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house to garage=100'
I am trying to set up wireless internet for my local auto mechanic. He already has DSL in his home with a wireless router which works all over his yard(1.5acres). However, we can not get signal inside his garage which is 100' from the house. He must have good internet access in the shop for business e-mail and for his automotive service programs which update daily.
I've already suggested either a second phone line for the business(he already has a cellphone for the business only), or cable internet(he had this at one time, but had bad experience with cable company which is why he now has dsl).
I have tried two different range extenders(a booster antenna and a repeater), neither of which worked well. Actually, the antenna didn't work at all and the repeater was unreliable. I can't keep trying $50+ products until we find one that works.
Since the manufacturers won't put true range capabilities in the specs, I mainly need to know what specs to look for that would tell me if the product would achieve 100% reliability.
If you are within 100' use a exterior grade ethernet cable and run a wired connection. My guess is the autoshop is a metal building or for some other reason there is enough noise you can't get a clean signal inside the shop. Going with a wired connection from a router in the house would be best. If it must be wireless you'll need to get a bridge and at least one external antenna on the auto shop end. We picked up a Linksys WRT54G router with DD-WRT firmware on it off of ebay for about $60 and an antenna, cables and adapters for another $100. We are picking up a remote wireless source with this set-up from 700' away. Once in a while its performance is weak but always better than dial-up, satellite and 99% of the time better than 3G. Our performance drops off when we run out microwave so the interference you may be getting can come from anywhere at anytime.
Lastly, make sure the router you are trying to pick up is facing on the same side of the house as the building and preferably in a window. The more line of sight the better.
The shop is concrete block with a metal roof. The signal must go through three house walls, across about 85' of yard, then through the outside wall of the shop. I know this is asking a lot for wireless, but it must be done.
I thought about running the ethernet cable(would actually provide the best performance and reliability), but they nixed the idea(no more holes in the walls of the house).
The extender and antenna seems to be the way to go, but I still have no idea what specs to look for. They won't let me go the trial and error route. This stuff runs from $50-??hundred so I pretty much have one shot at it.
Like I stated in the first post, the manufacturers won't put true range capabilities on the products so I need to know what else to look for when choosing the equipment.
Last edited by lostcowhand; 02-09-2010 at 01:11 AM..
No more holes in the walls (ridiculous)
Even with a wireless solution there may be a need for a wire to go outside of the home for the external antenna. So you are down to one choice as I see it. Put a router or a repeater on the side of the house nearest the shop (again preferably in a window). Pick up the repeater/router at the shop with a router on the house side of the shop (again preferably in a window) and it should work. IMHO you have trouble specifying what the range will be with a certain manufacturers equipment because of what is going on here. 802.11 really, really wants LOS. You can get away with some obstructions sometimes but the fewer the better for sure. The situation you describe is why manufacturers can't say what the range will be for sure since there are an infinite number of variables that will impact. Going 85' indoors through three walls, then across 100' of open air and then through a concrete wall will provide unpredictable results at best.
Tell your customer 802.11 range for indoor is typically 100' for outdoor it is 300'.
If they don't want trial and error they need to run a wire. Otherwise, buy a Linksys WRT54G router flashed with DD-WRT firmware to use as a repeater on the shop side of the house and a wireless router for the house side of the shop and cross your fingers. You may still need to put an external antenna which means a hole in the house. Or go with a wire out a hole in the house and be done. I feel your client is being ridiculous about the hole. There are a ton of people in more rural areas of this country (myself included) that would kill to have a solid internet connection within 300' of where they want it. If I had this option I'd decide to drill the hole is half a heartbeat.
Explain to them the limitations of 802.11 stated above and that to go wireless without holes in the house may not be possible given this specific application. Tell them that everyone who has a wireless connection would prefer to connect via wire. Although wireless technology is neat and does work it does require a higher investment and operating cost than a wired connection would. Wireless your are looking at between $100 and $250 in equipment and albeit small continuous power consumption and the risk of needing to replace failed equipment. If you went wired they'd could buy the wire and conduit for this amount and not equipment replacement hassles or additional power consumption. Wire is the obvious choice. Good luck.
Let me clarify some parts:
I've gone over all the problems with them 100times already, I have to go with what they want. They simply don't want any more holes in their new siding. Not to mention the fact that 100'+ of Outdoor Rated Ethernet Cable, plus trenching it across 85' of yard will cost more than the wireless equipment(that was my first suggestion, and we did the math).
Their setup is as follows:
Dsl modem and router inside the house pretty close to the center of the house(so that the family's laptops work all over the house).
Center of house to outside wall=15'
Yard between house and shop=85'
No window in the house wall between house and shop(that's the bathroom, so no router or repeater in there anyway).
My idea is to have a strong range extender in the house(blast through the walls), then an outdoor antenna at the shop.
I understand Why the manufacturers won't publish range specs, that's why I asked What Other Specs to look for to determine Which Model(s) will do the job Before I order it. The stores here have almost nothing on the shelf, I will Have to order it.
Again, thanks...we're getting there.
Last edited by lostcowhand; 02-10-2010 at 02:12 AM..
Bridge and better antenna
Ok I reread the posts and have two options for you.
I don't think you need a range extender because from what you stated previously the signal is getting outside of the house. It just isn't making into the shop.
We use a Linksys WRT54G we bought of of ebay with DD-WRT firmware already installed. I have a 14dbi external antenna connected to it and we connect to a router with a stock antenna 700' away.
You can buy replacement omni antennas that with thread right onto the back of the house router and the shop router/bridge. These are usually 9dbi which are far better than the 3dbi stock antennas. This may work if you can put the shop router/bridge in a window facing the house. Instead of this you can get an external antenna to connect to the shop router/bridge and you may or may not need a new omni antenna for the house router.
This equipment should cost you between $80 and $200 depending on the antenna selection and the length of the coax needed if you go with the external antenna.
I am not an expert just a schlub that spent two years trying to get a decent internet connection at home. On most days we connect with around a 60ms ping, 2mbps down and 1.8mbps up. With a wireless connection to a router 700' away. Technology is amazing.
Go for it!!! It'll work.
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