Networking very remote computer via wireless

Posted on 2008-06-19
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I have a U shaped building that has a computerized HVAC control panel in the basement at the far end of one of the U legs.  The basement is concrete and also has a concrete ceiling.  My goal is to be able to get an ethernet connection from  the HVAC control panel in the basement to a wired port that is in the center of the U one or two floors up. Power line ethernet adapters won't work because the circuits are not the same and I'm seeking a way to control the HVAC panel via ethernet from the building itself.   I thought of using two wireless routers--one with the internet port attached to the ethernet connection in the HVAC panel  and the other to receive the signal at the second floor and plug into the hard wired ethernet port there to take it out to the internet.  Can routers be used this way?  I have two Belkin wireless-N routers.  If not, any other suggestions?  Mounting an external antenna would be a last resort because of the builiding codes and expense.

Question by:caaron
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LVL 12

Accepted Solution

alikaz3 earned 100 total points
ID: 21824090
2 Routers should work just fine, you are looking to "bridge" the routers. From my understanding, you want the router attached to the HVAC control panel to act like an access point, is there a "bridge" option in there? If you already have a DHCP server/another router implemented, you will want to bridge the other router as well. Here is a good site, look at situation 3:

Now I must stress that wireless networking is very picky, and you will probably have to mess around with settings for quite a while to get this working. Let me know if you need more help!

Author Comment

ID: 21827456
I was hoping I could use one of the routers to pick up the signal from the other, but I guess I'll have to install a wireless card on the client computer.  If I understand correctly, the wireless access point just picks up the other router's wireless signal and rebroadcasts it?  If that is so I wouldn't be able to plug the 2nd router (access point) directly into the client computer without a wireless card and get it to work?


Assisted Solution

axiomtechnologies earned 100 total points
ID: 21831486
Hi caaron,

This should be no sweat. You just need the right tool for the job. Forget about consumer electronics from Radio Shack. While they may have "modes" that will enable what you want to do, it isn't what they're built for. You just need a radio bridge. There are many too choose from, but for low cost and ease of installation I recommend Tranzeo's 6000 series. I've put up many of these over the years and they all work great.

For your application I'd go with a pair of 6019's. One in the basement pointed straight up and one upstairs pointing straight down. Point them right at one another as best as you can. Just remember to keep them, if the "Top" of one panel faces north make sure the one below is oriented the same way.

Tranzeo has great tech support if you need help during installation or with configuration (of which there isn't much).

Good Luck!


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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 21832558
I took a look at those tranzeo, they are quite costly. I think that is overkill for this application. The bandwidth the HVAC is going to use will probably be 1/4th that of a normal desktop user, and these devices seem to cater to higher bandwidth requirements.

- caaron - I think you misinterpreted me. I don't see why you couldn't do it the way you suggested using your existing equipment. It would work like this:

HVAC --ethernet--- Router2 )))     )))    (((   (((Router1----ethernet---primary router

You just need to configure everything to work this way.

Router1 will need to be "bridged" (which means it just passes information back and forth), and have the wireless access point operating (note the SSID you chose, pick WPA or WPA2 for your encryption, note the passphrase you use)

Router2 will also need to be bridged, and connected to Router1. Here are the instructions according to belkin (with some comments added):

 Router Configuration (Router2 - HVAC)

1. Open a Web Browser
2. In the address bar type (or whatever the IP is)
3. Click on Wireless Bridge in the left hand column under Wireless
4. Enter your password if any and click Submit
5. Check the box that says Enable Wireless Bridging, click Apply Changes.
6. Click Home, note the WLAN MAC address under LAN settings
7. Turn off DHCP!

Access Point Configuration. (Router1)

1. Open a Web Browser
2. In the address bar type (or whatever the IP is)
3. Click on Wireless Bridge in the left hand column under Wireless
4. Enter your password if any and click Submit
5. Check the box that says, Enable Wireless Bridging
6. Check the box that says, Enable ONLY specific Access Points to connect and enter the WLAN MAC address from the router, click Apply Changes. Note: The channel must be identical on both the router and the access point.
7. Turn off DHCP!

Ok there are a few things you need to consider as well. You are going to want a laptop or spare desktop set up to configure these routers. You will LAN connect to them individually for setup, and because you are not using them for DHCP, you will need to specify the router's LAN IP as your default gateway each time, to be able to connect via http://.  Have you configured routers like this before? I would avoid using DHCP on the HVAC, just specify a good lan IP, and your info should route through the bridged routers just fine. To clarify what I mean about good ip, here's an example of a typical scenario:

Main router (connected to your broadband)
DHCP lease range:
HVAC IP:  <<<<--- note your static ip is OUTSIDE the DHCP scope

Let me know when you need more help!

Author Comment

ID: 21838389
I tried setting up the routers, but unfortunately the ones I have do not have the bridge option.  They can be set up as as routers or access points.  I was able to set up one of them as an access point and connect to it wirelessly with a laptop.  The signal in the basement is nil and I was quite surprised that the range of these routers was so limited because everyone who wrote reviews of them said they had great range.  But when I walked down the hall from the office where the access point was the signal rapidly deteriorated to about half strength at 75' and nil when I turned the corner and went down the next hall.  I'm going to have to find another way to connect to the basement.  It may be cheaper to have a wire run through the 6" concrete ceiling in the basement and then to a wired ethernet port than to buy more expensive equipment for this task.  At this point it is looking like a easier and better option.

LVL 32

Assisted Solution

aleghart earned 50 total points
ID: 21843657
Typical coring should run you $300-500 for a 3" hole in a 6" slab.  If fire codes apply, you'll need to seal the hole with a fire stop or pinned and refilled with concrete.  Rigid EMT should be used through the slab (not flex).

Be very careful where you allow the contractor to plug in his coring drill.  It will easily trip a 15-amp breaker, even with no other load attached.  Don't let him plug into your data room or telco closet.

This will help avoid problems.  We had over a dozen cores in my last install project.  We had only one issue with clipping the edge of rebar.  All other holes were successful.

1. Building engineer (and architect) should give layout of in-slab conduit, piping, and rebar.  Get approval for the location, and make sure local codes are followed.

2. Measure the core location exactly.  Transfer this to the floor below to avoid pipe, conduit, lighting, equipment, etc.

3.  Contractor should drill a pilot hole first.  Have a worker below on a scaffold or ladder holding a bucket to catch the plug and all of the water.  

4. All contractors involved should have minimum $1MM insurance, consider $2MM or more depending on the scope of work and the type of building and impact due to damage.


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31468868
Thank you all for your input.  I've awarded solution points to each of you because all of you contributed to my question in different ways that are helpful.   Chuck

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