Affordable Building to Building Wirelss for Small Network

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bloodwashed2022

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I am the Pastor of a small church in Texas. I recently purchased a laptop to replace my desktop and plan on passing down my desktop to our treasurer. I just purchased a D-Link Extreme N Gigabit router and have networked the 2 computers to the DSL.

We recently purchased an all in one print/copy unit that has wireless capabilities that I would also like to incorprate into the network with the DSL and Other Computer.

We have our main Church building where my office is located, however; the copier and treasurers office are in our youth building behind the church. When I'm sitting at my desk I can sometimes get a low signal strength connection with the printer on the printers "network" in the other building.

With my Laptop I get great signal strength from the "DSL Network" just outside the building. The meter is around 4 bars and stays 48-54mbps. As soon as I step in the door, the signal is lost(it's a metal building).

The copier room is the first room inside the door and the next room is the Treasurers office. The room right above both is my Teen Classroom for Wednesday Night bible studies. These three rooms are really the only place in the building i'm needing to reach signal.

Currently in both machines I have one Intel A/B/G card and the other just is labled USB B/G Card. Would changing these cards to N enable me to pick up the signal inside the building? Is there a cheap meathod of bridging from building to building? This is all coming out of my pocket, mostly for my benifit, so I am not sticking the church with the debt.

Any information you can provide would be much appreciated. I have been working with and on computers since age 5, but I have just never had much dealings with networking and I am especially new to Wireless.
 

JohnWill

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Well, the megal building says it all. :)

I'd probably consider using an external hi-gain antenna into a wireless bridge and connect the laptop using the cable to the wireless bridge. Obviously, the wireless bridge unit would be inside the building. If you really want wireless inside the church, you could add another WAP on the wireless bridge and rebroadcast the signal, but unless the cable is a real problem, that would be the cleanest solution.
 

bloodwashed2022

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I already have the wireless setup inside the church and I don't want to go wired from a WAP to my Laptop, I want to be able to have free travel around the property with my laptop, that was the reason I bought it.

Would it be possible since I have great signal strength right outside the building to have an antenna mounted on the outside wall of the youth building hooked to a WAP or Bridge or whatever inside the building? And if so would I be able to pick the signal up from that room through the floor of the upstairs or would I have to have another WAP with an external antenna for the top floor as well?
 

JohnWill

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You need something inside the metal building walls broadcasting, so you need that device inside. The wireless bridge will be working with the signal outside, so that would seem to indicate we need two devices, the second one "rebroadcasting" the wireless signal inside the church. As for the range inside the church, that will be totally dependent on the exact size, construction, and other sources of interference, not to mention the exact location of the WAP and the laptop.
 

bloodwashed2022

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The DSL and Network Router right now are hooked up inside the Church. Are you saying i need to put one bridge unit inside the church as well as one inside the youth building, even though the signal from inside the church is going all the way to the wall of the youth building?
 

JohnWill

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No, I thought the router was in the youth building, got that backwards.

If you have a good signal right outside the youth building, your external antenna can pick it up there. However, to have wireless all over the youth building, I suspect you'll still have to rebroadcast it using the scheme I mentioned above, it's just that the parts are in a different building.
 

bloodwashed2022

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Do I need to buy an Access Point or what exactly? Will I be able with an extension cable to mount one of the antennas on the outside wall? How does that work?

I'm trying to figure out in my head how all this works. On a unit with two antennas are they both senders and receivers or one or the other?

I'm hoping with the three rooms I need the signal to travel to being so close together that I wont have to have a second repeater inside the youth building. As I said to begin with this is all coming out of pocket for me. There isn't much in the pocket to begin with these days.
 

bloodwashed2022

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What i'm seeing in my head is that if I purchased one of these: http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-HWABN1-Wire...0?hash=item518b161beb&_trksid=p3286.m20.l1116 and installed the unit inside the Youth building, but ran one of the antennas outside to capture the signal out there, it would bring the signal inside the building where I need it.

Or I guess I would have to buy one of those and an external antenna to attach to one of the antenna connections on back of the unit. Would I be correct in my assumptions?
 

JohnWill

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Well, that's pretty expensive for what we're talking about, and I don't believe just sticking one of it's antennas outside will do the job.

I'd get a pair of these ZyXEL P330W units, since I've actually used them in bridge mode, and connect the external antenna to one in wireless bridge mode, and connect the second unit with a cable directly to the primary one, it would be configured as a WAP by the instructions below. In addition, both of them are cheaper than the single unit you've identified.




Connecting two (or more) SOHO broadband routers together.

Note: The "primary" router can be an actual router, a software gateway like Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing, or a server connection that has the capability to supply more than one IP address using DHCP server capability. No changes are made to the primary "router" configuration.

Configure the IP address of the secondary router(s) to be in the same subnet as the primary router, but out of the range of the DHCP server in the primary router. For instance DHCP server addresses 192.168.0.2 through 192.168.0.100, I'd assign the secondary router 192.168.0.254 as it's IP address, 192.168.0.253 for another router, etc.

Note: Do this first, as you will have to reboot the computer to connect to the router again for the remaining changes.

Disable the DHCP server in the secondary router.

Setup the wireless section just the way you would if it was the primary router, channels, encryption, etc.

Connect from the primary router's LAN port to one of the LAN ports on the secondary router. If there is no uplink port and neither of the routers have auto-sensing ports, use a cross-over cable. Leave the WAN port unconnected!

This procedure bypasses the routing function (NAT layer) and configures the router as a switch (or wireless access point for wireless routers).

For reference, here's a link to a Typical example config using a Netgear router
 

bloodwashed2022

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That would be great, but it is only a Wireless G. The one I showed you was wireless N. Do you know of any cheaper wireless N units? I have found several, but none of them have antennas.
 

JohnWill

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Do you really need 802.11n capability? I don't know of any cheap ones with wireless bridge capability offhand, but I suspect there are a number of them. I have one here, but I couldn't find anyplace to buy it currently, seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. :)
 
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