Practical Airport range?

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Reverend Darkness's picture
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Practical Airport range?

OK... let me give you some background:

I live in a small, rural town with a population of 2K. We are 35 miles South of Dallas, and 11 miles East of Waxahachie, and therefore are too far out and too small for either DSL or Cable broadband to care about us. We must use either dial-up for Internet access, or decide to go ahead and be raped by the local Wireless Broadband provider, who charges way too much monthly and requires that you purchase their $400 equipment.

But...

I have a neighbour across the street who works for a company that does provide a type of broadband service. Their house has a broadband connection, as this neighbour needs fast access to do their work. This neighbour has also stated that if I can find a way to share the connection across the street, I can connect all I want.

I have access to an old Airport Base Station (Graphite) that uses 802.11b. The front wall of the house across the street is approximately 200-250 feet away from the front wall of my house. Can I expect to get any type of connection here at the house if I plug the Airport in across the street?

I'm looking for best case scenarios, hopefully from people who have practical worst case experience.

protocol6v's picture
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I would say, if you plugged t

I would say, if you plugged the AirPort in at the very front of the house, closest to yours, you could just barely be able to reach your house. Then go and get yourself a repeater such as this...

http://cgi.ebay.com/D-Link-DWL-G800AP-Wireless-Repeater-Access-Point802
-11g_W0QQitemZ190049788273QQihZ009QQcategoryZ51164QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

And plug that in at the front of your house, configured as a repeater and set to the AirPorts Mac address. You will probably get coverage over your whole house this way. The neighbor will also get a wireless network. Wink

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With antennas, you could defi

With antennas, you could definitly get this working, my school district used wireless as a backbone between schools which were about 200-400 yards apart using 802.11b. The equipment used was just 2 pcmcia wavelan cards with lucent tube antennas (basically overpriced cantennas). So this is definitly doable, if you can get an antenna outside their house and one outside yours, and use something like an 802.11b wireless to ethernet bridge this would definitly work. Also, if you have line of sight between the two antennas it will help the connection greatly. If you open up the old graphite basestations you can get to the builtin wavelan card, and attach a different antenna directly to it.

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Go out and buy a Linksys WRT-

Go out and buy a Linksys WRT-54GL (note the L in the model number) and a pair of high-gain directional antennas. Set it up at the neighbor's house with both antennas pointing out a window towards yours. If you don't get quite enough signal, try installing an alternative firmware on the Linksys (this is why you needed to get the 54GL, the 54G can't use other firmwares), as a lot of those will allow you to adjust the transmitter power to the antennas. If worse comes to worst, you could try building a pair of cantennas.

Another option, if the neighbor really isn't across a street but you share a property line, would be to buy some shielded Cat5e and just run it between the houses. If that works, and the neighbor doesn't mind, you could buy some buriable condut, rent a trenchdigger, and sink the line a few feet underground (so you don't have to worry about running over it with the lawnmower).

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wire?

You can't run a cable? Loads better reliability and speed. Of course, crossing a street adds a certain challenge to the idea . . .

As far as wifi, line of sight and adaquate signal strength are all you need. Signal strength generally comes from a directional antenna.

google wifi antenna pringles for lots of interesting ideas. Simple homebrew antennas can be very effective over the distance you describe.

That said, why not just plug in the AP BS at the neighbor's house and see how far it goes as is?

dan k

ps: can some admin convert to a link the url protocol6v posted so the page wraps correctly?

Jon
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One point that most people gl

One point that most people gloss over is that the Pringles can is not the proper diameter to use for WiFi. There are other, larger cans that match the frequency better. It's just that most people are familiar with the product, so they stick with that name. That said, a cheap USB WiFi dongle and a metal cooking scoop as a parabolic reflector have managed quite good distances.

A BiQuad looks good too.

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Re: Go out and buy a Linksys WRT-

Dr. Webster wrote:
Go out and buy a Linksys WRT-54GL (note the L in the model number) and a pair of high-gain directional antennas. Set it up at the neighbor's house with both antennas pointing out a window towards yours. If you don't get quite enough signal, try installing an alternative firmware on the Linksys (this is why you needed to get the 54GL, the 54G can't use other firmwares)

just to point out, you can flash the firmware on a 54G, i have one, and i flashed the firmware on it. I used DD-WRT, theres a wiki page that has tons of info. http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/DD-WRT_Docu_%28EN%29

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The later 54g's do not have e

The later 54g's do not have enough memory to install the full version of dd-wrt, so you have to use a slimmed down version. Also, I don't think they are anywhere as easy to flash as the old 54g's or the 54gl's

I have a 54gl, but I really don't notice any difference when I turn the aerial transmit power up and down.

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trur

you do have to pay some attention the the revision that you have. when i got mine, i got lucky and managed to get one of the fastest ones with the most memory. After i flashes it, i trned the transmit power to the max legal level, and noy i have full reception all over the house. and the router is in a corner upstairs and we get perfect reception in the opposite corner in the basement.

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