Need to create Wireless network to cover about ~100 yards

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Colb, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. Colb

    Colb LI Guru Member

    My parents want a wireless network for their home. The question came up if my sister can receive a quality signal for her mobile home(about 100 yards away), from my parents wireless network. There are a few trees in between, but the router can be setup in a second floor room of my parents as much as a straight shot as possible.

    I was thinking about a WRT54GX4 router to start off with in my parents home. From there I plan on testing the connection from a laptop at different locations to figure out how far the signal will reach. If the signal does not reach the mobile home, I was planning on putting an extender/repeater somewhere in the middle of the two homes(in a business), so the signal could reach the mobile home with a quality signal.

    I originally was going to get a WRE54G, but it has alot of bad reviews on newegg. Then I heard I can buy a WAP54G and make it work as an extender/repeater.

    So, what would you recommend for an extender/repeater, and wireless card for my sister's computer? Or any other type of connection configuration.?
  2. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    100 yards isn't that much range, though the trees could cause some issues (especially, from what I have read, if they are pine trees - pine needles just STOP signal cold).

    I'd get whatever form of wireless access point you want, then start with a directional antenna you can build from scrap at and "point" the signal to the mobile home.

    Understand that mobile homes are usually metal sided. I have a modular that has aluminum siding, and it's basically a Faraday cage - very little signal gets in. So you may need to put some form of repeater at a window at your sister's place, or get a wireless router like the WRT54GL that (with aftermarket firmware) can act as a wireless client, then she'll have 4 ports of wired Ethernet that she can use. Using a router would also give her better antennas than you usually find in wireless cards.
  3. Colb

    Colb LI Guru Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    Getting a router for the mobile home does sound like a better deal.....especially since a PC could be wired(or wireless) to the router, while a laptop could use the wireless.

    Is the WRT54GX4 a good start for the main router? Or is this overkill?
  4. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    I think the GX4 would probably be overkill. I'd look into a matched pair of WRT54GL's with aftermarket firmware (DD-WRT or HyperWRT Thibor) where you can play around with signal strength (start low and work your way up to the minimum necessary to do what you need!), and if your sister wants wireless in her mobile home, you could use WDS or a mode like that.

    Focus the signal with a antenna, and you should EASILY get signal over 100 yards if you have anywhere that is line of sight or light (non-pine) foliage that lines up to a window in her mobile home.

    With the WRT54GL or similar, they can run as a client, or they can run as a server, but they can't do both. They only have one radio. There is a "mixed" mode called WDS that allows them to do this, as long as both routers are aware of each other.

    If your sister wants full wireless coverage insude her mobile home, your best bet is to get two GL's with the same firmware, one at the main house and one at your sister's place, and configure them in WDS mode. If she's OK with a wired-only connection, then you simply put her router in "wireless client" mode and she has four Ethernet ports with Internet service.

    Keep in mind that depending on the Terms of Service of your Internet Service Provider, what you are proposing to do may not be sanctioned by your ISP, and you could face fines or termination if they ever found out about it, so be sure to check the rules governing your connection. Few of them are fans of the connection being shared among households.
  5. step-hen

    step-hen Network Guru Member

    @Nate: Since pine needles are about lambda/4 in size (correct me if I'm wrong) and contain lots of water & salts, that's completely understandable. Surprising at first glance though.

    @Colb: you want to cover your home *and* your sister's mobile at the same time if I understand you correctly? Well, antenna diversity should allow that (although sometimes it doesn't work as expected). What about using a directional antenna (circular polarization may work better) and an omni?
  6. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    Well, I don't know lambda from a hole in my head, but I read that the shape and size of them is just about right to reflect/hose up signal, so (being in Maine), I fired up my wireless router and went for a walk in the woods behind my house (with many pine and fir trees) and sure enough, the METAL WALLS of my aluminum sided modular house didn't completely stop the signal, but a pine tree or a fir tree killed it dead.

