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long range wireless internet setup--is this possible?


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#1
moscatomg1

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I am searching for a way to connect to one of several free, public wireless internet spots in town--all of which are at least 1-2 miles away. I've read a lot of posts that say it's not likely to happen (especially for a newbie with limited skills). But I found this question and answer on Yahoo. Does this sound right--what kind of "extended range antenna" is this guy talking about?


Taken from http://answers.yahoo...17150513AAacgH2

"Question: I own a coffee shop with high speed wireless internet and i live about 2 miles away, is there any way that i can hook up something to my desktop to enable it to pick up my signal from the shop?

Answer: Yes you can!!! Get a wireless N card with MIMO and an extended antenna. I have a D-link extreme N card (dwa-552) with a extended range antenna (the antenna didn't come with the card). I live in North Central Phx and my signal comes from downtown APS building approx 5-7 miles away. the connection speed is very fast it ranges from 900KB/s to 2.3Mb/s (upload) 7500-8000kb/s (download). the router APS uses is a linksys standard G. For better performance i recommend your router to be a wireless N router for much higher bandwidth and greater range.
A full Wireless G will never work, I think the people above are live two to five years in the past. Get with the times guys!!! G is out N is in!!
No one should ever have to pay for Internet Except for the guys who give it away for free"
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#2
Major Payne

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Pick your link source from this Google Search for Wireless Antennas. RadioLabs is a good source.

A properly installed wireless antenna will help you connect, but you need to look at improving the transmitter power part of it as their antennas may not be that great.

Or this one: Buffalo - High Power Wireless. Or this: High Power WiFi Router 802.11N.

Google Source.

Many of those with a good high-gain external wireless antenna ought to meet your needs.

Edited by Major Payne, 20 December 2008 - 01:51 PM.

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#3
moscatomg1

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Thanks for the quick reply! OK, I am pretty ignorant about this, so let me make sure I understand: 1) I would need some kind of wireless "N" card (most of which seem to have small antennas of their own and which actually install into the computer/laptop), 2) something like the High Power WiFi Router 802.11N you suggested is needed, which also has antennas (I assume to communicate to the card on the computer and to the nearest free internet hot spot), then 3) it is very likely a "bridge" like the GS-2400 -High Speed Wireless Bridge to which you also linked is needed to improve the router's transmitter power. A cursory look at some of these indicates this will total close to $400 and probably higher--not complaining, just confirming, though this is higher than I'd hoped. [*Lastly, from the link for the the GS-2400 -High Speed Wireless Bridge, it looks like the "bridge" needs to be externally located and/or line of site. Is that right? B/c sadly I don't have line of site at all.] I knew "free" internet wouldn't be free--or cheap either. Thank you for your help.
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#4
Major Payne

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Wireless card in the computer isn't needed if you connect to wireless router direct via the ethernet cable. Having one just free you up from any location constraints.

It may work just fine with the best wireless card and external antenna installed. A highly directional outside antenna would be one way to go with or without the router. I suggested the high power router to give you more freedom with any computers/laptops around the house.

Make sure you double check on the legality of this hook up even though they are free and public.

Others may have alternative suggestions.

Related:

4 steps to set up your home wireless network
Long-range Wi-Fi
Wireless Networking - long range outdoor wireless setup

Edited by Major Payne, 20 December 2008 - 05:01 PM.

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#5
moscatomg1

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...A highly directional outside antenna would be one way to go with or without the router....


Sorry, you may have lost me again here. Is this outside antenna the Bridge/transmitter booster you are referring to? Anyway, thanks for clarifying the other stuff and for including those other informative links/posts.
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#6
Major Payne

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Just one of the high gain outside antennas like shown on this site: WiFi Antennas

They have a good article: What is the best WiFi antenna for me?

This is a little technical, but can be helpful: Calculating your 802.11 power output
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#7
moscatomg1

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As I continue to consider the investment(s) of going wireless, I found this piece about severe security issues with wireless. Although I see that a few newer routers have some nice security features, I wonder how to deal with something like this, which looks like a pretty bad flaw with wireless. The Doom of Client-Side Wireless Network Security: http://matthias.vall...twork-security/
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#8
Major Payne

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One of the main reason you do not connect to an unsecure wireless connection unless you absolutely know it is safe. Most hotels/motels run open wireless and I wish they didn't. Wouldn't hurt for them to secure it and provide password for every guest who requests to use the free wireless facility.

I just stayed at a Quality Inn which has unsecure wireless. If you lived close enough, you would have free Internet. Parking in their parking lot would work.

Most home wireless systems can be set up very secure. Read the directions for setting this part up carefully and don't be so careless as to make your password too simple.

Corrected spelling.

Edited by Major Payne, 29 December 2008 - 01:43 PM.

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#9
moscatomg1

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Wow--didn't know that! Apart from going up and asking each provider, is there any other way that your system can automatically determine if it's secure? Thanks!
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#10
Major Payne

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The Wireless Wizard that sniffs out wireless connections tells me whether they are secure or unsecure. Of course, I can't connect to the secure ones. Once you've set up yours, you can bring up the window to provide you with the info you need to connect to your own.
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#11
moscatomg1

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Ah-ha, I get it. So if I inquire and find out the public, free spots don't have secure networks (that are also legal for me to access from off the premises) then this will surely put a damper on my plans. Well this is good to know--and also why I like to do some research before purchasing. Thanks again for all the help, Major Payne.
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#12
Major Payne

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You're very welcome.I really expected others to pick up this thread and provide some of their input and experiences for you.

Most of the time you may not have any problems with connecting to an unsecure wireless connection as long as you try to keep behind a good firewall which your own router can be set up to be. Kinda like two firewalls with the Windows one being the weaker one. You could look into using the free ZoneAlarm or Comodo freewalls. Never used Comodo, but I know ZoneAlarm will stealth the PC's ports and there is an online site where you can run this check along with other security ones.

There are many businesses around here that have wireless and you can sit outside and drink coffee while surfing free. You have to always look out for yourself while using these. Good luck and a Happy New Year to you.
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