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Making a wireless LAN connection

Aug 23, 20044 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork SecurityWi-Fi

Can you suggest equipment I could use to build a wireless network from my business to my house? I’m a broadcaster with a tower on a hill, so I can do two “hops”. The first hop will be about 3 to 4 miles and the second 8 to 10 miles.WEP or WAP into the configuration. While not secure, it at least makes the intruder work a little bit for what they get. If you can spend the money, consider an entry-level VPN solution such as Multitech, Cisco PIX 501 or similar solutions to protect the information as much as possible.

– Via the Internet

One way to create a point-to-point link from your business to the house will be to get wireless bridges or access points that have bridge capability in them. Cisco is one vendor I have used for this type of connection. I have seen three types of power levels in this kind of equipment – less than 100 mw, 100 mw and 1 watt. The later is expensive and not something you buy off the shelf. If I remember FCC regulations in this area, 1 watt is the maximum power than you ran run in the 802.11b frequency spectrum. The Cisco Aironet bridges I have used have a maximum power rating of 100 mw. To get the extended range you’re looking at, you’ll need to use the best grade of feedline you can afford. If hard line is a little pricey, look at something like LRM400 or similar products. Being in the broadcasting industry, you probably have ready access to this. Regardless of whose bridges you use, get the “ruggedized” versions that are designed to be used in less-friendly environments. Mount the wireless bridge as close to the antenna as you can to minimize the line loss of the RF signal going from the access point to the antenna. Speaking of antennas, you will want to get a highly directional antenna to get the best results. This will concentrate the signal where you want it and help minimize the ability of others being able to hear your Wi-Fi traffic. The higher the gain of the antenna, the more narrow the angle of radiation from the antenna, so the more time it will take to aim the antenna for best results.

You will need to set this connection up twice – once for the connection from the business to the tower and another for the connection tower to your house. Depending on the wireless bridges chosen, you might be able to get away with just one bridge on the tower and use two directional antennas – one pointing to the office and one pointing to home. In this case, you will be running the bridge in a multi-point configuration. Check the specs for the different bridges you’re considering as some may only be able to do point-to-point connection. I would recommend at a minimum that you put 

While this may add up to some money, you may want to look at another option in conjunction with this. See if the telco in your area has tariffs on file for alarm circuits. These are supposed to be dry copper with no voltage or line conditioning present on the wires. Alarm circuits typically are relatively low-cost, point-to-point copper connections. If you can get an alarm circuit on the shorter of the two hops you mention, it might be possible to get equipment from some companies such as BlackBox to essentially create a DSL network on this shorter hop and only use wireless for the longer hop. There may be other solutions, but what I have outlined here should get you up and running without having to hock the business to get there.