Good Questions: Will My Wireless Router Reach My Outside Guest House?

Good Questions: Will My Wireless Router Reach My Outside Guest House?

Anthony Nguyen
Apr 16, 2008

Jenny asks:

We have an adobe-walled (read: thick) house with a small guest house kind of far from the main house that I want to use as an office. Is there a wireless router that will give us our cable internet access from our main house to the casita .5 acre away?

Well, let's see. Half an acre equates to about 150 feet, correct?

A general rule of thumb in home networking suggests 802.11b and 802.11g wireless access points range from 150 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors. Another good rule of thumb is that each thick wall you hit, youl'll be decreasing that signal up to 25%. There are also the 802.11a technologies, but we suggest you stray away from that because it runs at about 1/3 of the signal of any of the b/g WAP options.

Looking at everything together, we would suggest the router be placed by a window facing your outside guest house, if possible. Only then would you receive a decent signal.

Some of our recommendations include:

Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G Broadband Router

Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station

D-Link DIR-655 Extreme N Wireless Router

Of course, having additional wireless access points or routers chained together will also increase your range greatly, but as long as you have an open area for the signal to travel, one router should have no problem giving your guest house a usable signal.

Photo via PCWorld.

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