Long Distance Wifi Communication

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by scem0, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. scem0 macrumors 604


    Jul 16, 2002
    back in NYC!
    I bought a long-distance router for my parents business. They're trying to go from one building to another building that is close by. The new long-distance router seems to output a strong enough signal to show up with 5 full bars on my Macbook from the building that needs the signal, but it times out when I try to connect. When I'm closer to the router, it connects perfectly.

    All signs point to signal interference, which makes sense.

    I don't know enough about wifi to know what the next step is though. What I'm guessing is that the router is putting out a strong enough signal, but the macbook is unable to 'talk back' to the router. The communication must go both ways, right? When I connect to the network and then walk into the 2nd building, it stays connected, but when I try to load a website it won't load. It doesn't return an error, it just isn't receiving the page data from the router.

    Any advice? Do I need a repeater that is able to 'talk back' to the router?
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Not knowing exactly what kind of router or setup you have, I can't say anything definitive, but my guess would be similar to what you're thinking. The router may simply have an unusually high-power transmitter. In which case its signal will be visible from much farther away than a normal router, but since the transmitter on your computer is the same as always, the router isn't able to pick up its signal when its out of range. This would result in the behavior you're seeing--full bars (passive reception), but no ability to connect, since the outgoing requests are never received by the router. Same with the web--the router never gets the request, so it never sends the data.

    If the router you're using isn't directional, you might theoretically be able to solve it by using a lower-power router with a good directional antenna--if the antenna works it will be able to pick up signals at the same range it can receive them from.

    I actually set a similar system up once, but I used a completely different strategy; I used a repeating router (one that can receive a signal and retransmit it), then put a directional antenna on both ends pointed at each other. So router A would talk to router B to get the internet connection from A to B, and then either router B or a third router attached to B will create the Wifi hotspot in the distant location. Since A and B both have directional antennas, aimed properly they'll work (and won't add unnecessary interference to the surrounding area as a "high power" router might, which might not even be technically legal). C, meanwhile, doesn't need anything special, nor do the remote computers.

    I'm assuming you want wifi coverage at the distributed location; if it's just one spot, you could hook the remote computer directly to router B and bypass network C entirely. That's what I did, although in my case there was enough leakage from the directional antenna on B that you could also connect to it from nearby.

    My setup was sending a signal maybe 1000-1500 feet, between a professional directional antenna and a cheap cantenna on a pole on a roof.
  3. Cool Runnings macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2010
    I guess the best option is to setup a repeater/new router in the other building that take are of the signal from the devices in that building.

    Building one - router | ------- | router - building two
  4. zorritta macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2012
    Long Distance Wifi Communication

    If there are enough other sources of interference, a more effective way for your routers to 'talk' to each other would be something like Ruckus' "beamforming" AP's. The AP's can recognize clients and actually focus wifi signals towards them (path of least resistance, reinforcing signal, etc). I'm not deep into the technology of it, but you can read about their wifi technology here (NYC partners, worked with them last year) or on corporate parent site here.

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