How Far Can You Share A Wireless Internet Connection?

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If you have family nearby and want to save some money you can share your broadband internet by extending your WiFi network. How far can you send a WiFi signal? The world record is over 200 miles. Of course you won’t get anything near that in a residential area, since these records were set from mountaintop to mountaintop using high gain antennas.

You can use the same type of high gain antennas as used in record WiFi distance attempts however there is the risk of running afoul of the FCC. There is a big gray area concerning how much your wireless adapter or router can transmit and how much you can boost it using a directional antenna. Many commercial kits are sold everyday that incorporate a high gain antenna and a USB based wireless card putting out over 1000 milliwats.

So, what exactly do you need to do this? First you need a high power USB based wireless adapter. Next you need a high gain antenna.

Kinds Of Antennas

There are many kinds of directional antennas on the market but the most common are panel antennas and yagi antennas.

Depending on how far away your family member or friend’s home is you may be able to stretch your wireless internet using these kind of antennas. There needs to be a fairly clear signal path, meaning no big buildings, mountains, etc, blocking the path. You should place the antenna on your roof an aim it in that direction. Tweaking the antenna for the best signal is very important. You’ll need one person at the other end checking signal strength using a program like Netstumbler.

It is possible to use a directional antenna on the router, as well as the wireless adapter. To do this you need a route that uses a single antenna that unscrews to reveal a kind of plug called RP-SMA.   This is the most common type of connector.

You will need a length of cable that has the right connector on each end. Many panel antennas use an N type female connector. After you have connected an external antenna such as a panel or yagi the signal inside your own home may be too weak to connect to with your own computer. Because of this you may want to use two routers, one for inside the home and another to transmit broadband wireless internet to your friend.

It is very important when sharing a wireless internet connection at long distance you enable the strongest encryption possible. Never transmit without some kind of security enabled.

Also be aware that many cable internet and DSL providers frown on or forbid sharing a broadband connection.

Here is a good article on what you need to share a wireless internet connection over long distance: How To Share WiFi Over Long Distances


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