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I am setting up a wireless LAN between two buildings -- one with Internet and one without. The distance between the buildings is about 900 feet. This goes across a 4 lane street and up/down a hill. It is line-of-sight with a few trees. I don't think they will be in the way. There are no wireless devices. In the building without Internet, there are 2 Windows XP desktops. In the building with Internet, there are are a few more PCs and the server.

I am trying to figure out a few things:

1) How much more beneficial is 5.0 GHz of 2.4 in this scenario?

2) Is WPA2 sufficient encryption or do I need a VPN? The two computers in the building without Internet will be doing 2 things: 1) using RDP to connect to the server. 2) web browsing.

3) The company is not going to want to spend a lot of money on high end gear such as Cisco. Which products should I be looking at instead? I was thinking one wireless router in one building and a range extender bridging device at the other end. At this distance, what are the concerns?

4) Which antennas would you use?

5) Any other comments or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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sounds like a job for wokfi: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WokFi –  Sirex Aug 20 '11 at 8:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

2.4Ghz gear will be cheaper, generally, and will work fine unless you've got a lot of "noise" in the 2.4Ghz spectrum already. The 5.0Ghz spectrum is usually quieter (if only because there's less deployed in that band today) and there's more space up there for channels.

WPA2 with a complex key is reasonable. Don't use something that's easy to guess.

I've had good luck in a couple of deployments with the Ubiquiti Bullet radios. All of the Ubiquiti radios are nice (running Linux, very inexpensive). There are certainly other brands out there. I'd be wary of grabbing some ultra low-cost APs or routers that don't support PoE and are consumer-targeted because you may run into reliability issues.

Be sure you get a couple of lightning arrestors to put between the antennas and the radios. You don't want lightning frying your Ethernet switches, etc.

You could probably use a fairly cheap antenna setup, but I'm paranoid and I'd use a couple of directional antennas (Yagi or patch) pointed at each other. Trees can be a pain because of the water content absorbing RF energy. I'd probably buy as much gain as I could afford in the antennas, keep the antenna cables short, and turn down my transmit power once I had everything in place to keep everything legal.

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I do not have a definitive answer for you, but friends asked me before similar questions (connecting a orchard cottage/shed). When I researched it, it seemed that people liked products from ENGENIUS TECHNOLOGIES

See reviews on Newegg.

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