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We have both wired and wifi networks in our house. We want to provide wifi to a workshop in a back garage. The wifi signal is pretty good outside at that point, but inside the garage it doesn't work very well. That wall is pretty metal-laden, so I don't think just a repeater through it would work, at least not very well.

I have a general idea that I might be able to hang an outdoor wifi device that could tie into the home wifi network, and then connect through a wired network into the garage/workshop, where I would have another wifi device that would broadcast a different wifi signal. But I don't know what the devices that I would need are called (bridge, client, access point, router?), or if this even possible (can you have a second wifi network within a larger network that was already wirelessly "bridged" (not sure if I'm using "bridged" in the formal way it is defined in networking terminology))?

I've done quite a bit of research, but see contradictory information. Any info is appreciated.

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There are several options.

  • One device that by itself provides solid access in your house and in your back workshop.
    • Not likely within FCC limits. Maybe if you replace your metal-laden walls, but I doubt it.
  • Two devices that are NOT on the same unified setup that by themselves provide sufficient solid access in both places
    • This is NOT the best solution... but it is the cheapest
    • You're going to drop connections going back and forth, lose your phone calls, etc. as your devices have to roam from one to the other.
    • I'd recommend looking at the Ubiquiti Unifi line first, for the price sensitive.
      • The UAP-AC-Pro and above are rated for indirect outdoor mounting; however, there are signficant electrical concerns for outdoor mounting. Study up if you try that, and look to fibre optic isolation (GBIC's and transcievers are cheap)
      • The CloudKey makes it easy to set up; a Raspberry Pi on a small UPS also works as a controller.
  • A mesh setup, two devices that ARE on the same unified setup
    • Remember, mesh by nature drops speed in half for each node away from your hardwired connection, but having a mesh point inside the garage might - MIGHT - work. Probably have performance issues.
    • Maybe look at the Ubiquiti Unifi or the AmpliFi lines first, for the price sensitive, or one of the consumer mesh systems if you really want to take a risk, or investigate commercial mesh networks.
    • This is a high risk solution. Mesh has a lot of issues still.
    • If it does work right, devices should roam automatically and quickly
  • A full scale, high performance solution, with two dedicated wireless sections; one section to provide 802.11ac wifi at your various sites, and a second, different section to provide your transparent bridging backbone.
    • 802.11ac provided by, you guessed it, Ubiquiti Unifi.
      • No need for the more expensive units - start with a pair of UAP-AC-Lite and a CloudKey controller
      • They're both going to be wired, one in the house (prepare to put a second in the house to cover areas of poor coverage)
      • Set them both up on the same wireless network, but DIFFERENT frequencies 1/6/11 for 2.4Ghz, and spread them out widely for 5Ghz.
    • Transparent bridge backbone provided by Ubiquiti AirMax
      • These units get yet again another well spread out 5Ghz frequency, and would be - in a very safe, indoors setup at the tiny, tiny ranges you're talking about - be pointed directly at each other, one inside the house wired to your switch/router, and the other inside the garage.
        • Seriously, alignment is critical - take your time pointing them.
      • Nanobeam AC or Nanostation AC would be all you need; a pair total.
    • This is a high performance solution.
    • Devices should roam automatically and quickly, since it's just like having your access points all on the same wired network.

Network

       / House UAP(s)
      / Router 
      -------CloudKey controller
      \
       \ House Nanostation  ~~~radio~~~ Garage Nanostation --- Garage UAP

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