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We have wireless internet & router. My parents live 1 mile away (They are 75 & do not have internet) How can I share my internet with them? They have a new laptop that is picking up an unknown source for internet. Want to keep them safe. Is the external antenna connecting through their usb port the way to go?

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Rural/urban area? Line of sight available? – Zoot Jan 3 '11 at 22:23
You mean the tin cans and a string is not working out? ;-> – Moab Jan 3 '11 at 22:28
@Moab: Yeah I think that doesn't provide enough bandwidth for them. – Mehrdad May 22 '11 at 6:44

The most practical options are likely to be them having ADSL broadband installed or using mobile broadband as mentioned by alpha1. Anything else is getting into real try-it-and-see territory or expensive options - for example, a 5GHz link will run up to 21Km if you have near line of sight, but will set you back around £1700 + installation costs.

Also, remember that having a good antenna and power output at your end is only half the solution as you will need the same setup at the other (laptop) end too. I suppose all this depends on how much roof climbing and antenna fixing you are prepared to do, unless you have near line of sight between two top-floor windows.

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i can't imagine a (reasonable) configuration where you would have to pay 1700 pounds for hardware. please enlighten me? (really!) – fakemustache Jan 3 '11 at 13:40
Look up the Ligowave MIMO units - they are designed for near line-of-sight outdoor links at up to 90Mbit/sec (effective): This is good kit, designed specifically for the job and no messing around with wifi kit and specs that weren't really designed for long distance external links. – Linker3000 Jan 3 '11 at 21:21
This solution is hardly reasonable for home-application, but pretty cool though. +1 ;) – fakemustache Jan 4 '11 at 0:51

If you don't anticipate them wanting to do heavy internet usage, I'd say mobile broadband is likely the way to go, especially if their laptop has a SIM slot built in. (A lot of current laptops do.) Even if not, a USB cell dongle will do the job without costing much - it might even be included for free with the service, depending on the cell provider you sign up with.

If you do anticipate heavy usage, their own DSL/cable connection is the only real option. I've managed a wireless (802.11b) link over a mile and a half at a previous job; it didn't perform all that well (much slower than modern mobile broadband) and we'd usually have to get people on the roof to adjust antennas once or twice a year, plus additional trips up there to blow water out of connections after heavy rain, etc. While it can be done, it's a lot more hassle than it's worth in 99.44% of cases.

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You don't need to go to the extreme of having a satellite dish to make a connection. Although you can usually get them cheap (well under $100 second hand) you would be better off with a pair of something like from deal extreme.

You can also get an amplifier from there for next to nothing that would boost your signal. IE deal extreme "sku.33915"... even better, start out with a high powered network adapter: Deal extreme "sku.35688" and add the antenna to that. This is all provided you have line of sight to your parents, or at least only obstructed by minimal amount of trees.

Deal extreme is great for cheap networking equipment, you could also try eBay... Remember a strong signal with a big antenna will shoot signals a long way, especially if you get the focused direction kind of antenna, and not the 360 degree type.

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used satellite tv dishes can be located free in many cases – RobotHumans Jan 3 '11 at 6:41

You can do hackish things with connecting satellite dishes as antennas for point to point links with line of sight and maybe an amplifier depending on the dish, but a mile is REALLY pushing it. note: LINE OF SIGHT

but it is doable:

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A mile is not pushing it. All you need is a decent directional antenna, with high gain... Don't be put off, its all possible. Google as much as you can and you will find all the answers you need!

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Search bit more here, I posted an answer recently about using a Cantenna you can make yourself. DO NOT USE a long cable to connect it though, cable loss at 2.4 GHz is huge. A mile MIGHT be pushing the technology though. (And WiFi has terrible performance at the best of times anyhow). – quickly_now Jan 3 '11 at 8:02
BTW a mile is 1600 metres. You might have success with VERY SHORT very expensive high quality low loss cables and a directional antenna. (Check the gain over isotropic, you really want about +10 dBi for each antenna. Check the cable loss, you will be horrified - losses of several dB per metre or more is normal, so if you run 3-4 metres of cable from antenna to PC you might find you have just added 12 to 20 dB of loss, which undoes all the good your antennas did and your effecive range will be equivalent to a laptop near a plain router with its omni antenna.) – quickly_now Jan 3 '11 at 8:05

Mobile broadband chip? Cricket and others like virgin mobile have them for $40 a month ish.

Why would you want to share it with them instead of their own conection?

Unless you and them have no houses or anything in the way, your not going to be able to do this. If you do have nothing in the way, a lot of lan cables will do the trick.

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Since Cat5e is spec'd at 100m max, getting a mile of lan cable to work might be challenging. – Shannon Nelson Jan 3 '11 at 5:29
@Shannon What you mean he didn't include in his answer solar powered full duplex repeaters? XD – RobotHumans Jan 3 '11 at 5:34
Linking two points approx 1 mile apart with copper data cables is just asking for serious problems with ground/earthing loops and will probably break half a ton of local electrical regulations too. – Linker3000 Jan 3 '11 at 21:29
Maybe they meant a shitload of fiber cable. ;-> – Moab Jan 3 '11 at 22:26
This answer is kind of funny, but isn't very helpful. – Troggy Jan 3 '11 at 22:42

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