View Full Version : I could use some serious input

08-09-02, 03:13 PM
Hi all,
I usually post in the teams forum. For those of you who know me from the teams forum, you may recall that my wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in May. She is responding well to treatment, however the chemo kicks her butt for about 10 days out of every 21 day cycle between treatments. Because she has difficulty spending enough time at the store to keep up with the bookkeeping that she has always done in the past she ends up getting frustrated and depressed. When I suggest that we hire a part time bookkeeper to help her, I usually get a tearful response.
That is why I am here. I am trying to come up with a cost effective solution to this problem. I need to keep it cost effective as the medical bills are significant.

Here is the current situation:
4 computers at home-
1:main box and folding 1800+ xp with win xp pro
2:folding box 1200 athlon with win 98
3:kids box and folding located downstairs 750 Duron with win 98
4:folding box K6-2 500 with win 98

1 computer at the store-
old pentium 150 that works well for the data entry and bookkeeping tasks that are required of it.

Direct line of sight from roof of house to roof of store 2 miles away.
None of the computers are currently networked together. Each computer has it's own modem and currently accesses the internet via my dialup ISP, as I do not yet have access to DSL or cable in my rural location.

This is what I want to be able to do in order of priority:
1:Make it possible for Annette to access the files and programs that are on the computer at the store from a computer at home. That way she can take the frequent breaks she needs to, yet still be able to accomplish the work that she wants to.

2:Network all of the computers in my home to be able to access the internet through my main box in order to prevent the frequent lockups I experience when more than one tries to upload my folding wu's at the same time. Will have to wait to do this until funds allow.

3:To integrate all of this to share a 1 way or 2 way satellite connection such as DirecTv's DirecWa system. This I hope to be able to do within a year. I would like to be able to use this connection at the store as well.

Current possibility for dealing with my first priority:
Buying 2 D-Link air plus DWL-520+ PCI adapters and installing 1 at the store and 1 in a computer at the house.


Buying 2 parabolic directional antennas with roof mount hardware. Pmant 15, 15 db gain(with appropriate pigtail to connect N male to reverse sma connectors from hyperlink).


Then connecting the PCI adapters to the rooftop antennas and running them in ad-hoc mode,using NETBUIE.

What led me to this idea was an article describing the use of two Yagi antennas in an experiment to see how far 802.11b could be sent effectively.
They were using 24 db gain antennas and ended up having a 14 Km effective range. One of the antennas was a roof mount, the other was handheld attached to a notebook computer.
If this works I can solve my first problem with about a $350 investment.

SO this is where I need your input.
a: Does anyone else out there think that this will work?

b: Does anyone know of better, more cost effective equipment that could be used.

c: If I do this (and actually succeed), what hardware would I then need to begin collecting to be able to complete the other 2 priorities on my list? (ie: routers, hubs, switches. could I use HPNA for the computers at home and still integrate it to a satellite system later? etc. etc.)

Any input on any of these three questions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance,

08-09-02, 03:54 PM
Entry level for line of site point to point....up to 6 miles.


08-09-02, 04:27 PM
Originally posted by ryo1

What led me to this idea was an article describing the use of two Yagi antennas in an experiment to see how far 802.11b could be sent effectively.
They were using 24 db gain antennas and ended up having a 14 Km effective range. One of the antennas was a roof mount, the other was handheld attached to a notebook computer.
If this works I can solve my first problem with about a $350 investment.


Your post is a long one but well thought out.

My question, since WI_FI is just getting popular, maybe more input is needed before you can get an answer.

Would you by chance have a link to that above article? I think what your trying to do is possible but for the sake of the guru's on this fourm, maybe more information is needed as my guess is most have not seen done what your attempting.

By the way, ryo is a personal friend. I buy gas, coffee and red vines from him on a regular basis...in return, he listens to all my b.s. :D

08-09-02, 08:56 PM
Thanks YeOldstonecat,
Iwas hoping to find a more cost effective way to accomplish this though. $1749 is a little out of my price range at the moment.

Here are those links that downhill asked me for.
If nothing else they make some interestiing reading.



And you need to at least read the last paragraph or 2 of this one where they're using pringles cans for antennas.


08-09-02, 09:52 PM
Holy cow.....now that's some interesting reading....21 miles with Wi-Fi? :D

And from that last link....this blows me away!!!

We haven't looked into weatherproof housing for the can; sinking the whole thing into some 3" PVC should do the trick. Of course, at $10 for two, it might just be more economical to replace them when they fail.

Apparently, antennas of comparable gain cost upwards of $150. Over a clear line of sight, with short antenna cable runs, a 12db to 12db can-to-can shot should be able to carry an 11Mbps link well over ten miles.

Wow.....we need to look at this a bit harder...

Thanks for the links, ryo....:)

08-09-02, 10:39 PM
This is what we did in a clients very large home. Wireless nics just would not connect.

We got two WAP11's (http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=22&prid=429) from linksys and set them in the bridge mode (http://www.linksys.com/products/display.asp?conmap=087WAP11V22CMDIAG.jpg&prid=429&grid=22).

In the bridge mode the two WAP's will only communicate with each other when you set the MAC address properly. Another thing to consider is you are shareing files and doing accounting work, you don't want everybody within two miles seeing your data. Encrytion is possible but the overhead slows the data transfer down alot. (I've tested this myself).

The WAP's have two antennas, they can be set for both send and receive or one for transmit and one for recieve. This might come in handy in your situation.

