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Mooching off the Neighbors Wifi (and he's ok with it)

Posted on 2014-02-17
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Last Modified: 2014-03-01
I have a neighbor who is willing to share his internet (and the bill) with me. He's provided me with his SSID and password, but wireless reception is spotty on my side of the wall.

I have two routers and am thinking of having router A out on the patio ceiling (where the neighbors wireless signal is best) to receive the signal and supply it to Router B via cat5 where it would be re-broadcast under my own SSID, and solving my problem.


Is this possible?
Are there better options?
Do I need to adjust anything on the neighbors router?
Would my DHCP interfere with his?

Thanks
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Question by:Jonathong
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39866373
You can bridge the wireless routers at your place wirelessly and you might also be able to connect them by Ethernet. I have not tried that where one router is receiving a signal.

Here is an article that may be a possible guide for you on how do to that from connectedhome.

http://www.connectedhome.infopint.com/bridge-two-wireless-routers/
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by:Darr247
ID: 39866412
What 2 routers (brand/model/version) do you have now?
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39866423
One is a Netgear N300 WNR2000 v4
The other is a D-Link DIR-655
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by:Darr247
ID: 39866458
Well, I *think* you should be able to flash the Netgear with DD-WRT and set up its wireless as a Client Bridge, then connect one of its LAN ports to the D-Link with an ethernet cable. If the cable connects it to the WAN/internet port on the D-Link, you would have a separate subnet, with the D-Link blocking DHCP broadcasts from crossing the router interface in either direction.

The only problem is currently, I can't check http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices to see if the Netgear is DD-WRT compatible (I'm pretty-sure the D-Link is not), because the site is being reported by Drupal as:
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The site is currently not available due to technical problems. Please try again later. Thank you for your understanding.

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by:Craig Beck
ID: 39867428
Your own solution is fine.  You might need to use WDS to accomplish this on the neighbour's router, but it's completely possible as long as WDS is a supported feature on both their router and your 'link' router.  The router which distributes your own SSID doesn't need WDS though.
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by:bill30
ID: 39868038
I am not sure exactly what out in the patio ceiling means, and where the CAT5 cable would be, but anytime you do anything outdoors you need to worry about grounding.  Otherwise you could be looking at possibly making a lightning rod back to your infrastructure of equipment.  Something like this could help protect your indoor computers:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1EA0Y82841

Otherwise setting up the wireless bridge from your Router B and plug in the Cat5 from both Router A and B in the switch ports, and not the WAN port.  I like to turn off DHCP and NAT to ensure there isnt any overlap etc.  Then This basically makes your two routers switches, and his router does all the heavy lifting.
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by:Darr247
ID: 39868064
The DD-WRT site is back up...
As I suspected, the DIR-655 is not supported...
the WNR2000 is supported in v2 and v3, but v4 is not listed... it's an Atheros chipset (like the D-Link), with barely enough Flash memory, so the devs are not likely to support it. Ever. :(

Neither of those routers has a repeater or bridge mode in the stock firmware, that I could find.

In my opinion, your best bet with the existing routers is to replace an antenna on the D-Link with a patch antenna like the L-Com RE09P-RSP, and face it towards your neighbor's vicinity (it focuses nearly all the signal to 1 side of the antenna to effectively double the range without making aiming too critical). L-Com RE09P-RSP Gain Patterns (click for larger)Then you wouldn't need to put anything outside, either.
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by:Craig Beck
ID: 39868129
Just remember that the signal coming towards the D-Link's antenna (from your neighbour) may also need a boost.

Your current issue is that you can't see enough signal so adding a shouty antenna won't necessarily give you big ears too :-)
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by:Darr247
ID: 39868191
That antenna IS a bigger ear... you seem to think I told him some way to hack his power output to illegal levels, craigbeck.
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by:Craig Beck
ID: 39868390
I don't think you told him to hack his power output at all.  You miss my point, Darr247.  The antenna is a BIGGER ear, but compare a Fly to an Ant...  The Fly is undoubtedly BIGGER than the Ant, but both aren't necessarily BIG.

The antenna you're adding will have a larger gain, so it will put out more power than the original antenna (EIRP-wise) - that's by design.  However the neighbour's antenna is staying the same though, so while the received signal may increase due to the antenna's gain the SNR of the overall link will probably remain around the same as it was before (because while you increase signal gain you also increase noise gain).  Therefore if the SNR remains the same the link might still be unusable.
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by:Darr247
ID: 39869050
As I said (though possibly too subtle for you to catch) the argument you're making applies only to cranking up the power on the local radio, NOT to more gain with a directional antenna.
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39869191
Easy guys!
This is getting too advanced in a hurry! =)

Since the routers don't support such a function, ill probably just go buy something that will. Any recommendations?

