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Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-29-2005, 04:21 PM   #1
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Wi-Fi repeaters

A family member has a marina business that is spread across several acres. They want to be able to extend their DSL internet connection to several computers (max 6) in separate structures through wi-fi. They will need outdoor repeaters.

Any recommendations
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-29-2005, 04:36 PM   #2
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Sounds like they want a point-to-multipoint wireless bridge.* *I've done point-to-point using a Linksys product for our guesthouse, and that works fine.* *Many inexpensive access points include a bridge capability.* * They'll just need to check the box/manual to ensure it supports point-to-multipoint.

They'll need clear line-of-sight between the building with the internet connection and the rest of the buildings they want to bridge.* * Typically, it'll require two access points per building: one for the bridge, and another for local wifi connections within the building.

Here's an example of one such product (that I haven't used):

D-Link DWL-2100AP

Edit: if they really need outdoor equipment, that gets a little trickier, but there are solutions for that as well.

Cisco Aironet 1300
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-30-2005, 10:53 AM   #3
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Might look at/check out powerline networking. If all the structures are wired through to the same electricity connection (one meter), powerline networks might go the distance and give better throughput than the DSL connection can manage. I'm using them to connect one PC to my cable modem where running a wire just aint gonna happen. I'm getting quite a bit better throughput (~8Mb/s over 60 feet away) than I did with wireless.

If there are common analog phone lines running to each building, old style phoneline HOMEPNA networking might also be a better solution than wireless.

How many buildings, what are they made of (wood or metal), how far away from each other are they, etc? Do they all have common AC power, common phoneline, is there a centrally located building that could house the router/modem and act as a hub station?

Even with a good repeater, distance from point to point may be under 150 feet point to point. If the buildings are made of metal, unless you mount the repeaters outside and run a cable inside, distance might only be 75-80 feet.

Note that using wlan repeaters can be a big throughput killer. Each repeater has to listen to and then retransmit every frame, so each repeater can conceivably halve the wireless networks throughput. Over triple digit distances, you might only be seeing 1-2 megabits/sec in the first place...throw in a couple of repeaters and you might only be seeing 200-400Kb/s.

Also, obviously you're going to need some good security. I can break most currently available 11b/g security schemes in under an hour. Even if I cant access your network to use it, I can see everything being sent/received.

I tried using my access points security setup to only allow certain hardware mac addresses, and found some neighbor had tapped and read the mac address and then cloned it on one of his machines and he'd been using my network. Had he set his machine name to the same as mine, I'd have never noticed.
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-30-2005, 11:12 AM   #4
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by ()
Even with a good repeater, distance from point to point may be under 150 feet point to point.
If you have clear line-of-sight and a good antenna, the signal can be good for miles. One of my neighbors picks up a connection from a marina 8 miles away.
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 10:44 AM   #5
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
If you have clear line-of-sight and a good antenna, the signal can be good for miles. One of my neighbors picks up a connection from a marina 8 miles away.
With standard 802.11b/g equipment, absolutely not. If one of your neighbors is picking up an access point from that far away, its using a cantenna or some other unusual piece of equipment.

FCC restrictions on product manufacture limit product strength with standard antennas to roughly 300 feet. I've seen a few AP's that could be set to non-US approved channels that could provide an AP bond at up to 800 feet but there was no practical data throughput past 400 feet. Some aftermarket antennas added to factory product can get you a bond at up to 1000 feet but again no practical data throughput past 500-600'.

With a point to point standard setup, or something like cantennae, you can in fact get a couple of miles or more of usable throughput. I'm betting the "8 miles away" setup is a point to point connection thats bleeding past the receiver. Excepting homemade things like cantennas, these point to point critters such as the mikrotik products run in the $500-600 and up range per AP.

I'll bet the rest of the wireless users within that 8 mile cone are pretty thrilled to have their wireless bandwidth cut into by that user. While they could use a different channel, theres a good bet that a signal thats boosted that much is also bleeding from its assigned channel into adjacent ones. I had a similar a-hole in my old neighborhood; his blasting prohibited using any 802.11 wireless options. Even 2 feet away from my own AP all the card in my laptop would see was his if I was on the same channel, or no AP if I tried another.

Hence my extensive experience with non-wireless networking options like homepna and powerline networking... :P
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 11:32 AM   #6
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by ()
With standard 802.11b/g equipment, absolutely not.* If one of your neighbors is picking up an access point from that far away, its using a cantenna or some other unusual piece of equipment.
Errhm, did you catch the part where I said "good antenna?" The standard antennas shipped with most AP's are crappy little omni's. Any good antenna and clear line-of-sight (repeating myself here for the third time) will give you *excellent* range. For point-to-point bridges, all you need is a good unidirectional antenna on both ends. No signal amplification is needed.

And the "can" antennas aren't that great (but they sure are cheap). My neighbor is a ham-radio nut with a parabolic.
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 11:52 AM   #7
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Reminds me of the CB craze in the 70s, with linear amps that would fry an egg...
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 11:53 AM   #8
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

I helped a buddy who just purchased a laptop with wireless get started with it (very computer challenged). He hadn't purchased a router yet, but wanted to surf the net with his laptop. So I checked out "the neighborhood". Ended up he had half a dozen unsecured wireless networks to choose from, thanks to ignorant neighbors. Hooked him up with the strongest signal and he's using it until he has time to go to fry's.

