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paulWTAMU
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Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:46 am

I have a workshop (http://imgur.com/a/k44rL) that I want to get internet in. It's about 60 feet from my back door, and the wireless signal craps out about halfway there.

I want wireless.

I've looked at powerline adapters but it's on a while different line from the utility pole, so I'm not sure that would work; if I understand this right they have to be on the same 120 line? The line comes down from the pole, then goes into our meter, but it's electric system and our houses are entirely different.


I've looked at running cable there but frankly I don't reallly know how and it seems like a lot of work.


So am I wrong about the powerline adapters? Because those would be my favorite answer if they work, but with them on different electric boxes I'm not sure they would. Or do I need to get a range extender and if so how do I find out what the ranges on them are?
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:53 am

A wireless bridge with directional antennas should get you there. Also, find on eBay a router built before the FCC policy change where you can increase the output signal power using 3rd party firmware.
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paulWTAMU
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:04 am

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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:14 am

I was thinking more along the lines of something where you could pull off one of the supplied antennas and replace it with something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Yagi-WiFi-Antenn ... B008Z4DNFC

So you could have both antennas of the bridge link outside and not in the Faraday cage your outbuilding appears to be.

This is another possibility:

https://www.amazon.com/High-Gain-Long-R ... B0038Q4AIG
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:03 am

If you want cheap solutions you could do a directional antenna. The yagi would work as would something like this.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003CFATOC/re ... UTF8&psc=1

It looks like you could try some Ubiquity gear, too. They seem to have some outdoor access point and antennas. I use an access point at home and I love it, but I'm not familiar with the outdoor stuff.
 
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:24 pm

Those would all involve running a coax tot he outside of the house right? so they'd have something to mount to? I'm trying to avoid that. Right now the coax for my modem is dropped directly through the roof down to an interior wall...
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:32 pm

paulWTAMU wrote:
Those would all involve running a coax tot he outside of the house right? so they'd have something to mount to? I'm trying to avoid that. Right now the coax for my modem is dropped directly through the roof down to an interior wall...

Well, you could put the house side antenna in a window that looks at your outbuilding.
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:58 am

Do you by chance have coax running from the house to the outbuilding? If so, you could use a MoCA 2.0 device. It uses existing coax to send gigabit Ethernet signals around the home (it's an alternative to running CAT5e/6). You put one next to your existing router connected to one of it's gigabit ports. Then anywhere you have coax and want to also have Ethernet, you put another one there. Once you have the Ethernet at the location you can connect a switch and/or another AP at that location.

Another option would be to get something like a pair of Microtik Routerboard SXT 5 ac's and configure them in a bridge (or point-to-point) link.

Ubiquiti also has their airMAX line. It's a little more expensive, but they're rock solid. They're generally designed for distance so being that close together you'd probably want to turn down the transmit power.
Last edited by curtisb on Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:34 pm

60 feet clear line of sight?

Just get a couple of basic wireless AP's that can work as a bridge and slap a directional antenna on each one. They should be fast enough to stream 1080p no problems. I used directional antennas back in the early 802.11n days across about 75m (250ft) - it was indoors, but open plan and I was getting about 15 mbit/s over the link which is plenty fast enough for a decent internet experience.

I think you're right about the Powerline stuff; I've never seen it work if the two sockets use different circuit-breaker boxes.
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:34 pm

My expensive but hopefully futureproof TP-Link AD-7200 gives my cellphone a signal 200 feet away through a brick wall. This is assuming google maps is accurate - I had roughly 4 x 50ft "sticks" from my living room to the next street's intersection. Phone is a cheapo Moto G Play, so I'd imagine a quality NIC with 3-4 antennae would give even better performance. Router is also on the ground level, so putting it up on the 2nd floor should increase the range even further.

Based on your post, I'd probably not try powerline until all else fails. At 60ft, you should be able to run a 100ft spool of CAT6 cable pretty easily. Use PVC or some other plumbing pipe to protect the underground portion. Or make a Pringles Cantenna.
 
