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I live on a long, narrow, 7 acre strip "out in the boonies." Three of us need internet access; but, we each stay in separate mobile homes. My ISP's antenna is on the north end of the eastern most MH (P1a.) Connected to it is a NetGear FVG318v2 router, which gives my boy John his internet access. Connected to the FVG318 is about 85 feet of cat5e cable, going down to the south end of the MH and connecting to a NetGear WAG302v1 access point. 5Ghz has been disabled; and, the 2.4Ghz, screw on antenna has been replaced by the cable going through the wall to a NetGear ANT2409 outdoor antenna. Right now, this AP is configured as an AP. I'll call this location point 1b. Point 3 (where my boy Glen stays) is approx. 600 feet due west of P1b. Point 2 (where I stay) is approx. 450 feet west of P1b; and, approx. 30 feet south of the direct line of sight between P1b and P3. Currently, I'm getting a poor to fair signal, with losts of drop offs - as long as I keep my laptop plastered to the window. There's a decent signal outside, even at P3; but, poor at best inside of P3.

I have picked up a couple of 21DB parabolic grid directional antennas; and, I'm waiting on cable ends, to be able to set them up. When I got the WAG302, I got 5 of them. I'm hoping to put one 21DB antenna at P1b and the other one at P3, then, move the ANT2409 down here to P2. No problem setting up the point to multi-point for P3; since, Glen has a desk top. I can just run a cat5e cable from AP3 (in bridging mode) to his computer. Here at P2 is a different story, though; since, I'd like to use my laptop on wireless. The only 2.4Ghz jack on the AP (AP2) will be in use for the outdoor antenna. No indoor antennas are made that will plug into either the ethernet port or the console port (at least, according to NG...) It's been suggested to me to use one of the spare AP's, connected by cat5e, to the bridge moded AP2 (at P2) to give me an indoor antenna. The problem is that no one at NG seems able or willing to tell me how I should configure this fourth AP... Here are my questions:

  1. Should I configure AP4/AP2b as an AP, a bridge, or a repeater?
  2. Should I include it in AP1's list of MAC addresses?
  3. Should I set AP2 up point to multi-point, instead of point to point; and, put AP3'S MAC address there, instead?
  4. Would AP2 still talk to AP1, if I did?
  5. Is there a better way to do this???
  6. Does anyone know of some sort of small, indoor antenna that could plug into either AP2's ethernet or console port? (I've learned - the hard way - not to count on NG's advice... )
  7. If I just do a point to point bridge between P1b and P3, with the 21DB directional antennas, should I be able to just highjack the signal, even inside of a metal mobile home? (A temporary fix, though; since, I'm working on an underground, which WOULD need an external antenna - putting me back to the same problem...)

I hope I didn't confuse everyone with all the points, etc. It's been the simplest way I've found to try to help people get a mental image of what I'm trying to deal with; since, I can't draw it out on a computer.

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You may want to add simple picture. Trying to understanding your setup from text makes my head hurt. –  Olli Feb 25 '11 at 8:25
WAY TOO MUCH useless information and acronyms (what's "MH", "P1a", "P1b", etc). Simplify you question and add an illustration if possible. –  martineau Feb 25 '11 at 13:06
I apologize. I don't have a way to do a drawing; and, I figured it'd be better to include too much info. than not enough; since, I'm not even certain that bridging is the right way to do this. MH stands for mobile home. P1a is the point where my ISP's antenna is; and, where my router is. P1b is where my master access point and my antenna are. P2 is my mobile home (@450' W.) P3 is the furthest point where I need internet - @150' W of me and @30'N. I could do a point to multi-point; but, using outdoor antennas, that leaves me no indoor antenna. Hence, Access Point (AP)#3, via cat5e from AP#2 –  Kathy Renbarger Feb 26 '11 at 5:24
You could try and make something in Paint (Windows) for a diagram...I'm going to attempt a network diagram shortly. –  tombull89 Mar 24 '11 at 12:27
Yes, we desparately need a site plan to get some clue as to where the APs are all located and where you need to get signal from. Please please please try and provide us with something - even just a line drawing with the rough shape of the site and some boxes for the MHs and dots for the APs... –  Majenko Apr 2 '11 at 10:45
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2 Answers

To say that I understand every facet of your question would be a crass overstatement :) Just tell us if anything of this is even vaguely correct.

In your mobile home (P3?) you have a weak WiFi signal. You're planning to use an outdoor antenna plugged in an access point, I'll call this P3-Master. Of course this would only provide wired ethernet access and you want to use the laptop with WiFi.

A second AP (P3-Slave) is going to be connected to P3-Master in order to provide reliable WiFi networking inside the mobile home.

IMO P3-Slave should be configured as an AP on its own, with a different SSID and channel from P3-Master.

Also, you are correct in that an antenna can't be plugged into an Ethernet port. That is because you need a whole lot of electronics in between the two. There are however products that will turn an Ethernet-only device into a WiFi client, e.g. the Netgear WNCE2001.

Hope this helps a bit :-) If I'm completely wrong, please disregard this reply.

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Regardless of the topology, you can make the APs look like a piece of wire to the system.

eth1<>eth0 ----------[AP]-(++     600ft     ++)-[AP]---------- eth0<>eth1<>wlan0

Get the APs and antennas as close as you can to each other with line of sight and send power to the APs down two spare wires in the cat5. (The RF leads to the antennas should be as short as possible). Assuming that the power supply voltage drop down the cat5 isn't too much, it should look just like a piece of wire that can be routed and forwarded as normal.

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