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The place that I work at we have two buildings next to each other and one across and in-between the two that is made out of metal. We want to extend our WiFi coverage to the inside of the metal building so we purchased a Hawking multi-function access point (HOWABN1). We've got it mounted and facing in the direction of the metal building, but I can't seem to get the signal to stabalize inside of the building.

I'm attaching an image to better illustrate how we're setup:

enter image description here

As you can see the WiFi AP is attached to the corner of one of the buildings and aimed at the metal building. The X in the image is where the computers will be residing that need the WiFi.

Right now I have the AP configured as a Universal Repeater, and I've also had it as an Access Point, but neither seem to be providing good enough signal. As of right now if I sit in the room with the X with my laptop I'll get 1 bar of signal strength and PINGs are 50/50.

Is there something I should do to make the signal better? If I could, I'd run a cable to the metal building, but the connecting conduit has collapsed and we'll end up spending more money than it's worth to repair it.

I'd appreciate any suggestions.

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Metal building => Faraday Cage. – Henk Feb 21 '12 at 22:05

You do realize the metal will block Radio signals, right?

So without pulling a cable you can try:

  • a repeater inside the m. building, preferably in front of a window or wooden door facing the AP
  • a repeater inside the m. building, with an antenna fed to the outside
  • a homeplug system (Ethernet-over-mains), aka powerplug.
  • a directive antenna (panel or parabolic) to push a stronger signal in the right direction
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I would use a wireless range extender with two antenna connectors. To one connector, connect an external directional antenna aimed at the other building's AP. To the other connector, connect an internal omni-directional antenna or a directional antenna aimed towards the area where the computers are.

The classic WRT54G/GS can do this.

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Why not set the AP to bridge mode and mount it to the outside of the metal building then hardwire the PCs?

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This is not a terrible idea, if it's feasible. I suspect they actually WANT the wireless aspect, though. (In which case, maybe another repeater inside the building) – Shinrai Feb 21 '12 at 22:33
Pick up another AP and a cheap unmanaged POE switch and connect both APs to the switch. Then place 1 AP near the computers and mount the other AP to the outside of the metal building and put it in bridge mode. – resmon6 Feb 22 '12 at 15:48
@resmon6, I was thinking about doing that as well, but wanted to see if I can do something with the current setup since it's already mounted. – Alex Feb 22 '12 at 19:01

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