Bridging The Gap – Connectivity In Hard To Reach Places

In the early years of the internet, you know, back when the internet consisted of a black screen with green letters on it, all connectivity was accomplished naturally with internet cables, called “Ethernet cables.”  Therefore, if you wanted to use a computer, you were limited in where you could put a computer, as there needed to be a place to plug in the internet.

Fast-forward and we saw the advent of wireless routers.  Now we were free to roam around our houses and workplaces cable free and surf the web.  While wireless routers are great, they do have their limitations when it comes to range.  As soon as we walk outside our homes, our speeds drop dramatically, or completely disconnect.  Also, some people would like to run internet to other areas around the outside of their home, but running cable is expensive.  Therefore, what is a person to do?  Fortunately, for you, wireless does have many other options.

Hot dogs and YouTube

Have you ever seen the Kingsford Charcoal commercial of the guy with the “socially connected” grill?  He uses a smartphone app to light the grill, take selfies, and post them to the internet, all through the power of his internet enabled grill.  It is a hilarious commercial to be sure, but what if you wanted internet out on your back porch while grilling, or having guests over for a BBQ?  Well, there is an answer for that, and it is called an “outdoor access point.”

Now, there are some of you tech savvy readers that will say, “Hey, I got an expensive wireless router and my range is good enough to the middle of the back yard.  I do not need a crappy outdoor AP!”  If this is you, then skip this section, however for most people, the wireless router in their home comes built-in to their internet modem from their internet provider.  In short, the wireless range on those devices is not the best.

An outdoor AP is a device that provides internet connectivity, but that is designed to endure the weather.  They are inexpensive, with a decent one costing under $100 and you can install it with simple hand tools.  You will need to configure, or setup, the AP first by connecting it to your computer and going through the setup.  The instructions on how to do this come with the AP and are very simple to follow.  As always, make sure you secure your network by setting up a password to connect.

Next, plug in an internet cable into an available port on your current wireless router and then run it outside.  This may need to go through a wall, or you may be able to run it in-between a window.  Take the outdoor AP and mount it in a place that is not obstructed by other objects, and preferably under some sort of shelter.  You plug in the other end of the internet cable and now you have just extended your internet to your back porch.  Let the YouTube videos of people wiping out on homemade water slides begin!

Building Bridges

So you now have a back porch that is internet connected, but what about other areas outside your home?  Maybe you have a little work shed outside where you work on your car, do some woodworking, or gardening?  Or perhaps you have a guesthouse but the range of your newly installed outdoor AP is not far reaching enough?  Well, at Technology Today, we believe in building bridges for people, and that is exactly what you need in this situation.

Wireless bridges have been used for quite a long time, but were mostly used in commercial settings due to their high costs.  However, in recent years, wireless bridges have dropped dramatically in price due to proliferation of wireless technology, and the speeds of wireless.  Many of them price under $200.

How a wireless bridge works is much the same way you install an outdoor AP.  First you will need to configure it with the instructions inside.  Next take one end of the bridge, mount it outside unobstructed and connect an internet cable to it.  At the other end of where you want internet to be received at, you mount the receiver and line it up visually with the other end.

Run an internet cable from it to inside your work shed or guesthouse, and connect it either directly to your computer, or a wireless router.  Now you are getting the internet from your home wireless to a remote area.  The cost savings of doing this, versus paying someone to run a physical cable to another location is significant.  Using a wireless bridge you will have about half the speed of what you have inside your home, but it’s a lot faster than 4G LTE on your smartphone.

Solutions That Impress

Now that you have setup your outdoor AP, and or wireless bridge, you can now enjoy the internet no matter where you may roam on your property.  When you have guests over for dinner, or parties, they may notice your newly installed devices and start asking questions.  You can explain to them how wireless solutions helped you around your home.  You will impress them with your technical knowledge on wireless tech as you all gather around for selfies with the outdoor AP.  Well, maybe not selfies with the outdoor AP as that is a bit too nerdy.

Hunter Bonner is a System Administrator.  He can be reached through his blog techedgeblog.wordpress.com and on Twitter @TechEdgeBlog

 

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