I am looking to set up a somewhat logn range WiFi "hot spot" that will cover a radius of about 100 - 200 metres. This network is meant to serve people in my building and adjacent buildings.

It is a "mini ISP" in that I would like to charge people in this region for Internet access.

Could you please point me towards the kind of equipment and software that I should be looking at? Any tips?

5 Answers 5


I'd start by getting to know WiFi equipment, like really well, including the more structured deployment techniques and equipment (look at corporate gear, not SOHO). With an area that big (assuming it's got lots of walls and solid stuff in there) you'll need several APs. You could use pretty cheap equipment, but you often get what you pay for. I hate to direct you to Google (we have a policy against shopping questions, which this partly is...) but there are manufactures that really specialize in small WISPs like what you want to start.


For an integrated solution at reasonable cost, look at Open Mesh. If you have questions about it, this forum is helpful. There is lots of hardware from different manufacturers for sale at Streakwave.


One thing that certainly won't work would be trying to set up one powerful indoor Wi-Fi AP in your apartment with a signal that reaches into the rest of the apartments in your building and nearby buildings so well that people can just associate their laptops and smartphones to your one mega-AP.

Outdoor Wi-Fi gear can use higher power, but doesn't necessarily have good in-building penetration. The stuff sold for longer ranges is generally for point-to-point links with directional antennas.

There are systems for rooftop "point to multipoint" wireless broadband, but those require you to install rooftop receivers for each subscriber, and I'm not sure that's the way you're trying to go. Trango is a brand that springs to mind.

The best way to set up Wi-Fi access to all the rooms/apartments of a series of buildings is with a fleet of "enterprise" or "public access" class Wi-Fi APs, positioned strategically throughout the buildings for appropriate coverage. There are many players in this market, including Cisco, Aruba, Trapeze, Enterasys, HP Procurve, Ruckus, Xirrus, Meru, Meraki, Aerohive, and many others. There are also many VARs that will help you do a site survey to plan your network to make sure it meets your coverage and speed goals.


Try looking at smallnetbuilder - there will be reviews of the sort of prosumer gear that might be viable for these sorts of uses.


I am a fan of Aruba Networks, they have great gear. It takes a bit to setup, and the price may not be what you're looking for, however the network once set up is rock solid.

If you are looking for a cheaper solution you can look at Ruckus Networks, we use them at my office and have a great setup and easy install.

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