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New Around Here
OK, I'll start with the statement that I'm VERY NEW to wireless network set-up. I've used wireless as a 'consumer' lots of times, but never built a network, but now we're trying to find a solution to our issues.

We'd planned to build a small office network around a satellite system as the location is semi-rural, thus no DSL and No cable available. On one end of the road where we are, there are many trees to our south and the Sat installer isn't confident that he can get sat signal unless the dish is in front of the building. Boss doesn't want to look out the office window and see a dish, and won't cut down tress, so....

The building across the street does not have the tree problem and is using sat for Internet connection. The boss contacted them and they're willing to 'share' the connection and cost (likely upping the speed somewhat with the pooled $), but they don't want to spend any $ on hardware (we'd have to do that), AND their building is about 700' away from ours.

As I understand it, Cat5 or coax wouldn't go that far without a booster, and burying wire isn't the preferred option anyway (paved road makes it difficult), so I'm trying to figure out if there's a wireless solution. I've read about some folks getting very long range wireless (further than this), so I'm hoping this is possible.

Keep in mind that internet connection speeds with the sat are pretty slow in comparison to DSL or Cable, so overall wireless system speed isn't super critical, but a reliable connection is important.

In a perfect world, I'd want/need:

1) A WAP in our building for our laptops that has at least 2 ethernet ports for hardwired equipment is desireable
2) The building across the street has similar needs (3 ethernet ports) and wireless laptop access.
3) Minimal hardware expense, especially for the hardware that would be across the street and not in our direct control.
4)Some way of 'separating' the networks so there's no ability to 'share' files between buildings unless we really want to.
5) Both sides want a secure network (vague, I know, but I'm not yet smart enough to know much about the different security protocols)

They already have a "G" router that meets their current needs... still waiting for brand/model info. We bought a DLink Dir-655 (draft N) in anticipation of the SAT working at our place, but it's returnable if this is a bad choice give our new situation. One desireable feature of the DIR655 is the USB port...we'd planned to hook up an external HD to that port to use as a large, shared storage area.

Am I crazy? Can this be done without spending a huge $$? Ideally, the budget for hardware is about $500 or so.


A couple quick points. Tim (thiggins) would be a much better person to comment, but in my own research I've found very little consumer or enterprise wireless solutions offering that range in your budget. I'm work in a company with several remote field offices and sub-sites a 1km or two away and we usually have to revert to more proprietary solutions by a local wireless solutions provider. Not sure you'll be able to find something in your budget, but I'm not up on the latest tech in this area.

About the DIR-655. Using the USB port for storage is incredibly slow. Depending on your needs, you'd be better off buying a cheap NAS or setting up a file share on the network somehow.

Regarding the 'secure' network, there's a variety of ways to secure a shared internet connection so the 2 sides are independent. You'll want to have a look at these two articles: One Internet Connection, 2 Private LANs, and VLAN How to: Segmenting a small LAN. Both of those can be done for minimal expense.
Getting close...

Thanks for the response! I had not seen the "one internet connection - 2 private LAN's" article, but it's exactly what I want. It's perfect in a couple ways in that it allows the folks across the street to continue to use their existing Wireless router for their needs, and would only require me to find a ethernet router and a wireless device to set up at their place to 'beam' a fairly direct signal to a device our side of the road.

If it helps...I can sit in the middle of the road between the 2 buildings and get a weak signal from their existing 'g' router on my laptop. I didn't have access info, so I didn't connect and get an assessment of speed. My initial hope was that some of the 'hype' from .11n would prove true and I could get a decent signal/connection at 2x the distance of their 'g' router with an N router set up at their place and a repeater at my place. I know we lose speed, but again, the internet is already slower than the routers, so distance is more important. I'd love to use the Dlink DIR655 that we bought as the repeater so we could take advantage of the USB port but it doesn't seem to be capable.

Also, I'd heard that a USB HD was going to be painfully slow when plugged into the DIR655 (as you suggest), but since it's mostly for back-up, and we already have a drive in hand that we're currently moving between computers as needed, I figured we'd get try by with it 'til the speed became too frustrating.

Having this feature is secondary in terms of importance, however, so if there's a better router set-up that would jump the gap between their building and ours, I'm all ears, especially knowing that there are other solutions to this problem.

Thanks again!

Bridge like this?

OK, so I've been doing some more looking and learning....

