LONG range network between 2 houses.

a1programmer used Ask the Experts™

My uncle and I live about 3000 feet away from each other, and we are joined by private property.  I am trying to come up with a way to have a high-speed ( cable / DSL ) ?   network set up between our 2 houses.    

I have checked into wireless, but the costs of the equipment for the long distance transfer outweighs the benefits.

There must be some way to have a private  cable or DSL connection...  Is there a such of a thing as a cable hub, that would allow cable modems to communicate (or dsl) ?

What are my other options.


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Run some fiber between the two houses (its all private property, right?). Ethernet over fiber has a distance limit of 1000 meters (about 3300 feet).


Yeah,  it's definitely private property...

Where can you get fiber?  As in fiber optics ?

What all equipment would be required ?  

802.11B can do 25 miles with the appropriate antennas.  I have seen parabolic antennas with 20db gain for less than $90US.  If you are the adventure type you can build yourself a yagi or parabolic antenna for very little $.
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Well, I don't want to rule out wirless without getting some more info.

If I it were a straight line between our two houses, it would only be between 1000 and 1200 ft.   And the area is pretty dense with trees in between.  

I just figured that basic wireless equipment would not be enough.  


wow... 25 miles would definitely do the job!!    

20db gain?   How much better is that than standard antennas?
Wireless 802.11b with high-gain antennas will be the lowest cost option by far.  Running fiber or copper would be very expensive.  There are lots of options for connecting if you have a lot of money to spend.

fiber (fiber optics) is expensive and real hard to maintain.  Its made of glass, so you cant bend it much and if it breaks, its real hard to terminate a connection.
I dont know if this is possible without using fiber optics though.  Most ethernet can only go about 500 meters before signifigant signal loss.  see this article:


running fiber between the houses will be far more expensive than a wireless solution.


*You'll need a switch or router that can handle fiber, which isnt cheap to start with, on either side of the connection.
*Fiber crimping equipment is very expensive, and having somebody lay 3000 feet of fiber incurs installation, equipment, etc, that part alone is expensive

If you have a line of site not obstructed by trees, 3000 feet is very simple and relatively inexpensive to accomplish with 802.11.  You would need a parabolic grid or yagi directional antenna, possibly on either side, and simply have a little bit of patience as you aim the antenna around a little bit looking for the best speeds.

very strong directional:

a directional that would let you communicate with alpha centaur:

very strong yagi:

You would simply unplug the antennas coming out of your existing access point, and plug these in.  it will require:
a) getting the appropriate size adapters
b) getting some LMR-400 cable or some slightly lower grade stuff.  you only need enough to go from the AP antenna connection to the antenna (likely on the roof).  so 1 to however many feet.
c) several nuts, bolts, plates, etc to secure the antenna.  especially if you're near florida like me!

let us know.
geez like 4 people posted in the time i took to type that :p


Alright... I'll do some research on the wireless...  

And I'm quite the adventurist, so I may try to build a few antenna's.

Will you need something to "boost" the signal as well ?

Also,  netspec01, why not 802.11g ?  
A standard wireless antenna supplied with a 802.11b wireless access point is good for 100-200 feet at max.  Not having a clear line of site will be a problem.  You need to think about having an antenna mast to get above the trees.  You can also "relay" the signal with intermediate access points.
Oh, if wireless is back on the table (I thot it was completely off the table), check out Cantenna (http://www.cantenna.com)

Disclaimer: I don't work for those folx or have any fiscal interest in it.
as an update - you will want to claw your eyes out before you get your own antenna to work ;)  they call them "cantenna's" cus you can build them out of pringles cans.  it's NOT easy!  i was masochistic enough to try once.  it worked, for probably a total of 4 dBi gain.  not entirely worth it really.  you can build more sophisticated ones, but you must be VERy precise.

it's easier to buy the equipment i suggested.  just 1 antenna per site, as you cant (well, realisticly) run 2 antennas like that on either antenna connection on the AP.

i would get the AP + 1 antenna + 1 wire/connector for either side and see what you have to work with before buying more.


I found this access point... It says it will go 1640 feet in an open area.  I guess that excludes trees..


Would 2 of these access points,  2 cable connectors, and 2 directional antenna's do the job?

ive done 5 mile links no problem (with straight line of site) off that exact AP.  so yea, should work as long as no trees are in the way.


