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Author Topic: Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!  (Read 7994 times)

Stephen66515

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Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!
« on: March 04, 2013, 12:35:19 AM »
OK...First off, I have both a Satellite Dish AND a Parabolic Antenna I could use for this project.

Secondly...I don't know HOW I would use either of those items :P

Thirdly...I cannot simply put either of these on a huge tower, as I don't have planning permission to do so, and don't really want to go through the process of that, for the sake of this.

OK...Now down to the nitty gritty...

I got screwed over by 2 ISPs, and am now refusing to sign-up for another...SO...What I need...Is long range WiFi, without direct line of sight.  There are many buildings in the way, but I guess at roof level, might not be as many obstructions.

The distance would be around 1/4 mile...probably less...

So...Question is...Anybody have ANY clue...if this is possible?

I will be linking with a specific connection...so I don't need something to scan for open networks or anything like that.

joiwind

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Re: Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 01:51:01 AM »
Can you set up intermediate relays ?
.: I use K-Meleon - the browser you can control - but I love Pale Moon too :.

Ath

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Re: Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 01:55:48 AM »
I've seen that done, about 12 years ago, using a set of directional wifi antennas, using the signal-reflection on a large office-building's metalized windowpanes, exactly because line-of-sight wasn't available. The total distance was a few kilometers. They used 803.11b speed (11 MBit/s...) I think :huh:. I wasn't involved in the process, though, so don't have much details.

4wd

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Re: Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 03:22:26 AM »
So...Question is...Anybody have ANY clue...if this is possible?

I will be linking with a specific connection...so I don't need something to scan for open networks or anything like that.

Yes it should be possible.

The WiFi you're trying to access, what is it specifically?

eg. Is it just a friends wireless router, some free wireless community network, etc.

For the former they might need to provide a directional antenna pointing at you, (a cheap USB adapter at the focal point of your sat dish or parabolic), as well as you needing one aligned with it.
If it's the latter then their antenna setup should be that only you'll require the parabolic/dish.

FWIW, if the dish can be placed within 5m of the router/computer then it's easiest to use a USB 802.11n adapter at the focal point, (you can waterproof it by housing in a plastic pill container), and running a 5m USB extension lead, you may be able to extend it a little by using a active USB extension lead.

If the dish has to be mounted further away than 5m then I'd look at a WiFi extender mounted at the focal point using Cat5e cabling back to the router/computer and using POE, (Power Over Ethernet), to power it.

As for what you do with the dish/antenna, there are numerous sites on the net that deal with using them to extend WiFi range, eg.
This guy modifies the LNB at the dishes focal point to insert a USB adapter.
The image in the post below it is from Stan Swan's excellent article about using "spider skimmers" as parabolic antennas.
Instructables
eHow

The main points being:
  • Is it an offset dish.
  • Where's the focal point, (if the LNB is still attached, this makes it easy).

I'd try with just using a dish at your end first, (because it's the easiest), and seeing if you can get a decent signal.  For that, Netstumbler or inSSIDer is good for pinpointing the best signal as you move the dish around.

Stephen66515

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Re: Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 05:35:41 AM »
Right, seems I missed a few vital points.

• I cannot setup repeaters (Not without bribing people anyway)
• The WiFi is a family members connection (So I can do wtf I want on that end in terms of equip)
• I can happily run Cat5e + USB 3.0 Dongles wherever needed.

The point of this exercise, is firstly, to save me the hassle and slowness of a mobile broadband network that drops every couple of hours due to no signal.  Secondly, it would be a fun project.

I don't imagine my speeds, once connected to long range wifi, to be all that great...but if I can squeeze 7-10mbps at a constant, that will be fine by me!

The target connection is currently 60mbps, but I will be doubling that (Instant upgrade) for this project.

I have no reflection points (Tall Shiny buildings), everything around here is stone built, and both properties are roughly the same level (sea level) but with larger stone/brick buildings (not huge) in between.

I will get some photos of the equipment I currently have at my disposal, that way, you guys will be able to tell me if it's right, or wrong...cause I honestly have no bloody idea :P

Stephen66515

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Re: Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 05:36:51 AM »
Oh, I could probably setup a Terminal Computer with PCI based wifi, if that would be better than dongles.
* Stephen66515 shrugs

4wd

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Re: Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 06:09:20 AM »
Oh, I could probably setup a Terminal Computer with PCI based wifi, if that would be better than dongles.
* Stephen66515 shrugs

If you use PCI cards that means you need to run good quality low-loss coax cable between the PCI card output and the antenna at the dish.
If it's any more than a meter in length, the signal loss may start to make a significant impact.
Any length of quality low loss coax won't be cheap either, (compared to a 5m USB lead).

With the dongle, you have no such problem - the signal is received and decoded in the dongle and you send just the normal serial data down the cable, good for up to 5m, (per USB spec).

If you use a WiFi extender at the dish and run the data back over CAT5e, you're probably good for 20-30m before POE voltage drop may be a problem - even then, you could just place the POE injector close to the antenna and continue back to the router/computer in CAT5e for another 20-30m without a problem.

Another idea is if you could get one of the small WiFi hotspot devices to run in repeater mode.  You could then place that at the focal point of the dish, just supply it with power and have it rebroadcast the WiFi signal throughout your place.

40hz

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Re: Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 06:19:27 AM »
Lacking line-of-sight or common 'bounce' point, about the only thing you can do to get serious data communications distances is to get an amateur radio license and then set up a packet radio link. At least AFAIK.

Do a google for "Amateur Packet Radio" and "AMPRnet" and have a look at what these super-geeks have been up to. Basically, they're using ham radio frequency bands and technology for data communications. The only challenge is that you'll need a government license (not too difficult to obtain in most places) to legally do any of this.

Alternatively, check out this guy's article here. He claims to get quarter-mile wifi connectivity using a high-power wireless setup using one of these plus a big honking antenna. Can't vouch for it since I've never done anything like that. But I remember enough from my radio amateur days that he's not saying anything that sounds wrong at least.

This sounds like an interesting project btw. 8)
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 08:26:26 AM by 40hz »

Stephen66515

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Re: Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2013, 07:01:32 AM »
Honestly, if I could afford it, I would just launch a Comms Satellite and grab signal from that...from ANYWHERE.

For now, I am looking at the info you guys have given, and trying to see what is most viable...I might go up on the roof to see roughly what obstacles I will be dealing with.

40hz

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Re: Long Range WiFi WITHOUT line of sight. HELP!!!!
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2013, 08:28:00 AM »
I might go up on the roof to see roughly what obstacles I will be dealing with.

The biggest challenge will most likely be not to fall off. :P ;D :Thmbsup:

(Seriously...be careful up there. I almost screwed up on a flat rooftop about a month ago. There are far better ways to get your 15-minutes of fame, and brief mention on the local evening news, than getting yourself killed in a semi-amusing way.)