Saw an article about a couple of guys rigging an antenna to pick up a bluetooth signal (which is supposed to just work up to 10 meters or so for printers etc.) from 2 miles away. No boosting on the source end, this was an attempt to show security vulnerabilities. Scary.
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 11:56 AM   #9
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Ok, not usually tech challenged, since I are one, but I can't get the encrytion to work on my router/laptop combo. How do I set keys on the laptop to match the router? Currently only protected by MAC address...
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 12:16 PM   #10
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by ()
With standard 802.11b/g equipment, absolutely not. If one of your neighbors is picking up an access point from that far away, its using a cantenna or some other unusual piece of equipment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
Errhm, did you catch the part where I said "good antenna?" The standard antennas shipped with most AP's are crappy little omni's. Any good antenna and clear line-of-sight (repeating myself here for the third time) will give you *excellent* range. For point-to-point bridges, all you need is a good unidirectional antenna on both ends. No signal amplification is needed.

And the "can" antennas aren't that great (but they sure are cheap). My neighbor is a ham-radio nut with a parabolic.


uh oh, I'm locking up the saloon and putting the family in the basement.
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 12:49 PM   #11
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
uh oh, I'm locking up the saloon and putting the family in the basement.*
Don't be silly.* *Simple rain gear should be fine.* *TH is back in town!



Quote:
How do I set keys on the laptop to match the router?
Everybody does it differently. Make sure you're using the same type of encryption on both ends, same size keys, and beware that some software has you specify the keys in hex, some in alphanumerics.
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 12:57 PM   #12
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Dont worry laurence, i'm just about done.

I made the mistake of trying to fit Wab's comments about generic networking possibilities into the framework of the actual context of the OP's request.

But in the spirit of friendliness...because I'd hate to have anyone think that merely pointing out Wabs frequently incorrect or context irrelevant statements is some sort of 'pissing contest'...

Wab, please point me to a "good antenna" that can be bought at a reasonable price, provides multipoint connections to multiple buildings spread over several acres (the context of this post) and provides a signal thats "good for miles". I'm unaware of any commercially available product that provides the signal strength improvement that would be needed.

Come on, with all the far east suppliers of wifi gear, i'm sure at least one or two puts something out that would do the job...
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 01:00 PM   #13
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Well, not at home, so I rely on my memory... *

Seems the router generates keys, and I try to enter those same keys into the software on the laptop, but it never connects to the router...

POS!! (And probable operator error...)
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 01:10 PM   #14
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by ()
Wab, please point me to a "good antenna" that can be bought at a reasonable price, provides multipoint connections to multiple buildings spread over several acres (the context of this post) and provides a signal thats "good for miles".* I'm unaware of any commercially available product that provides the signal strength improvement that would be needed.

Come on, with all the far east suppliers of wifi gear, i'm sure at least one or two puts something out that would do the job...
TH, darling, the OP specified that the environment was a marina spread over acres.* *Most marinas I'm familiar with don't have trees or hills within them, thus I assume line-of-sight will be no problem.* *Nothing was specified about cost constraints.* *Is there something you don't like about the Cisco products I linked to in the first response?* *Do tell!
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 01:16 PM   #15
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

I see that as usual, you will deflect or modify the "discussion" and avoid answering direct questions to continue the argument, while feigning displeasure.

Maybe you should go back to work where you can do this all day and get paid for it...

Or you could just...nah...its too easy...
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 01:17 PM   #16
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

I think that Wab's daughter and TH's son are going to grow up and marry each other. And then someone is going to make a goofy movie about the inlaws meeting. The wives will soothe the ruffled feathers and make everyone feel good about themselves.
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 01:19 PM   #17
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Doubtful Martha. After Wabs daughter makes several vague, unsubstantiated or irrelevant statements and my son gets frustrated after having direct questions go unanswered, she'll change the subject and my son will decide to look for someone who isnt a nut.
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 01:21 PM   #18
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by ()
I see that as usual, you will deflect or modify the "discussion" and avoid answering direct questions to continue the argument, while feigning displeasure.
Please tell me how I can better assist you.* *I am here to please.* *You don't like Cisco equipment?* *You just want a cheap high-gain antenna and you don't know how to google?

Here's a panel type.* *There are many more.* *I can point you to some good sites if you're really interesting in something other than a pissing contest.

18db high-gain
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 01:27 PM   #19
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Thats a directional product, so hence you still didnt answer my question. And I doubt you're going to.

I have no comment on your cisco product recommendation. It doesnt have anything to do with my question.
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters
Old 10-31-2005, 01:32 PM   #20
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Re: Wi-Fi repeaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by ()
Thats a directional product, so hence you still didnt answer my question.* And I doubt you're going to.

I have no comment on your cisco product recommendation.* It doesnt have anything to do with my question.
TH, you realize that you can mix directional and omni, right?* *You also realize that the "directional" aspect is a function of different antenna designs, and that "directional" can mean anything from a narrow beam to a very wide beam, right?

The OP didn't give a site plan.* *When she posted the question, I sent her a PM with somebody who could help her with the specifics.* *Was there anything I said that either didn't fit her requirements, didn't answer your questions, and didn't generally illuminate for the entire world?
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