Friday, November 27, 2015

Extend wifi over one mile with a High Power Outdoor CPE Access Point

When I went to college, I frequently found myself without wifi and I was using SO MUCH DATA. It wasn't funny, not even close. I needed a way to save data, so I pulled an old satellite dish out of the dumpster, bounced the wifi signal off of the dish and onto a Belkin USB WIFI adapter on a 50 foot  USB extension cable. It wasn't very rain proof, but it worked if I was in the garage or the barn, and wanted to listen to Pandora. I could pick up enough of a signal to surf the web and post to instructables from a quarter mile away!

The instructables about how I did it is HERE and it got decently popular, (over 200k views!)
People message me asking questions on building their unit. I moved around a lot, so I couldn't take my unit with me, but that is ok because I have upgraded to a smaller, much more effective model now that costs about the same price and doesn't require very much putting together. It even comes with a zip tie to attach it to your pole/branch/house/etc!

The TP-LINK High Power Outdoor CPE/Access Points (you need two to be most effective)
and  250 foot CAT5 cable or save 50 bucks and get two 100 foot cat5 cables instead so you can position the access points where you need them.

It is about a tenth of the size, and since it has a directional antenna, it can use it's transmission power to shoot the signal as for as you can see. OVER A MILE!  It shot full strength WIFI all over the yard, down to the garage/barn. Even down the street to the neighbors house! If you have a direct line of sight to the adapter, you can get wifi!

You can do it several different ways depending on how you want to go about it.

You will get the longest range if you get two (2) adapters and face them directly at each other. They have directional antennas and a signal meter directly on the unit so you can see when it is in the best spot. The unit says 5km+ range with a line of sight from one access point to the other.

The next most effective is using it as a router and shooting the signal directly at the receiving device (computer, tablet, what have you) however the range in this mode is drastically reduced, but I could pick up signal 100 yards or so through light woods.

You can also use it as an adapter to receive a wifi signal and turn it into a cat 5 signal that can be plugged into a computer, or a router at the other end so you can have wifi in another building. However this method can go from the least effective to the most effective by getting a second unit and aiming them at each other to make a high speed wireless data tunnel. The reason is that wifi routers shoot the signal in every direction so you can pick it up in all parts of your house. These routers have long range directional antennas that focus all of the energy in one very specific direction so you can shoot it much much further. In this case over a mile!

The units are weatherproof and can be powered via cat 5 cable so they can be positioned up to 300 feet away from your home router. Got an old phone or utility pole? Can you hoist a pole up above the tree line? You can get internet.