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My in-laws across the street from me (approximately 500–600 metres away) have WiFi.

I would like to pull the connection to my house. I have no idea what to do.

If someone could please explain to me (in layman's terms, as I am not a computer wizz) what I have to buy, and how to set it up so I can pull the connection over to my place?

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There are kits you can buy to build highly directional antannaes... –  MDT Guy Feb 21 '13 at 22:39
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String a set of Ethernet cords from their house to yours. You'll also most likely need some repeaters. If your lucky you can contact your local energy provider and ask if you can staple and run your Ethernet cords on their poles. At this point two things can happen. The first is they'll laugh at you and jokingly tell you sure. Don't let this discourage you. The second scenario is they are concerned for your safety. If you don't live you don't use electricity and they'll say no. –  Griffin Feb 21 '13 at 23:14
    
You are going to want a directional antenna verses an omnidirectional antenna. –  kobaltz Feb 21 '13 at 23:45
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WokFi en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WokFi –  wim Feb 22 '13 at 0:45
    
Or you can use a bunch of repeater relays every 10 meters or so, but this type of "infrastructure" is impossibly high-maintenance. The latency will also suck. –  Thomas Feb 22 '13 at 1:26

6 Answers 6

500 meters, even 300 is much too far to be in usable range for WiFi. WiFi is designed to, in the best case, transmit throughout one small household. Also, physical barriers, like walls, cars, other buildings will severely degrade the signal. You might be able to get WiFi through one or maybe even two walls if you're lucky, but to get it 500 meters, you'd have to transmit at power higher than allowed by the standards bodies (and likely your government), and use an extremely directional antenna, with line of sight (no barriers in between).

The solution is probably to get your own Internet connection rather than trying to use theirs. You could also obtain a line of sight between your property and theirs (likely by building a small tower on your roof; check local regulations) and set up a very high frequency point to point link, but since you seem totally new to wireless communications, you (honestly) probably do not have the expertise to set one of these up even if you knew what you wanted, and would have to hire a contractor to design, spec out, price, and install a system for you, in which case you're better off going and asking an actual expert instead of asking us.

Lastly: the cost of custom designed radio communication systems like the ones I am talking about (which go above and beyond "WiFi") is often in the tens of thousands of dollars (or at least 7000 British pounds or so), not including labor. At that price, it is almost certainly cheaper (over a period of, say, 5 years) to pay for ADSL or cable Internet connectivity to where you live.

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This can be done at your in-laws' house and pointed to your house: Lifehacker Post DIY Wi-Fi Antenna Cheaply Extends Your Wireless Network

Or at your house pointed to your in-laws: Lifehacker Post Make a Long Range Wi-Fi Extender out of a Coffee Can

Both of these are not too technical and are very cheap!

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First off, you would need to measure how far from the router you want to be able to access the wifi.

Wireless G can reach between 38m (indoor) and 140m (outdoor). This range is affected by line of sight, meaning if their are any walls between where the router is and where you want to access it, the range decreases.

Wireless N can reach between 70m (indoor) and 250m (outdoor). Again, line of sight affects this range.

The average consumer-grade wireless router has been Wireless G, but more and more routers are moving to N, is it possible to update us on which standard they are using?

If the router sits towards the back of their house, you could invest in a wireless range extender, which would need to be connected to their network and placed towards the front of their house to get the maximum effect. This location would preferably be outside of the building.

Directional vs Omni-directional antennae will also affect the signal distance. A directional antenna would be best in this case, as it directs the majority of the signal in one direction. The standard antennae on a router, however, are omni-directional, meaning that they send out this signal in all directions.

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At 600 meters away, you are going to need to invest at least $500 in hardware to get a decent signal. WiFi typically has a signal range of 100m or less for home networks, and the antenna you would need to buy for a signal half a kilometer away would be more expensive than buying a used car to drive to your inlaw's house :)

However, for future's sake, here is what you need to know in order to get connected to a WiFi network:

You'll need a Wifi adapter: These can be bought at any computer store or online (for instance Amazon). This allows you to connect to the Wifi signal that is being broadcast.

Follow the directions that came with your Wifi adapter to install it. It will come with a CD that has included software that is necessary to install in order to use the adapter.

Assuming you are using Windows 7, after installing the Wifi router, follow these instructions to connect to a wireless network. Some networks have a password you need to enter in order to connect. Whoever maintains the network should have this password.

After you are connected, you should have internet access and a connection to other computers in the home network. If you have any problems, you can use the Windows troubleshooting to diagnose problems. It is very user friendly and can solve most basic problems with network connections.

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This is an incredibly technical solution (so is more designed to help anyone looking to solve a similar problem rather than yours in particular) but if you have some mid points that you have access to you can attempt to use a mesh network rather than a repeater. It's standard is 802.11s and there's a tutorial to get it up and running with some reasonably priced hardware here.

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You can achieve a 500 meters connection without greater issues as long as you have an acceptable los (line of sight) lets say the visibility between both radios or wireless bridges, and you will definetely have to use a different antenna not the simple 2 dbi of most common indoor equipment, another thing is to keep your equipment close to your antenna so you dont loose power.

Look at some long range wifi forums.

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