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Extending Wireless 300+ Feet

Johnnyb

New Around Here
Hi,

After searching and finding posts 3-4 years old, I thought I would ask about extending wireless service to a metal building I've rented as a shop.

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Situation is straight forward in that I want to extend existing wifi and/or LTE to get a signal in building that is functioning as a faraday cage. The building has its own power panel and meter so power line extensions aren't an option. I can mount a receiver or an antenna on the outside wall. I have looked at yagi solutions, the ubiquiti options but don't have any real world experience with these products.

The existing wifi is both 2.4 and 5.0 ghz.

Will any wifi extenders work in this arrangement?

For LTE, I get 2 bars outside the building (-90 to -100 dbm), but no signal inside. Solutions here seem to start at $6-700 and go up from there for an LTE booster. Again, before I spend that money, I would like to believe that it will actually work.

Any suggestions for solving my 2 wireless dilemma's with 2018 gear?

Thanks,

jb
 

CaptainSTX

Part of the Furniture
For your LTE phone service see if your cell provider will give you a microcell that you can install inside the shed. A few years ago AT&T had a model that you could purchase and install in your home. T-Mobil gave me one which I currently use and it works very well. The telco provided microcells only work with the service you are currently subscribed to.

A microcell will only work if you get a stable Internet connection in the shed as they need to be plugged into your router which you would attach to the wireless bridge mentioned by thiggins. You also will need to mount the GPS antennae the microcell comes with near a window or outside so it can sync up and determine your location.

The only problem I have with my T-Mobil microcell is that it takes 10 - 15 minutes to come back on line if it loses it Internet connection or power. A UPS helps prevent this from happening very often
 

Johnnyb

New Around Here
Thanks to both of you. I will say that the page of outdoor bridges gives a daunting number of options. Are certain brands more reliable, easier to setup, or higher throughput than the others?

As to the lte booster, I’ve been looking at the Wilson Amplifier 4G LTE. The free one from T-Mobile is great if you have WiFi, but I haven’t been able to guarantee myself access. And if I get the WiFi working, I would default to WiFi calling and could live without the amp.

I appreciate your suggestions.

Jb
 

CaptainSTX

Part of the Furniture
In my experience outdoor APs have a shorter life than other networking gear. Being exposed to heat, cold, wind, rain leads to premature radio failure. That being said don't pay more than you need to as you will probably be replacing them every one - two years.

WiFi calling is OK if your phone supports it but the call quality isn't as consistent as with a microcell and you have the inconvience of having to turn it off and on. You do not want to have WiFi calling active when you are in range of a WiFi hotspot that you have previously signed on to in a public space such as a mall. When you have WiFi calling on it will try to use WiFi first vs a carriers signal and if both are weak the Wifi call will be a bad experience.

There is a reason that T-Mobil dumped all the TM branded ASUS routers that were supposedly optimized for WiFi calling and that is for many people some of the time WiFi calling sucks.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Are certain brands more reliable, easier to setup, or higher throughput than the others?
Engenius has been making outdoor bridges for awhile. Ubiquiti too. Both will take a little networking savvy to set up.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
run fiber optic underground or aerial(w support cable).
Fiber optic would be the best long term solution but way expensive. Underground is safe and it will still run if the conduit fills with water. No lightening problems with fiber non-armored. The problem with aerial is the squirrels will make a mess of your fiber optic. If you go aerial you need to go with armored fiber optic.
 

Johnnyb

New Around Here
OK, thanks again everyone. I'm narrowing it down to the EnGenius ENS620ext mounted at my building and the ENS1750 mounted at the router source. This will set me back $310 ish which is still cheap compared to having Spectrum run a separate service. Now that I've got a config that likely works, I will see what options are out there for less money, but this is the baseline.

jb
 

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