View Full Version : I want to make my apartment complex wireless...how?

Jun 14, 2005, 03:53 PM
I want to offer the complex I'll be moving into, in November, to make them wireless. I've never done anything on a scale such as this. Has anyone (MR members) done anything similar to this on a similar scale? The complex is being built and I'd like to plan a course of action before offering to do it for them. They have a T1 line and since they're just opening in August bandwith probably won't be a problem in the beginning.

Can anyone point me towards relevant information? I didn't find what I was looking for during my searches.

Jun 14, 2005, 04:04 PM
you need to begin with square footage/floors that you'll be dealing with.

the easiest way is probably using AE base stations as repeaters. i went to a b & b in maine that did it like this ( 4 floors/2500 + sq foot each floor)

Jun 14, 2005, 04:07 PM
This site (http://www.tutorial-reports.com/wireless/wlanwifi/) which I found from the External Links section of Wikipedia's 802.11 article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11#External_links) seems to be a good place to start. Check out the rest of the Wikipedia article and links, too...

Also, check Amazon or other bookstores for books on 802.11, WiFi or Airport. I know O'Reilly has an old book on 802.11, but quite atypical for O'Reilly, it's not very good...

Remember: A good wireless network with several access points/base stations (each on non-interferring channels) must have a good wired backbone.

Jun 14, 2005, 04:08 PM
Well it helps to have some experience with 802.11x, so you know how it behaves and misbehaves, but it's really not terribly difficult. Most of the work is conceptualizing antenna coverage, then testing it, to make sure the corners of the building still get reception. Often a base station is located every floor or 2 floors, since walls are easier to transmit through, the signal winds up moving horizontally better than vertically. And you'll need to make sure to secure the network, lest people driving by be able to take advantage of it. Is the apartment management going to offer net access on the T1 directly? Because it would be more common to simply strike a deal with a nearby ISP, they can "offer" internet access to their residents in this fashion. More importantly, if it's in mid-construction, it probably already has a telecommunications grid, some planned method of distributing the T1. Since users can easily install their own base stations to make their apartments wireless, I would refuse if I were the management.

Not that wireless buildings aren't great ideas. But you really need to plan for that before construction for it to be advantageous, at this point.

Jun 14, 2005, 04:53 PM
The T1 is for their computer room in the "business center" which has approximately 15 computers. They also use it in the leasing office. Without exact numbers I'm guessing between 200-250 apartments, 2 and 3 story buildings.

I might start by getting them to let me equip the business center/leasing office/pool area with wifi, first. We'll see how that goes and then go from there.

Thanks for all the links and ideas.

Jun 15, 2005, 07:54 PM
i was told that 802.11x travels best around corners. also you might want to think about placing your transmitters as high as possible, i get better reception when i take my router off the floor for example.