    "Needleless" to say, the proof is in the signal meter.
  7. Colb

    Colb LI Guru Member

    Im a little confused with your quote. For my sister's place, she has 1 PC, and 1 laptop. The laptop will be wireless. Since the router will be set up in the same room as the PC, I figured that running a wired connection to the PC would be better then the wireless.

    btw....just a few Oak trees block a direct signal if I set it up on the second floor.......... first floor setup would have to go around another mobile home to get to the second router. So I plan on getting a directional antenna and setting the router up in an unused room on the second floor.

    and the GX4.......would this be a good, best bet router for getting a good conection? 1 GX4 costs about the same as 2 WRT54GL's.......but if the GX4's technology will last longer i think my parents would go for that.
  8. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    OK, let's start at the main house.

    You're talking about sharing an Internet connection here. Unless you have insane needs, 802.11b's 11mbps will probably be overkill. So the "technology lasting longer" is, I think, a moot point. Personally, I'd rather have a tried-and-true WRT54GL I can load aftermarket firmware on and have advanced features. Your call, though your decision may be influenced by the next discussion.

    Now, on to your sister's place:

    The WRT54GL is equipped with one and only one radio. That radio is usually an access point. However, with the WRT54GL running aftermarket firmware, the router can also use that radio to connect as a client to another access point. When it does this, the radio cannot be used to provide a new access point at the same time. One radio, one function.

    So, using a standard access point at the main house, your sister would need TWO WRT54GL's at her place, configured as follows:

    Internet -> Main House Router (WIFI) -> (CLIENT WIFI) Sister's Router 1 (LAN) -> (WAN) Sister's Router 2 (WIFI) -> Sister's Laptop


    If you get a WRT54GL in the main house, and a WRT54GL in line of sight to it at your sister's place, you can configure them in a special mode called WDS, which allows both WRT54GL units to "cooperate" rather than just having a Wifi client and Wifi server:

    Internet -> Main House Router (WIFI/WDS) -> (WIFI/WDS) Sister's Router.

    All wireless clients in both the main house and your sister's house can connect on one seamless network. Any computers in either house can plug into any of the Ethernet LAN ports on either router and be on that same seamless network.
  9. Colb

    Colb LI Guru Member

    Thanks for that explanation. :thumb:

    So is there any hardware with 2 radios?
  10. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    Repeaters frequently have two radios, and Linksys at one point made a mini router that had a strong radio to connect to a WiFi network then a weaker radio for the local wireless network, intended as a router/repeater for hotel room use. But, frankly, I don't know how strong the radios are.

    I'd start with a good wireless router at the main house and see what kind of signal strength you get in the mobile home.
  11. Colb

    Colb LI Guru Member

    Thanks for the help! :thumbup:
  12. LordFlux

    LordFlux Network Guru Member

    I'm sharing my network with my brother using a WAP54GX at my house and a WAP54G w/amp+Cantenna at his house. Cool thing is, his house is about 300 feet away from me and there's about 15 pine trees in the way. A very impressive feat in my opinion... we're getting about 5mbps throughput.

    The WAP54G (in client mode) has no trouble transferring data to the WAP54GX.
  13. DaveMcLain

    DaveMcLain Network Guru Member

    Right now I'm doing about the same thing, sharing a high speed connection from our shop to a house about 150ft away.

    I'm uisng the WRT54G version 5 with a set of high gain antennas that I bought off of E-Bay. The router is set up in a window ledge of our shop with the antennas sticking sraight up. The signal travels across a yard where it's picked up with a wre54, wireless range extender that sets in the window of the house. This catches and boosts the signal so that it can reach another 30ft or so through several rooms in the house to the office.

    This system works very good actually when you think about how I'm using a $50 router, range extender and wireless cards from Wal Mart and or E-Bay.

    The connection is about 95% reliable, it seems to be the most vulnerable to interference in the morning, afternoons, evenings and esspecially nighttime are just about perfect.

    The high gain antennas for the router were a very good investment and I recommend them highly because they increased the reliability of this setup from barely useable to quite good.
  14. t4thfavor

    t4thfavor Network Guru Member

    WDS is your most cost effective solution. Especially f there are only oak trees in the way. get some wrt54gL's and make it happen with some dd-wrt of hyperwrt.

    I have one on each end of my property and get flawless coverage from end to end.
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