Extending 802.11 Between Two Houses, Through Woods

Hi Folks,

We're trying to see if it's feasable (without spending thousands) to get two houses wirelessly talking. They're about 200 feet apart and there's woods between them.

Each house right now has 801.11g wireless routers and we were hoping they would reach but no-go. I've dug around and seen antennas, extenders, repeaters, etc and am still not sure what would make the most sense for out situation. We don't need to stretch miles but would like it to be reliable.

We're fine with sticking an antenna on each roof if that's what it takes, but then how's that work? Is there just a line that's run down and plugs into where the antenna attaches on the router? Or do we need all new WAPs?



Reply to
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How tall are the trees, can you install antennas on each house that are taller?


Reply to
Adair Witner

Where are you located at? (approximately)

Any idea if they are on the same power transformer? At my place in idaho both my neighbor (1/4 mile away) and myself, had both houses, garages/utility buildings/workshops, and guest houses, all on the same power transformer. We used powerline networking with a wap/router in each building (hooked to the powerline transceiver), and one two way sat on the network too.

Just an aside, it's probably about 50/50, sometimes a group of houses are off one transformer, and other areas have one transformer per house.. If it does happen to work for you, the powerline networking stuff is up to 85 mbps and about $130 for two devices (we used netgear at

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When you talk about woods, how dense are they in the spring/summer? Evergreens or deciduous trees? While you may be able to see thru the trees when there are no leaves, they are very bad for Wifi (green water things block the signal) when they bloom/grow.. And some areas (mostly in the north) have metal snow roofs on the buildings that work real good as signal blockers..

Reply to
Peter Pan

snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com hath wroth:

200ft is well within the distance that will work for running wire, coax cable, or fiber optics. Are the houses 200ft apart, or the probable antenna locations 200ft apart? Could I trouble you to actually measure the distance?

For alternatives to wireless, see: (phone line) (AC power line networking) (CATV coax sharing) (Free Space Optics) You can also run 10base2 (cheapernet) coax at 10mbits/sec, Direct burial gel filled CAT5 at 100Mbits/sec, or fiber optic cable at

100Mbits/sec. Lots of options.

Your IP address puts you in Albany NY. As I recall, the "woods" are elm, sycamore, and maple, which are not particularly dense. If you can see through the trees, you have a chance. In general, it's easier to shoot through the tree trunks near the ground, than through the denser leaves up higher. 200ft is not very far for wireless, but you'll need a pair of high gain directional antennas at each end to overcome the foliage attenuation.

It would not have worked even if the routers were next to each other. Routers normally do not talk to each other unless they have a WDS feature. Could I trouble you to disclose what hardware you currently have to work with?

Meanwhile, find a laptop, put one of the routers in a window, and take a walk in the woods to see how far you can go. 200ft is about the limit of the range with the stock antennas and without any folliage attenuation, but it should give you an idea of what can be done. Please remember that the leaves are currently rather sparce and will become far denser in the spring.

Repeaters suck. Details on request. WDS is a form of repeater that sucks much less.

Reliability and trees are mutually exclusive. I would look into the alternatives I suggested before attempting a wireless link.

Well, assuming that you can see each other from the rooftops, you would need to either:

  1. Install a radio on the roofs and run CAT5 with PoE (power over ethernet) to an ethernet switch. The radio is mounted on a rigid pipe inside a waterproof enclosure.
  2. Install a radio somewhere in the house and run thick coaxial cable to an antenna on the roofs. At 2.4GHz, coax cable is very lossy. The length should be minimized. If snow is a problem, you might consider mounting the radio in the attic, punching a hole in the roof, and using as little coax cable as possible.

Notice that I did not specify a specific type of "radio" or model. That's because I have no clue as to what you currently are doing, what you have to work with, and how you plan to use the link. There are different types of radios that will be defined by your network. For example, are your client computers going to connect to the wireless bridge using CAT5 coax, or are they connected via wireless?

If you go with the wireless route, it's likely that you'll need two antennas, two wireless bridge radios, some coax cable, RF connectors, outdoor mounting hardware, a length of coax cable, a coax pigtail, etc.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in news:1171933230.129883.252870 @q2g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

200 ft isn't too much for running direct burial ethernet.

Only problem I see is getting around tree roots.

Reply to

DanS hath wroth:

I would hang my Christmas tree lamps on some of the coax and CAT5 runs through the trees. The aesthetics weren't much a problem in a dense forest, but the squirrels and mice were. So, we buried the problem.

