Saturday, June 19, 2010

How To Get A WIFI Signal to your Detached Garage Office

MY MISSION: To get a clear hi-speed internet WIFI signal with a lot of bandwidth to an apt above a client's garage office 100' away from a house, on a river, in a rural area with the 2-Wire DSL modem another 50' away at the back of the house, without having to run 150' of CAT-5 Ethernet cable.

PHASE 1: The first issue was the 2-Wire wireless/modem from Bell that was not producing a wifi signal without a little D-Link G router. I knew we wouldn't be able to get the WIFI up to the garage office until this issue was resolved so Bell pushed the signal up from 4 to 8 and then it blew. They sent another one, which took a couple of days because Purolator could not find the road. We asked them why the office couldn't give the driver the directions, their answer was that the drivers do not have phones. Once we installed the replacement 2-Wire she could get 2-3 bars on her mac out on her deck but not far from her kitchen window.

PHASE 2: After a lot of research we went to purchase the D-Link DIR 655 N Xtreme router, which was on sale for $99 but they were sold out. The rep at Staples said that the DIR 825 Xtreme N Dual Band Gigabit Router which was also on sale for $130, ran on both 2.4GHz & 5GHz wireless signals at the same time, grabs a lot of information and pushes the signal at 3x the speed. We got a deal on 50' of Ethernet cable from a friend ($20 instead of $60) and ran it through the basement from the back side of the house, where the modem was connected to the phone line, up into the kitchen at the window.  This was the closest we could get to the garage which was still another 100' away and in a steel building. I pointed the antenna's directly at the apt window.  Walking the Macbook Pro down the decks over to the garage and up the stairs to the apartments back window that faces the house it maintained a full signal. Then for the next 5 days my laptop could not hold the signal and once booted off neither my client or I could get our macs back online on either the D-Link or the Bell wireless network.

PHASE 3: Five days of phone calls to Bell and D-Link would have made most people give up and indeed my client would not have even attempted to hang in with me if it wasn't for the fact that I displayed my "Badger Medicine". Having chosen Video Production and a Virtual Assistant Service as my careers I have long since let technology wear me down. If I do not know how to do something I will google for answers until I do. The problem was that you have to be online to change any settings on your D-Link and just when one of those marvelous folks in India figured out what to do next..the internet signal would drop!  Then it was on to a call to Bell to get it back on then get another piece of information and a step closer to the D-Link hookup, of course neither company supporting the other.  My client and I saw each other on the floor with our butts up in the air more times then we would like to remember!

PHASE 4: Aha!  With each phone call we got closer to the problem and the solution. It finally became clear to all of us around the 5th day that:

a) the signals from both wireless routers were conflicting
b) my mac up in the garage office was reverting back to the D-Link IP address instead of the modem's and interfering with my client's wireless connection on her mac in the house.

THE SOLUTION:

a) we had Bell reduce the signal on the modem from 9 to 7 to reduce crossover of signal
b) connected a mac directly to the D-Link through Ethernet while on the phone to tech support
c) changed the IP address setting to the modem IP, essentially turning the D-Link router into a "Switch"

Now we can be online at the desk on the other side of the garage apt and another 25' from the apt window that is receiving the signal from the router in the house kitchen window. We are able to stream video, about halfway into the garage apt, without a problem even with my client on the same network in her house. I think the guy at Staples was right, the DIR-655 would not have been able to boost the signal as well as this DIR-825 and even though once in a while there is a drop out it comes right back on.  Now to get onto the real work...
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