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Suggested cheap hardware for 0.5 mi. Wi-Fi Range?

Posted on 2004-11-06
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
Hello,

I need to wirelessly bridge two points which are separated by slightly under a half mile, line of sight, outdoor.  I currently have no wireless equipment, and would like suggestions on what would be the **best combination of price/reliability/speed**, in that order.  I would like the throughput to be as high as possible, but as little as 20 kilobytes/sec would be acceptable (slightly higher than dialup).  I am assuming that an 802.11g solution would be best.  I don't know if a standard Linksys G Router on both ends will do the trick, or if I would need a 3rd party high gain antenna, or possibly a repeater in the middle, or possibly an amplifier on one end.  I can also elevate the antennas if necessary.  There will be virtually no interference problems, as it is a very rural area, and security is not a major issue.  Please clearly state what component(s) will be needed, their location, and their function, as well as price, which is the biggest deciding factor.

Thanks for your help!
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Question by:sb73542
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RLGSC earned 1500 total points
ID: 12516897
sb73542,

I would try the simple solutions first.

Among others, Hawking Technologies (http://www.hawkingtech.com) offers several high gain antennas intended for outdoor mounting.

I would get one of the higher power access points (frequently described for office use) with detachable antennas and buy a pair of the Hawking or other brand directional high gain antennas. I would then see of using the high gain antennas together with the higher power access point is sufficient. I strongly suspect that the combination will do the trick.

Note that most access points support two antennas, so you will still have access to the wireless in the immediate vicinity, just "long arm" access will only work in the area covered by the high gain antenna.

Since the high gain antennas are directional, be careful to ensure that BOTH of them are correctly pointing at one another.

I have used this type of setup over proably a 1/4 mile distance with only a directional antenna at the access point, and it worked well. Using high power units at both ends together with the directional antennas should have a good probability of covering half a mile over open ground (and yes, mounting the antennas a bit up, so that people, animals, and vehicles do not interfere with the signal is a good thing, but be careful to follow the instructions in the box about mounting).

Needless to say, encryption is always a good idea on any wireless link.

I hope that the above is helpful.

- Bob (aka RLGSC)
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Author Comment

by:sb73542
ID: 12519917
Thank you Bob, it was very helpful!  What specific access point would you recommend?  I know Cisco makes some products with very high range, but I'm sure they're quite pricey, and some of them don't do routing or accept RJ-45 input, as I understand it.  And I've read that there's quite a difference is range and stability between various brands and devices.  I'm guessing Linksys or D-Link?  Thanks again!
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Author Comment

by:sb73542
ID: 12520094
Does this thing look like junk?  Claims 1 mile range
http://www.plaza101.com/plaza/search/res/r17851731.html
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Author Comment

by:sb73542
ID: 12550803
Any comments on a recommended access point brand/model?  Then we can wrap up this question.  Thanks!
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