I'm setting up a WiFi network for a small NGO here in Bolivia, so it means we are trying to do it on the tightest budget possible.

The site comprises 2 buildings about 100 meters apart from each other. We want to have one WiFi access point in the main house, connected to the router which is connected to internet. This AP will be used for the computers inside this house.

Then we want to have a second AP in the second house, acting as a repeater (looks like WDS - Wireless Distribution System is the way to go here.) The antennas of both devices would be put outside the window with a direct line of sight between them.

Finally we want to have both wireless AND ethernet clients to connect to the second access point, and access internet via the first AP.

So the question is : is this achievable with common consumer WiFi Access Points/Routers ? Or is some more specific hardware required ? Keeping in mind that money is not flowing here and we would rather spend it on schoolbooks or medicine than expensive hardware ;)


Yes, it is possible.. But there is a trade off, as always have been, the cheaper hardware you purchase smaller coverage you get, according to hardware's antenna and signaling quality...

Basic network architecture would be like this:

Internet - Gateway(main router) - [{if that router doesnt have enough ports}Switch - ]Clients (so 1st AP will be a client here ;)).. .. .. 2nd AP (as a repeater)- Switch - Ethernet Clients (at second place)

So actually there is no need a special hardware but specific ;) And you also need to configure this architecture very carefully. Unless you dont, there is a biiig possibility that you both users (as 'place 1' and 'place 2' ) will be unable to communicate ;)

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It should be noted that "cheap" is a descriptor that means more than just "inexpensive". Cheap parts will give you cheap results which means you need to be prepared to field complaints about dropped devices, poor signal and a host of other problems and limitations. I do understand the plight of nonprofits and organizations that are very cash strapped, having myself working mostly in the not for profit sector. Having said all of that, I'll move on.

What you want to do is a simple matter of a wireless repeater. The cheapest way to do it is to simply purchase a few LinkSys wireless routers and, preferably, load DD-WRT onto it for reporting and extra features. Check DD-WRT's page for information about what images are available and what routers are compatible with which images. Also beware that there is an outside possibility of bricking the LinkSys during the flashing of the firmware.

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  • English isn't my native language. I'll use "inexpensive" next time ;) – Don Pedro Jan 22 '11 at 0:11

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