How to Connect Two Buildings Wirelessly
By Chad Hunter
Networking is the pinnacle of modern technology. It is the communication of interconnected devices such as computers, printers, vehicles and smart devices. Achieving the ability to transmit and receive information was an amazing beginning to networking, but it found limits in the use of physical media (e.g. cables and wires.) However, with today's technology, networking can greatly surpass its former limitations by leaving the wires behind and going wireless. Connecting an office or two buildings in an office wirelessly is a simple but highly effective step toward getting the most from a network.
Make sure there is a clear path for the network. Eyeball the path between the buildings. Are there obstructions such as trees, telephone poles, streetlights or other buildings? Are there large sources of electricity such as generators or are there other sources of networking such as a coffee shop or bookstore with hotspots? Objects in the path of the wireless network can cause distortion and interference. Make note of items nearby in the initial planning. Also make sure the other building is within visual sight. The surface of the earth curves, and this curvature could cause issues depending on the type of wireless networking used.
Select the hardware. Wireless networking can be achieved using several methods. There is microwave, infrared, satellite and radio wave. Microwave is expensive and requires the installation of microwave transmission and receiving devices, normally towers or antennae. While wirelessly effective, microwave is normally not the networking route due to cost. Infrared can achieve wireless transmission of data but requires infrared equipment and line-of-sight between the sending and receiving devices. Satellite is a solid method to connect two buildings or more within a wireless network. It allows for a very large geographic area but the cost is high and usually reserved for corporations and educational entities. Radio wave is the most popular for personal and small business use. The hardware required, including a router and wireless network cards or adapters, can be purchased for minimal costs at most technology stores.
Set up the wireless network. The wireless router is the device which connects to one building's Internet connection or server and broadcasts a signal which wireless networking devices between the two buildings will receive. The router should be a 802.11-rated device and should be a B-class or N-class transmission device. These settings are standards for wireless networking. When the router is programmed via a directly attached computer or laptop, the network will be set up with a password and the levels of security encryption to protect the broadcast data. On each of the receiving wireless devices, they will need to be set to search for a wireless bridge and signal. When the signal is detected, they will be prompted for the password and encryption level. When the proper information is inputted, they will now join the wireless network between the two buildings.
Test the network connectivity. Some of the obstacles noted earlier could cause interference. Hotspots can send similar signals that block the buildings' communication and physical obstacles could prove too thick to allow radio waves through. Make sure that each device in each building can send and receive to one another and the network as a whole.
- Follow the instructions that come with the router for proper installation and updates.
- Be aware of the distance that is to be covered. Too much space will easily cause loss of signal and network strength.
- Make sure the wireless network is properly secured.
Chad Hunter is a freelance writer and author. Hunter began writing professionally in 1993 and has written for AskMen.com, Baton Rouge Parenting and additional newsletters, magazines and online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computer networking from Purdue. Hunter is also a guest lecturer.