Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a charity who have two adjacent medium sized modern detached houses (in the UK): the buildings stand next to each other and are less than 5 metres apart. They have DSL connected to a single computer in one of the buildings. They want to add a network with wireless, and want it to work across both buildings. Being a charity they need to keep costs down. The network would be used for sharing Word documents, e-mail, browsing and skyping.

My initial thoughts were to connect the buildings with fibre. So:

Option 1 Use fibre between the buildings. Sufficient cable and two TP-LINK MC100CM Fast Ethernet Media Converters. Cost ~£80.00.

But there is the extra cost and hassle of running the cable down and up the external walls, lifting and relaying paving, and burying underground.

Never having fitted fibre I'm also a little worried about going up the wall and then bending the cable at 90 degrees to go through the wall and into the building.

Option 2 Use two TP-Link TL-WA7510N High Powered Outdoor 5Ghz 15dBi Wireless antennas to connect the buildings. There is a clear line of sight at first floor level. Cost ~£100. And much easier to fit than fibre!

Is using the TL-WA7510Ns overkill? Is there something more suitable? I had hoped to use some Netgear stuff, e.g. two DGN2200, one in each house and also use them to provide the wireless link between the buildings. However, in bridge mode wireless client association is not available and repeater mode with client association only supports WEP security which isn't strong enough. Is there something similar that would be up to the job?

Option 3 Connect the buildings with UTP cable. My concerns here are risk of electric shock due to a difference of potential between the buildings (or are they so close this shouldn't be an issue) and protection from lightning strikes. Is fitting lighting arrestors expensive? And what can be done to ameliorate against the risk of shock?

This all falls outside my area of expertise so I would really appreciate some advice.

share|improve this question
Just a note on the 90 degree angle w/ fiber - as long as you maintain the minimum bend radius for the type of fiber you are using making 90 degree turns isn't bad. – Zypher Oct 17 '12 at 15:46

A wireless access point/router in the building with DSL, combined with a wireless access point functioning as a repeater in the second building, should be sufficient.

You are right that using WEP is out of the question. However, many contemporary access points will function properly as a bridge or repeater on a network that is secured properly with WPA2. You may also be able to squeeze additional functionality into existing hardware by upgrading the manufacturer's firmware to DD-WRT. (Check the DD-WRT web site to see whether your hardware is supported.) You are most likely to have success with this if your wireless access points use a Broadcom (not Atheros) chipset.

share|improve this answer
I was hoping that something simpler, like what you suggest, might do the trick, but I'm just a little worried that given that it's an affluent residential area there will be lots of neighbouring wireless networks which could cause interference and thus poor reception in certain parts of the second building. – Daniel Johnson Oct 17 '12 at 17:12
@DanielJohnson Unless you are dealing with hundreds of wireless devices, you shouldn't run into significant interference issues. To the best of my knowledge anyway. As far a residential area is concerned, you are probably safe. – Soviero Oct 17 '12 at 17:22
@DanielJohnson How big are these buildings, and what are they made of? With a total of 8 devices, one access point and one repeater should work perfectly. Of course, additional repeaters could be added. Typically, a repeater operating within a single channel will reduce the bandwidth capacity of your wireless network, but that's a non-issue if the network's primary purpose is to share a (very slow) DSL connection. – Skyhawk Oct 17 '12 at 17:39
@MilesErickson They're made of brick. A foor print of ~100 sq. metres. A ground floor and a first floor. – Daniel Johnson Oct 17 '12 at 17:48
I would put a cable in. 5 meters is nothing. Put lighting protectors on both Ends. – TomTom Oct 17 '12 at 19:46

How many client devices would be on the network in each building? Honestly all of your options seem like overkill... I would think a single WAP in one of the buildings would be able to handle all network clients in both buildings since they are so close to each other. Your network needs don't seem very bandwidth-intensive to call for any high-bandwidth link between the 2 buildings like you've outlined.

share|improve this answer
I expect a max of about 8 client devices altogether (i.e across the two buildings) – Daniel Johnson Oct 17 '12 at 17:07
re overkill, pls see my comment to Miles's answer. – Daniel Johnson Oct 17 '12 at 17:09

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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