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What Signal Range Is Likely From A Good Wireless Modem/Router

3:17 am on Nov 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I need a wireless connection between two buildings about 70-75 metres apart, with open space between them and a few trees in the direct line of sight between the modem/router and the wireless PC location.

I am considering getting the Netgear DGND3700 wireless modem/router but I have some doubts about the signal reaching that distance. A range extender is not an option as there is nowhere to house it at a intermediate point. Running an ethernet cable is also not an option.

I'd appreciate it if we have anyone on board with some experience in this area who can comment on the likelyhood of getting that sort of distance from any of the omnidirectional modem/routers that are typically in the $120 - $150 price range.

I don't have a problem spending a bit more... I just don't know what I need to buy.
4:58 am on Nov 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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is the receiving end stationary, like a desktop computer? if so, maybe try a cantenna.
5:55 am on Nov 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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For comparison purposes:

When I learned that my downstairs neighbor could pick up my internet connection*, I went outside with the iPad and walked around the apartment complex to check how far the signal could go. The greatest distance involved was definitely less than 75m, true, but the exploration included circling the far end of the building. So at one point there had to be at least five walls between me and the router, with who-knows-how-much intervening pipe, wire and assorted other metal. At the conclusion of this walk I went back and put a password on the router.

The relevant part is that I did this with the cheapest wireless router that money can buy-- or rather, could buy, 2-3 years ago. The manual says 100-200 ft and I see no reason to doubt it. What does yours say?

* She is the person I pay rent to, so it is to my advantage to allow this to happen.
6:35 am on Nov 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I bypassed the manual and, like you, walked around with a wireless laptop until I hit the limit of the signal range which was about 30 metres in an open air setting.

The modem/router's technology dates back about 6/7 years so I'm hoping to find out if the current products have seen a big jump in signal range. The manufacturer's specs always fall short of giving a typical distance (you can understand why) so I'm flying blind with this.
1:13 pm on Nov 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The distances is likely to vary depending upon factors such as line of sight, walls, trees, and even weather conditions in between. Typically, the average low power WiFi system will only travel a short distance due to antenna positioning, walls, and the transmitting power being relatively low.

There are two problems to deal with. First, getting the signal to cover the distance, and secondly, to give a usable signal strength through walls.

My lowest cost solution is to plug in a directional high gain antenna (dish or yagi) from the transmitting station, pointing at the desired location. Now run the test again to measure the signal sterngth. If it's adequate, then away you go.

Even better if you can install the direction antenna outside, you'll get a much better performance at the desired location.

Obviously, your equipment will need to be compatible with the new antenna.

Similarly, you can do the same at the other end and install a receiving directional antenna pointing at the the base station. Again, you need to be able to connect the antennas to the receiving equipment.

Choose your antennas carefully as there are many cheapo things out there which may work, but you get what you pay for.

If you want to spend a little more, invest in a wireless access point at the receiving end. This would receive the signal from the high gain antenna and then re-broadcast a new wifi signal at the receiving end. This would probably be the solution i'd consider as the reliability is important, and a weak signal will be affected by weather conditions.

Hope that helps.