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:48 pm

Just to put this out there: the cost of an 18" DitchWitch rental and about 70' of 1" PVC conduit and fittings is probably not much different than the hardware for a reliable wireless bridging solution. And the wired option gets you gigabit, as well as improved options for e.g. security cameras.
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:04 pm

Using PVC for copper-based cabling has come up before, and I wouldn't recommend it. While the likelihood is low, PVC can build static electricity and we all know how electronics react to static electricity. :)

You can get CAT5e/6 that's rated to be buried directly in the ground without using a conduit, but I would still put in some sort of conduit. Rigid Metal Conduit (RMC) is rated for underground installations. I would still use an outdoor rated CAT5e/6 cable in it though, because the conduit will get water in it. Put a pull string through with your cable in case you want to add another one or two later.

Also, if you're going to dig make sure you call for utilities to be marked before doing so (in a lot of places in the US you dial 811 to call in for location services). They'll locate any gas pipes, water lines, electrical, coax, etc. along your path so you know where to be careful when you're digging.

EDIT: I found the thread where it came up before.
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:28 pm

curtisb wrote:
Using PVC for copper-based cabling has come up before, and I wouldn't recommend it. While the likelihood is low, PVC can build static electricity and we all know how electronics react to static electricity. :)

Nope. When conduit is buried it becomes grounded along its entire length; it won't accumulate a charge. PVC is routinely used for buried conduit runs in substations and industrial facilities to route all manner of power, control, and communications circuits. It's also agnostic to nearly all soil conditions, unlike EMT which can degrade rapidly in some cases.

The main advantages of EMT are mechanical durability and some degree of interference shielding.
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:30 pm

While I could see building up a potentially damaging static charge while pulling the cable, the solution is quite simple: don't have the cable plugged in to a system or switch at either end while pulling it through the PVC pipe.

The ports on NICs and switches are also transformer-isolated. This gives them better ESD immunity than most other types of ports (and also makes them immune to ground loops).
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curtisb
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:34 pm

I did think about it being grounded since it would be installed...well...in the ground. I'm also aware of EMT not being rated for underground installs, which is why I mention RMC instead. You can even get metal conduit that is PVC coated. In all likelihood, regular PVC would be fine, although it's not even really necessary with cable that's rated for direct burial. However, I do agree with using a conduit in case you want to add additional cable in the future (or replace it with newer cable). I would still recommend using outdoor rated cable in the conduit, though. Being in the ground there's more than a good chance water will find a way in. Ubiquiti has some outdoor-rated cable, and even has surge protectors for each end of the run.

For indoor applications, I still wouldn't use PVC. There are other benefits to using EMT aside from the (however slight) potential of static electricity build up.
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Re: Getting wireless to an outbuilding

Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:40 am

I just finished a project along these lines, running cat6 from my office to the garage on the opposite side of the house, including running through about a 25 foot expanse between the house and the garage with PVC conduit.

The hardest part by far is simply digging the trench to lay the conduit, and that's not saying much as I did that in about an hour. Since the distance wasn't very great, I assembled and glued the conduit outside the trench and set it into place, gluing gentle curved bits to the ends to help the cable pulling process.
Image

I started by drilling holes in the garage and house and putting in PVC conduit body units on the outside.
Image
After sealing them down with a generous heap of silicone, I laid the previously glued conduit in the trench and cut the vertical sections to length (I left them overly long to avoid having to measure the depth) and glued them into the elbows mounted to the buildings.

After that I gave the glue about an hour to dry. I could have started reburying the conduit but I was paranoid something would go wrong and I would have to dig it up as it was my first time. Then, I took a tiny bit of foam tape and wrapped it around a pull string to form a small plug, which I shoved in the conduit. Then, I attached a shop vac to the other end and sucked the string through the buried section, then taped my cat6 to it and pulled it through.

The project probably took about 2 hours total apart from filling the trench back in which I conned my wife and 4-year old son into doing for me while I was at work. :D

I'll post pictures of the finished product when I get home.
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