>> ve done 5 mile links no problem (with straight line of site) off that exact AP


 >> should work as long as no trees are in the way.

I'll see what I can do. heh...

I don't even have cards yet.  802.11g cards would be backwards compatible though, right?  I would like to have 802.11g inside my house.  And use 802.11b for the connection...

   my house
|   g desktop    |                                                                                      uncle's house
|        |           |                                                                                      _______________
|   g router      |   --  b access point    --  b connection  --  b acess point  --  |                        |
|        |           |                                                                                      |  b or g desktop  |
|   g laptop      |                                                                                      |______________|

No, the "Cantenna" is NOT a do-it-yourself Pringles can!

Its an actual manufactured, readyt-to-install product, specifically designed to boot 802.11 distance. Try checking the link before telling him not to do it.
Your G & B scenario will work.  High quality antenna leads and a lightning supresor/earth ground are essential.  I'd recommend getting the B access points and the antennas and playing with this in an open area as a first step.  Again it will be essential that you get antenna masts to get a clear line of site.  Antenna leads must be kept at a minimum length.  


No problem... I checked it out...

I was actually considering doing it myself...  I have had exceptional luck in the past at rigging stuff. ;)


I would have to have a 100 foot tall antenna mast...  There is simply no line of sight...   Well, There is in the winter time, but not in spring / summer....  Are you quite certain that leaves, (or even trees) will stop the signal? What about just leaves?

thanks... for following up... :)

I'd say you are ready to go!  Do your site survey/planning.  Purchase B access points and antennas.  Test.  Install masts and antennas.

You will also need to add a static route at your end to tell where your uncle's LAN is.

Now all of this is assuming that high speed dsl or cable is not available at your uncles or you don't want to go that route.  Consumer satellite "Directway and the like" Internet is also available.  Very steep entry price point $600US+ and about $70 per month.  You potentially use VPN over the satellite link to connect your two locations.  I don't know of anyone currently doing VPN over residential satellite service so I can't comment on its feasability/stability.
psicop i was typing that comment about the cantenna before i saw your post.  back in the day, the cantenna WAS a can.  ive been doing this for several years, excuse me if somebody has marketted what was once a description for something that was once very ghetto.
Solid obstructions, fog/clouds and vegetation will severely degrade the signal.  Maybe you can set an intermediate relay point for a 3rd (relay) point.
802.11 does use higher frequencies, so it is vulnerable to signal loss/distortion from even leaves. Its not as vulnerable as, say, GPS signals, but you will lose signal strength.

Will leaves in an otherwise line-of-sight situation be sufficient to prevent a decent link-up when using high-gain antennas? My gut tells me "No". At DefCon this year, someone had an 802.11 "rifle" with a whopping 1 *mile* range. Supposedly the Cantenna has been used over 5 miles. I'm thinking that with a range of less than 1KM, the leaves are just not going to kill enuf of the signal to prevent a high-gain antenna from being able to give you a decent connection.

I make no claim to have done this, but I think it might be worth a try.


>>I'd say you are ready to go!  Do your site survey/planning.  Purchase B access points and antennas.  Test.  Install masts and antennas.

Ok... just For now...  What do I need?  I'm going to try without the masts at first...

Could I do it with 2 access points, and 2 cards, and forget the router for now ?

my pc  <-->  B AP   <-->  B AP <-->  <--> uncles PC

Like a wireless patch. lol...

>>Now all of this is assuming that high speed dsl or cable is not available at your uncles or you don't want to go that route.  

True, not available, and I certainly don't want to go the direcway route.
The wireless AP has a router function built-in so you can add the static route to your uncle's LAN.

You will need Ethernet cards in both PCs to connect to the APs.


Do you connect to the AP with a crossover cable, or just a straight cat 5 ?

thanks for all the help...
Your PC will connect to the AP with a straight cable.


Another quick question..

I know I can use the WAP11 linksys access point, and that it has router functionality.

I have also found a router with a range of 1500 feet, the BEFW11S4 Linksys.

What's the difference between just and access point, and a router?  This router says that it's an access point router... what does that mean?



I think it will work with just one of those linksys routers, and 2 wireless cards...

Thanks you all for your help...

I'll keep you posted...

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