It really depends on the type of tree and type of root system. In the redwoods (where I live), the trees tend to have a fairly shallow root system (4-6ft), a short tap root, and roots that spreads out over a wide area. Chopping through these roots is a bad idea. Fortunately, the upper layers of the forest floor is loose mulch and easy to excavate, but not in a straight line. I have cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) flexible water pipe snaking through the forest floor, buried just below the surface. Inside is a mix of coax cable, CAT5, fiber, and nylon pull line. One run is pressurized (because it tended to flood). We also have a run of PVC pipe under the road, and some outdoor RG-6/u coax that goes off into the forest to who-knows-where.

While direct burial cable will also work without resorting to conduit, I just hate working with the silicon gooey gel, and it's more expensive than PEX.

The catch is that it comes in an amazing array of colors and sizes. I got lucky and obtained a large roll of 1" ID from the local water district.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

Jeff Liebermann wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:

True, but you only have to deal with the goo once at each end.

It's also a much smaller OD than conduit, and there's a good chance that you can use a 'slitting' technique to bury it in the ground instead of digging a trench.

We were only talking about 1 run I thought.

Reply to

DanS hath wroth:

Sure, but it still makes a mess. The direct burial CAT5 is also rather stiff and difficult to bend.

Yep. That's the way we started. Just lay it in a shallow and narrow trench. That was fine until the cable was discovered by the local chomping critters. Conduit seems to be the only effective protection.

True. However, I like to cram everything I can think might be useful into the conduit. Also a pull line for adding even more later. Wire is cheap ($0.06/ft for CAT5e), but labor is expensive. There are also conglomerated structured wiring (EIA-570B), but I don't use any:

All the extra CAT5 and coax in the conduit eventually gets used for something. Something like this:

or this mess:

The above is a PEX conduit run between the main house, a pool house, and a garage/shop building. The original plan was for 2 runs of CAT5e. I specified oversized PEX conduit. I think it was 1.5" ID or something similar. 4 years later, it's now crammed with 3 coax runs,

4 CAT5 runs, and an alarm cable. Plan ahead.
Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

A shallow slit in the ground that wire can be poked into can be made with a lawn edger.

Reply to
Si Ballenger

I live in a forest. What's a lawn? Lawns don't grow in the deep dark forest.

I suspect that running a lawn edger on the forest floor will result in either hitting a tree root, hitting a rock, hitting a buried dead automobile, or spraying mulch all over the place like was a snow plow. There are some things that are best done by hand (using a hoe and straight blade shovel).

Anyway, PEX tubing suitable for conduit is about 1" or more in diameter, which is rather too wide for a slit trench.

Drivel: Many years ago, the local CDF (california dept of forestry) office installed a new radio vault. There was a substantial amount of signal wiring between the dispatch center and the radio vault. PVC conduit was used. Ssomeone cleverly installed a common concrete pull box in the middle, obviously to make it easier to pull the fat wire bundle through the pipes that snaked around the trees. One day, I get a call from one of the dispatchers to see if I guess why half the radios suddenly won't work. I eventually ripped the cover off the concrete pull box and found that a gopher had eaten all the electrical tape, pipe wrap, outer jacket, insulation, and some of the wire. It was really impressive to see a 100 pair telco cable half eaten through. It seems that the designers forgot to specify a bottom for the pull box, with predictable results.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

A shallow slit in the ground is also as equally easily found and dug by small furry animals and children , they last mere weeks before being interfered with

Reply to
atec 77

If you aren't willing to take that chance or have a lot of underground obstructions, call a lawn contractor with a ditchwitch that lays underground sprinkler systems. Hand digging any distance can get old really quick

Reply to
Si Ballenger

What is actually the easy way is have someone local who has a conduit laying attachment on their tractor , it's just a simple ripper to which a conduit is fixed and it opens and lays in one operation Rural plumbers often have one.

Reply to
atec 77

atec 77 hath wroth:

Or, if you're lazy, and just want to run a conduit under something through relatively clean soil, you use one of several devices designed for "horizontal drilling". I've used everything from a piece of water pipe attached to a very big drill motor, to hiring a horizontal drill contractor and their machine to do the job. We have one pipe that I did going under the road (about 25ft) for our neighborhood LAN conduit. I started the hard way, gave up after about 6 ft, and then rented the proper implement of destruction to finish the job.

Hint: Read the instructions and be prepared to get soaked. (I know it's a horizontal boring subject.)

The problem here is that the OP mentioned "woods" which implies trees, which implies tree roots. You want to avoid drilling through the tree roots if possible. Even if you succeed, the proximity to the roots will eventually tear your conduit apart.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

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