At our client's home we had one WAP connected to his router which gave him internet access and the ability to connect other PC's to the router.
The other WAP was connected to the nic inside of the other pc on the far side of his home.
The second WAP could have just as easily been plugged into a switch, enabling him to network even more pc's on the far side of the house.

To me security is the upmost concern since you are doing book keeping and trying to cover a large distance. You need to set up a bridge for better security. Just look into War Driving (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=war+driving) and you'll see how many people there are just looking for wireless access.

With the proper antennas I'm sure it can be done. I posted the WAP hack (http://www.seattlewireless.net/index.cgi/Wap11Hack) here a while back. It only works on the older WAP 11's and it does improve the distance. I couldn't get it to work on version 2 of the WAP11's. But from what I've read they are at full power anyway.

Here's another good resource,

got it? good :D

08-10-02, 12:41 AM

08-10-02, 01:20 AM
He's probalby in bed, RoundEye..ryo must work 18 hours a day..

He'll pick this up pretty soon. :)

08-10-02, 10:52 AM
those links were great. It seems I'm not the only guy who wants to try to shoot this stuff over distance.
I didn't realize that the war driving thing was such an issue, I appreciate the input on that.
I need to take a hard look at the security features of whatever I use.
Sorry it took so long to get back to you.
Up at 4:30 am in bed at 11:00 pm takes a toll by the end of the week.

08-10-02, 11:26 AM
No hurry in getting back to me at all. My second post was a mistake. I want to go edit my first post and I didn't realize I hit the quote button. Hence the :o

08-10-02, 11:28 AM
I believe RoundEye has the more cost-effective solution for you...

Basically there are three things to consider in your project:

1. WAPs - The Linksys WAP11 should do the job ( @~ 100/ea. ). You'll also need NICs in your PCs to connect to the WAPs with Cat5 patch cables.
For future expansion and sharing your Internet connection, you can also use an wireless router as one of the WAPs... something like that ? --> http://www.pcmall.com/pcmall/shop/detail.asp?dpno=948463

2. Antennas - prices vary widely, any solution you can come up with should work, as long as you can get >10dBi gain from it, the more the better. Directional antennas should work better for fixed locations than omnidirectional ones. Prices for antennas can run anywhere from $30 to $200 ea....

3. Cabling/Adapters to connect the antennas to the WAPs. RJ6/RJ58 coax cables are cheaper, but introduce considerable additional signal loss, so the disance between the Antennas and the WAPs makes a big difference...

Here are a few links you might find interesting:

I hope this helps a bit, let us know how you decide/implement it :)

08-11-02, 12:09 AM
Great info. It proves that it can be done.
I'll let you know if I get it put together.

08-11-02, 08:58 AM
Originally posted by ryo1
Great info. It proves that it can be done.
I'll let you know if I get it put together.

LOL...ryo called me last night......IF It's only a matter of time...he's chomping at the bit but can't decide on a couple of things yet...

And....he's trying to figure out how to use this to get a broadband connection on top of everything else....the guy never relaxes...his brain is in 5th gear every waking moment. :)

08-11-02, 11:40 AM
Is broadband available at either location? You an share the internet connection from either end.

08-11-02, 12:30 PM
Here's another site with some good info on what type of antennas you will need


Keep in mind that this is info for a WISP, but a lot of the info will apply to what you are doing,


Random thoughts:

What you are doing is called "2.4 GHz Point - to - Point (PtP) Antenna System" as YOSC mentioned.

Since cat cable is cheaper and easier to run then coax, you can put the WAP anywhere within 100m (328 feet) of the pc, switch or router that you want to connect it to. This will make antenna placement cheaper and easier to do.

When you start getting into transmitting RF and putting antennas 50 feet into the air, you're getting into FCC territory here. Even though you are in a small town, don't push the law too much, the FCC has been known to bust some balls now and then. When you start rigging all this up you will draw attention to yourself, well-meaning neighbors will wonder what you are up to and word will get around. I'd hate to see you spend all this money and have some FCC ass-wipe make you take it down because your antenna is two feet over regulation.

I realize that you are on a budget, but don't be too cheap. Nothing would be more frustrating for you and your wife, then to spend money and the precious little free time that you have, and have this not work because you nickle and dimed it together.

Hell, buy me a plane ticket and feed me, and I'll come up there and help you one weekend. I've got some things that I have to get straight, face-to-face with downhill anyway :mad:

J/K :rotfl:

08-11-02, 09:50 PM

Granted i'm sure you've thought about encryption, I saw that it was mentioned once below/above whatever?

One of the major debates with 802.11b is security, its completely unique comparetively speaking. The last thing you want is someone grabbing an IP from near your house and deleting everything on your store computer. If you accomplish this, which I believe you can my advice would be to make sure you have proper firewall implementations, and you keep near everything static. This *helps* with security.


08-11-02, 11:42 PM
I appreciate all the input.
I' m going to try putting a D Link DWL-520+ in the computer at each end.
Hook each one up to a 19db gain parabolic wire dish anntenna and just run them in ad-hoc mode. That way I can test my theory without being out a ton of money.
Can anybody tell me this: If I am going to experience 3.4 db line loss in my coax and the D Link PCI card will tolerate being overdriven by 17 db, using a 19db gain antenna should result in overdriving the card by 15.6 db.
Is this correct?


08-12-02, 09:15 AM
Here is a good gain/loss calculator: http://www.techsplanet.com/calc.htm

08-12-02, 10:57 AM
15db is really pushing it. You'd be well advised to go buy a five db attenuator plug. They're not expensive.


08-13-02, 07:21 AM
Thanks guys thats what I needed.