Question Connecting 2 WRT54GLs Across 1/4 Mile (What Antenna Power do I need)

Jul 29, 2018
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Hello all,

I have been struggling with a problem for a while now.
Right now I have an N router that hosts a wireless network than can just barely be seen in the window of a neighboring building under 1/4 miles away.

I have two WRT54GLs laying around and I would like to bring internet to this second building.
I looked into cantenna's and they seem simple enough, but the parts will cost about as much as cheap antenna's and I am sure the omni directional antennas will just be far easier to use as they will be usable for both long distance and short distance communication.

My main concern right now is figuring out what dBi/antenna power I need.
One issue is that routers do not seem to advertise their stock antenna dBi to start with, so I have no idea how powerful the one I am using is, or how powerful the WTR54GL's is. Another is that an N signal makes it that far, but I am unsure how much difference I would expect from a G network as no one seemed to have ever tested these protocols in an empty field or at least never released this information.

TL;DR:
I need advice on what antennas to use to make a make two WRT54GL reach across 1/4 miles in LoS to eachother.
 
You would put directional antenna on both. The more db the better in most cases.

Still you are likely better off just tossing them in the trash and starting new. The cost of the antenna and the cost of adapter and a short cable is going to be close to the same price as just buying outdoor bridges that were designed to do this.

You can get something like a ubiquiti nanostations for under $50 each.

You can look at ubiquiti for directional antenna also but then you are connecting them to those trash 802.11g routers. You are going to have to load dd-wrt on the routers anyway to make them run as bridges. It is going to be tricky to get a dd-wrt image that will still fit in memory on those devices.
 
Jul 29, 2018
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Thanks for the reply Bill001g.
They already have dd-wrt images, though I probably want to update them because it has bee a LONG time since one in particular has had it installed.

And it seems like the ubiquiti practically does not serve Canada at all, so that seems out.

I am seeing loads of omni antennas for abound 10-25 dollars available online (directional seem universally way more expensive). And $100s is a hell of a lot more money than $20 if I can get away with 9bDi omni or $50 if I need like a 15.
But again my main issue is I do not even have a ballpark for what sort of dBi I should be looking for.

Also, just watched a youtube video that used some aluminum foil to more than double the signal strength. So I guess I can always turn a omni into a sort of directional if I need better signal.
 
You are not going to get that distance without directional antenna. Part of the problem with omni antenna is larger antenna will also pick up more of interfering signals. Directional force the device to only listen to a narrow path.

Not sure what to recommend when you are that cost constrained.

Be happy you are not going farther because then the distance above the ground is very significant also.
 
Jul 29, 2018
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Thanks for all the reply's guys.

But this confuses me a little.
Why would 2 hobbies level devices with huge upgraded external high gain antennas not significant improve on the performance of a single consumer grade router with no external antenna's.

What use are all these 8-15dBi omni-antennas online if you would not expect them to even improve connectivity by 20%?
 
Not sure I guess the same argument would be why does everyone use directional equipment if cheap omni works.

Part of the issue is the amount of signal the air and other objects absorb is not fixed. They tend to be also be exponentiation like the gain on antenna so as you increase your output the amount absorbed also increases.

It has been many years since I really looked at antenna design. I know the internal amplifiers in the equipment are tuned to work best with certain gain antenna. Although I don't know about old stuff like you are using most newer equipment puts out the legal maximum power. They tune the equipment around this legal maximum.
 

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