Sharing the Bandwidth and Helping a Friend

I have a wonderful friend. He is a well-known author who has written over 100 books, including a one-volume commentary of the Bible. His gospel and Biblical messages have helped thousands all over the world. At age 91, he still has an active ministry and is especially fond of e-mail to encourage and respond to many people each month. But at this age, he does not need the encumbrance of a monthly DSL bill, especially since his overall bandwidth use is quite low. Why not bring technology to him which enables his ministry in an ongoing and yet, low-cost way? (And besides, its an interesting technical challenge!) So, we set up an Airlink101 AP431W configured as an AP client at his apartment and an AP relay on my neighbor’s house which has a 1.5 mile line-of-site shot to his apartment window. (My neighbor graciously allowed me to put this small box on their roof and they now benefit by getting free WiFi in their house) After a number of trials getting the AP relay (also an Airlink101 AP431W) to pass traffic, I finally got the connectivity. Remote Friends Diagram .pdf Remote Friends Diagram

It turns out that the AP431 (and any AP Relay) cannot use WPA for security. So, the best that can be done is WEP 128 (or higher) encryption, along with MAC address filtering. This works well. I found that originally I had an omnidirectional 10 DBI antenna at my friend’s house. I was getting sputtering throughput. When I replaced it with a 14dbi directional antenna, the throughput went up dramatically. We also learned that though the manufacturer (Airlink) says DHCP works, my experience was that we had to use static IP addresses for reliability.

Here are some photos of the AP’s in use.

My AP w/neighbor’s (sm)
The AP on my rooftop with the neighbor’s
AP-relay off in the distance (click to enlarge)

Neigbbors AP Relay
The AP configured as an AP Relay on my neighbor’s roof.
(Click to enlarge and open)

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