in Indiana..that would be too cold for the router right? I can mount the antenna and ap on the second story of the destination house no problem. the trees are very established.

there's another house just about exactly half way that I could convince her to put in an AP but mounting an antenna would probably be pushing it.

my internet bill is $38/mo, which is $456 a year, and I have been putting it off for about 5 years on the thinking that it "might not make it"...kinda feels like it's worth trying over $2300. What made me think about it again is seeing the meritline deal on the front page, I went to their site and saw the 1 watt USB wireless adapter they have and read the review with the guy saying he picked up a signal 1/3 of a mile away with 85% of the max download speed for the connection.. I figured that if the technology had improved enough (wireless N for example), it might now be more feasible than in the past.
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Last edited by savethelinoleum September 27, 2010 at 11:57 AM.
#5
Since youre mounting them on the second story, the traffic shouldn't be too big a problem. Like they said above, the trees will be a major factor. Water is one of the worse disruptors of wireless signals, so you'd also have to plan for a poorer connection if it's raining/snowing heavily. Before you buy/hook up a bunch of antennas, you could always set up a router near the window of one, then check if you can see even the slightest signal in the other spot. It might also be helpful to use a program like Chanalyzer [metageek.net]to get some better detail than what windows gives you. My guess is that with an antenna you could get a connection, but the speed and reliability would be the larger issues.
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Last edited by Raven1245 September 27, 2010 at 12:19 PM.
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#6
Quote from savethelinoleum View Post :
I could place the antenna in a window in the attic that is facing the right direction but its unconditioned space and in Indiana..that would be too cold for the router right? I can mount the antenna and ap on the second story of the destination house no problem. the trees are very established.

there's another house just about exactly half way that I could convince her to put in an AP but mounting an antenna would probably be pushing it.

my internet bill is $38/mo, which is $456 a year, and I have been putting it off for about 5 years on the thinking that it "might not make it"...kinda feels like it's worth trying over $2300. What made me think about it again is seeing the meritline deal on the front page, I went to their site and saw the 1 watt USB wireless adapter they have and read the review with the guy saying he picked up a signal 1/3 of a mile away with 85% of the max download speed for the connection.. I figured that if the technology had improved enough (wireless N for example), it might now be more feasible than in the past.
would the middle house avoid the trees completely? (and maybe the cars?)
and is the house a newer house or an old brick house? if its newer, then the signal should be able to blast through it, and leaving it in the attic is fine. If its a newer house, then mounting everything inside should be fine. A panel antenna with a 6" pigtail to a router strapped to the back, and then connected via ethernet to another router with a panel strapped to it. Position one pair for each house.

Cold doesn't really hurt the routers much. Excessive heat will.
Also will power be easy to access?

But I'm still worried about the trees if you can't get around them. Though you said 3 trees. Hopefully they aren't in a line.

Btw, I'm guessing you can't pickup any sort of signal right now? Not even see the router's name in the wireless network list?
If you can, try to test how much closer you need to move to see the signal, and how much closer to maintain a decent connection. (be wary of Traffi. I don't want you wondering into traffic starting at your laptop.)
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#7
I just think the city is gonna be pissed if I run an ethernet cable attic to attic across the street Smilie I'm sure there's a reason why EVERYONE doesnt just do this, but as I'm looking at antenna's they make claims of huge range (18 dBi, 4500 feet for instance) [geeks.com] and even if that's in a vacuum hopefully I dont have to go and ax down anyone's trees Smilie What Im really hoping for is some specifics on the type of antennas I should be comparing for this application.

Quote from fyu View Post :
would the middle house avoid the trees completely? (and maybe the cars?)
you can see in the diagram I attached it's the middle house doesn't avoid anything... with just the regular asus router I can go to the middle house from my house on my laptop and maintain a signal... but since my connection is the one I want to eliminate, i think the harder part is just going from the new source house, across the busy street and to the middle house. I was hopin' someone would just say "yeah use a 10 dbi antenna and you should be fine" -wishful thinking. is there any advantage to using wireless N routers instead of wireless G for my application?
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Last edited by savethelinoleum September 27, 2010 at 12:29 PM.
#8
Well, even if you did run a cat5/6 cable across the street it has a maximum distance of 328 ft anyway unless you used a data extender which are pretty expensive too. Dealing with wireless at work, I'd recommend not even trying this because like everyone else; the trees are a big problem.

