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I have a client who wants to find a cheap way to get a gigabit link (or so) between two buildings that are within stable wireless range of each other. And he asked me if I knew of a way to do it.

I said no.

Having said that, one idea did occur to me, and I wanted to see if it was technically feasible.

  • Imagine two managed switches in the two buildings.
  • Each switch connects to three 300mbps wireless-N APs in each building (six APs in total).
  • Those three APs are then connected as an AP-bridge to their counter-part in the building opposite.
  • The ports the three APs are connected to on each switch are set up to use 802.3ad (link aggregation).

With some work, would it be possible to end up with a single 900mbps pipe between the two building using this method?

Theoretically, the APs should simply forward the packets across and reassemble them on the other side in such a way that the switches shouldn't even know that there was an AP there to begin with.

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Fairly sure 802.3ad requires a reliable link, which wifi is not - love to know if you get it done – Mark Henderson Apr 4 '13 at 6:09
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would suggest something like for this situation. At $3k per pair, this is rather inexpensive and far less complex than your solution. I haven't personally used them, but others I know have reported good results with them. They do use unlicensed RF, so you may have interference issues and they do have a minimum range.

There are several other vendors for site to site wireless links, but this is the lowest cost solution I am aware of at present.

As for your idea, I would be concerned about other interfering devices in the 2.4GHz band and in the future for the 5GHz band. From a pure technical perspective, it should be feasible as long as your APs support bridged mode, however keep in mind that connection speed does not equate to actual throughput.

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Well, the thing is that my client already has a quote from another guy for doing a wireless (not sure what technology) gigabit connection between the two buildings, and he is quoting them $2.5k for labor and materials. So, I was trying to see if I could do it for even less... – Soviero Apr 4 '13 at 9:33
Perhaps they are planning a pre-802.11ac based bridge (not aware of any 802.11ad based bridges as the range is very limited)? I am really suspect of someone claiming this speed at this price. In any event, that is a really low price point with both labor and hardware included and I would be interested to know both how they do it and how it really performs. – YLearn Apr 4 '13 at 13:50
Well, I'm already doing another project at the same location (captive portal system). Once he has done the bridge, I'll test and let you guys know both the tech as well as what the real performance metrics are. – Soviero Apr 4 '13 at 14:03
Also, I'm marking this as the correct answer because airFiber is the lowest cost solutions I've been able to find thus far. I'll keep it bookmarked for future projects. Thanks. :D – Soviero Apr 5 '13 at 15:43

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