Building Bridges

In short, everyone wants WiFi everywhere.

My first experience at installing a wireless bridge was for my grandfather. He lives on a farm, and has a small workshop near a barn about 200 yards away from the house, that is used to keep figures on yield estimates of their crops and other important functions of the business side of farming. He simply wanted to know if there was a way to get their home WiFi range extended to the shed 200 yards away. I found him a basic D-link wireless network extender, configured it with their existing router and was able to connect with phones and a laptop by placing the D-link bridge about half way between the shed and house. Luckily there was a garage that we could use as a place to install the wireless bridge or it would have been much more difficult to install the bridge in a logical direction between the house and the shed.

My Second time working with a wireless bridge was for myself. I live on the third floor of a house and the wireless router is located on the 1st floor. Without the bridge, we could connect, but had little to no signal and made life difficult for my wife who was in the middle of finishing her degree. Much like the “cheap as dirt” project, we did not have much money and needed to be frugal. Rather than outright buying a wireless bridge, we found the common wireless Linksys router at a yard sale for $5. I had heard of a technology called DD-WRT and understood what it was, but had never had the chance to use it before. It was time to learn, I downloaded the correct package for my router, after fighting with the router and realizing that the number 1 port was broken(probably why it was $5), I was ready to go. Fortunately for me, ports 2-4 worked and I was able to flash the new software onto the router and set up the wireless bridge for us. After all was said and done, the entire project took an hour, I was worried that I would do something wrong and brick the router, so I took extra time to make sure I had things configured correctly before flashing the new image onto the router.. Something to note is that, if a user wants to use DD-WRT make sure that the router is supported for it before buying that router.