BTW, for those concerned about my network becoming a lightning magnet, I should be ok. Im on the second floor of a three story building. And the router would be placed just out side the sliding door where it is still protected from weather. But really,.. this is still just in the idea phase.
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by:Darr247
ID: 39869309
I don't have any recommendations less expensive than that antenna to use on the D-Link.

The cheapest bridges I see are ~$50.
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by:Craig Beck
ID: 39869601
No it doesn't Darr. More gain IS increasing the power.

EIRP = TX power + Antenna Gain - Cable Loss

I hear the 'just add a directional antenna' argument all the time.  It just doesn't work properly if you only do it one-way.
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by:Darr247
ID: 39872261
I'm a member of IEEE's Antennas (SIC) and Propagation Society...
I think I know how to calculate equivalent isotropic radiated power. :)

A directional antenna increases range in BOTH directions because it increases transmit wattage AND the receiver's sensitivity.

What doesn't work so well are high-gain omni antennae, because those squish the signal down to make it reach farther, but do NOT increase the receiver's sensitivity to the desired signal because they don't add any real collection gain as directional antennae do.
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by:Craig Beck
ID: 39872630
OK Darr I'll forget my Cisco certs, the several years' experience installing thousands of APs in some of the harshest environments in the world and the conversation we had about antenna diversity a few weeks ago.

Like I said, the opposing radio also needs a boost or it just doesn't work properly unless you only need a very minimal increase in received signal.  I'm not saying that to argue with you or to make you sound stupid; I'm saying that because I see it all the time and it rarely works as you'd expect.  In an open space it works ok up to a point, but not always.

Consider a 50ft link.  With two devices they might see each other fine, but if you increase the distance to 500ft they will struggle.  Changing the antenna on one end might help.  Now, spread them 1km apart.  Do you get a link?  I think you'll find that the device with the small antenna sees the device with the big antenna but not the other way round.

Remember, I said the opposing radio 'might' need a boost too.

Did they teach you in the antenna society the difference between antennae and antennas? ;-)
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by:Darr247
ID: 39873594
Tell you what, Jonathong... if that L-Com antenna doesn't do the job for you, I will buy it from you for the same $40 USD retail price listed there.
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by:Craig Beck
ID: 39874545
Take the offer... sounds like a win-win sort of, unless Darr makes you pay postage when you send it to him.

I'd buy the round antenna for around $6 less though unless you really need the 4ft cable instead of a 10in one.  That should cover the postage if he pays you $40 ;-)

Honestly, I hope it does work for you - I was just making you aware that it 'might' not (not won't) work any better for you.
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by:Darr247
ID: 39874924
Though the RE08P-RSP has a 4 foot cable with RP-SMA connector on the end, anyway, it's rated only for indoor use.

So my offer's good only on the RE09P-RSP, as that one's rated for indoor/outdoor usage, and I'm sure I'll find a use for it in the future, having mounted many of them outdoors already.
And I have no problem with $11 for UPS shipping (but it should fit in a USPS Small Flat Rate Priority Mail box for under $6).
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by:Craig Beck
ID: 39875073
But it's only required indoors, so the extra $6 isn't being spent for any good reason.

You sound like you've already told the postman it's on the way...
What does that tell you, Jonathong? :-)
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39875824
You guys fighting with each other is quite entertaining and educational!

However, i don't understand how adding the proposed antenna to my D-Link would solve the problem if it can't bridge anyways....
Do i understand correctly that bridge mode is what effectively turns a router into a wireless NIC for my network?
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by:Darr247
ID: 39875998
Doh!

You're right, of course.  Neither of your routers has a bridge or repeater function.
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by:Craig Beck
ID: 39876260
:-)
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Accepted Solution

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Darr247 earned 500 total points
ID: 39877791
OK... the least-expensive option I've come up with so far is a
TP-Link TL-WDR3500 (~$43 w/free shipping)

That has RP-SMA connectors if you need to add a directional antenna.
However, it's dual-band, so if you want to use the RE09P-RSP patch antenna, I would recommend disabling the 5GHz radio, which would be on this screenScreen to use 2.4GHz OR 5GHz OR both on TL-WDR3500 (click for larger)Otherwise you should use a 2.4GHz+5GHz dual band antenna with a N-Male to RP-SMA Pigtail to prevent damaging the 5GHz radio by running it into the wrong impedance (most of the standing wave of the 5GHz signal would effectively be reflected back at the radio when it hit the connector because of the wrong SWR presented by a 2.4GHz-only antenna... the finals in the radio would have to dissipate that power as heat, which may or may not cause it to burn up the 5GHz radio eventually).  As you can see, the dual-band antenna is quite a bit more expensive... so if all you were using that unit for is a 2.4GHz-to-LAN bridge, just disabling the 5GHz radio shouldn't hurt anything.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39897281
Sorry for the delay on closing this question. Thanks for all the discussion on this topic you guys. Darr had the best solution, but I appreciate everything that Craig added to the conversation.
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