What I found was this: http://www.wirelessnetworkproducts.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1894

Any thoughts on doing an ethernet router off the sat modem with one port to the existing 'across the street' WAP that currently works for their needs, and another port on the Ethernet router going to one end of the above mentioned bridge, then to my building via the other end of the bridge to my already obtained Dlink router? This would split our 2 networks as desired/recommended and should get me a signal that goes between the buildings. I'd prefer to not have to mount the bridge radios/antennas outside, but I think I could get that to happen if we found it was needed. This bridge kit claims a range of 3 miles and I only need to go 700 feet, but if bridge stuff was inside, I'd have a couple wood walls to go through, but I'd hope that I could still get 700 ft out of them.

This seems like it would work and would only add $200-$250 in hardware (bridge kit, ethernet router, misc wires, mounts, etc) to what we already have. Is this gunna be a set-up nightmare that becomes a maintainance nightmare for us? (keeping in mind my 'super-rookie' status :D)

Thanks again for the help!

I suggest you look at the PepWave products. The Surf-DX might be all you need. High-gain panel antenna, outdoor enclosure, good radio and built-in router. The PepWave Surf 200 I reviewed awhile ago is basically the DX, but without the high-gain antenna and not in a weatherproof enclosure.

PepWave's stuff is used in muni Wi-Fi application as CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) for connecting to local APs.

Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate the extra options and suggestions. But now I have more questions.....

The surfDX is a repeater, right? I couldn't tell from the specs if there was a way to connect a hardwire (ethernet) desktop to it as it looks like the surf200 that you suggested was similar does not have this ability. If not, adapters are certainly available and not expensive.....

Best I can swag, if I want to do separate LAN systems for us and the place across the street, I'd still need an ethernet hub and a dedicated WLAN for each of the locations, all located across the street, then the SurfDX on my side and maybe the wireless adapter for the desktop on our side. This system would cost $30 for Ethernet hub, $55 for Wireless G LAN box, $240 for SurfDX, and maybe another $30 for wireless USB adapter for the desktop if needed. Total of either $325 or $355 depending on what I need to do with the desktop.

If I do the wireless bridge, I get the flexibility of wireless N (which our newer laptop has) and more 'direct' control of the WLAN in our building (since the router is located here) and a (slow) system drive to use as backup. I think it's a touch cheaper as well (30 for hub, 160 for bridge kit, 95 for DIR655 for a total of $275).

For a difference of only $80 worst case, the $ isn't going to influence any decisions as if one set-up works well and the other is a PITA to use or maintain....well, let's just say that the boss doesn't want me to make a career of maintaining whatever we pick.

Any thoughts on which would require less effort to keep 'alive' once the initial set-up is good and which would be most reliable once it was set up right?

Thanks again!

The SurfDX and Surf 200 are not WDS-based repeaters. Both products function as 802.11b/g wireless routers, but with a WAN port that connects to any 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network instead of using an Ethernet connection to a cable or DSL modem.

All you would need is a DX at your end of the connection. It would connect to the main AP on its WAN side and provide you with a NAT-isolated wireless network.
More questions....

Hi folks,

Likely more stupid questions by a rookie, but you were very helpful before, so I figured I'd go 'back to the well' again....

Update.....I went the way of the bridge, figuring that it would make everyone more comfortable with respect to sharing and keeping things separated (it wasn't much more expensive, but it was easier to explain how both sides would be more secure)

Anyway, as fate would have it, I musta messed something up with what was probably the simplest part of things because as of right now, I have the bridge plugged into their wireless router and NOT into the wired router that was to be between the Satellite modem on one side and both their wireless router and my bridge on the other side.

When I plugged in the wired router between the modem and their wireless router, their router didn't see the sat modem, even after resetting things (via killing power) and letting them hang for a bit.

Ignoring the bridge for a minute (as it's working when plugged into their wireless router on their side and feeding my wireless router), what am I doing wrong with the wired router? Everything is set up DHCP, including the Sat Modem, but their modem appears to not like the wired router between it and the sat modem. I reset the wired router back to factory defaults to make sure I didn't have any bad stuff in it, and they had just reset their wireless router back to factory defaults, too, and I checked and both are still DHCP and don't have anything that strikes me as weird from a set-up perspective.

Thoughts or suggetions??

The sat modem may be associating the MAC of their wireless router. If rebooting the modem doesn't help, I'd try cloning the old router's WAN MAC for use on the new router.

It's also a good idea to perform basic connectivity tests when hardware is being swapped, especially if different subnets come into play. If your client can't communicate with the router because it didn't request a new DHCP lease, advanced troubleshooting is futile.

I can't say without a shadow of a doubt what the problem was, but I went into the settings on the wired router and changed the IP to a 192.168.30.xx from 192.168.1.xx like the default. Nothing else on the set-up was using the 192.168.1.xx for addresses, so I have no idea why it works now and it didn't before (masks were in both cases), but....

Bottom line is we're up and running and everyone is happy.

Thanks for the help!
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