I have a unique problem. My apartment complex has a small security office where our access control and security camera computers are stored. The computers were not networked in the office.

Getting a dedicated internet connection isn't a budgetary concern, but I'm able to piggyback the wireless connection of the building's live-in caretaker.

To get this going, I've set up an old wireless router as a client bridge. It acts as a client for the caretaker's network, and the two security computers are hard-wired into that router.

Problem is, there's an elevator shaft between me and the AP I want to use, and that double concrete wall is making the signal terribly weak. It works, but intermittently and very, very slowly. Here's a rough sketch of the layout:


The router at the top is in the caretaker's apartment. I can neither move or replace it.

I am able to move the wireless router all along the wall in the office, but at every point I am still going through that elevator shaft.

Options I've considered so far:

  • Laying cable to the suite (can't be done for political reasons)
  • Getting yet another wireless router to act as a repeater, and install it far enough away that it doesn't hit the elevator shaft going to either router (possible, but on my first inspection it looked like all power outlets were poorly placed)
  • Increasing radio strength (I can't increase the gain on the caretaker's router radio - only the client bridge, which doesn't help)

Can anyone think of additional solutions that might work in my situation? Am I even right in thinking that the elevator shaft is the cause of all my problems?

  • It sounds like you can't change the originating router (why?) and you can't get a connection put in that room (why?) so your options really are just more (or stronger) repeaters or bigger antennas. – Shinrai Aug 2 '12 at 23:17
  • Using a more directional antenna on the client bridge would be my first thought. – David Schwartz Aug 2 '12 at 23:17
  • 1
    I have had good luck with Powerline Ethernet adapters. Question is whether there is the same power circuitry on both sides. It's quite possible that there is housewide AC, and in this case it would work.You can get these very inexpensively on eBay. – Kendor Aug 2 '12 at 23:23
  • You may have some luck using a repeater if placed appropriately. – Breakthrough Aug 2 '12 at 23:40
  • What @DavidSchwartz says is worth noting, but my understanding is that elevators are really bad about interference, so a directional antenna may not make enough difference in and of itself. – Shinrai Aug 2 '12 at 23:43

Elevator shafts are notorious for being a source of strong magnetic fields. You will need to route around it, either with wiring or with a repeater.

  • Wow, I had no idea. I found out more than I thought I needed to know about wifi and elevator shafts: wi-fiplanet.com/tutorials/article.php/3803481/… – Stefan Mohr Aug 4 '12 at 9:24
  • Obligatory followup: we purchased a cheap wireless repeater (TrendNet) and installed it in a utility closet that provides line of "sight" to both sites and avoids the elevator shaft. The connection is "good enough" given our purposes. I'd recommend anybody with serious bandwidth needs look into hard-wiring, but the repeater worked really well for us. – Stefan Mohr Apr 16 '13 at 23:28

You could try directional antennaes at one or both sides and bounce the signal off a wall around the shaft.

You could try ethernet over electrical and establish a connection through the electrical wiring (I hear they are getting better all the time.)

You could try a power over ethernet WAP and push the wiring near (but not completely through) to the otherside and locate the WAPs nearer to each other (let's say you can't go into one room or the other - push POE and run a ethernet wire near to the forbidden room and place the POE WAP at the end of it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.