We're using Cisco units and even then we have issues. Wind, traffic, elevation, climate, and obstructions are our problems.
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#9
Quote from savethelinoleum View Post :
I just think the city is gonna be pissed if I run an ethernet cable attic to attic across the street Smilie I'm sure there's a reason why EVERYONE doesnt just do this, but as I'm looking at antenna's they make claims of huge range (18 dBi, 4500 feet for instance) [geeks.com] and even if that's in a vacuum hopefully I dont have to go and ax down anyone's trees Smilie What Im really hoping for is some specifics on the type of antennas I should be comparing for this application.



you can see in the diagram I attached it's the middle house doesn't avoid anything... with just the regular asus router I can go to the middle house from my house on my laptop and maintain a signal... but since my connection is the one I want to eliminate, i think the harder part is just going from the new source house, across the busy street and to the middle house. I was hopin' someone would just say "yeah use a 10 dbi antenna and you should be fine" -wishful thinking. is there any advantage to using wireless N routers instead of wireless G for my application?
whoops. I meant that setup to be within the attic of the middle house. Not running between houses. Since the panel antennas are directional. You'll need two router, and two antennas to go two directions.

EDIT: Didn't see your attached thumbnail. I browse slickdeals mobile. Reviewing the pic now.

Ok, from the diagram. If that's a pretty accurate of the positions, and the size of the trees with full leaves. Then it looks pretty doable. Its possible without the middle house. You may try this first, but I'm thinking you'll need the middle house.

Basically you'll have a router+antenna shooting to the middle house. It'll have the same setup to recieve. Then the middle house will have another router+antenna and send the signal to the final house. A similiar setup will be in the final house to recieve.

So you'll need 3 router+antenna combos, and 2 normal routers (1 for 1st house, and 1 for final house)

btw, what's your budget? decent quality antennas will run at least $50.

and don't go omni. Its not helpful in this case, and wastes a portion of your signal. Use directional. Panel antennas is the easiest.


lol. If only you were somewhere in KY. I could bring over a box full of routers, antennas and random equipment to test.
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Last edited by fyu September 27, 2010 at 01:03 PM.
#10
I have managed a few hundred feet with little more than an extender dish made out of paper and aluminum foil. I would run around the block streaming music to my tablet. I have also heard of people modding pringle cans for this. I am pretty sure you can get a signal that far, but keeping it stable will be horrid. I can't imagine the process you will go through resetting the connections or power cycling. Putting a wireless repeater on the middle, or destination house will certianly boost the signal, and help you use the signal throughout the house.

This system will be painfull, and likely not all too fast. Shelling out $30 a month may be a better way to go.
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#11
I'll bring out the link i always do for these topics: Guerrilla WiFi [orconhosting.net.nz]

You may not be interested in using something like this as a permanent installation but you may get some ideas to help focus your signal in the right direction for a proof of concept before you go out and buy a bunch of expensive antennas, etc...
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#12
Quote from wperry1 View Post :
I'll bring out the link i always do for these topics: Guerrilla WiFi [orconhosting.net.nz]
.
LOL "WIFRY","WOKFI" or "WOKTENNA"

Pretty cool.
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#13
your best bet with cheap mass-market consumer hardware is going to be getting one of the middle houses involved.

depending on the actual site plan.. you MIGHT be able to go direct from 'source' to 'destination' with outdoor PoE A/Ps w/ directional antennas on rooftop masts.. if you can get up and over at least the middle houses.
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Last edited by 2cheap4retail September 27, 2010 at 06:50 PM.
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#14
try sticking it near window i pick up others signals
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#15
OR, if you have a smart phone of any sort...you can always tether your phone to the laptop or computer. Newer smart phones have the capability of sharing their data as a wifi hotspot like the Verizon Mifi.
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