February 12, 2009 by Scott Varn
Q. Can you recommend the best router for providing Internet access to a barn some 300-feet from my house? There are several trees that could interfere with the signal. - Nancy, Indiana
A. This is a common question. The technology you choose is more important than the router brand. Make sure you are using a 802.11g. There are faster, longer range technologies on the horizon but currently this is the best for a reasonable price. But just because you are using a “G” network router does not necessarily mean you are taking advantage of all its bandwidth. Since a G network is backwards compatible, it will work with older (shorter range) network cards in older computers, i.e. 802.11 a, b. So make sure all computers have G network cards to ensure maximum connectivity.
Now for the bad news, 300 feet is a bit of a stretch. The official range is 38 meters (124 feet). Under ideal situations, I have seen it go further but more often it is less.
My best recommendation is to pass on wireless. A hardwired cable between the two buildings is the best way to go. A cat5e cable can easily make it 300 feet and will be faster and more reliable. You can get a spool of cat5 from a local electrical supply house for a reasonable price. Whether you plan on burying it or hanging it from poles, get direct burial cable to insure there will be no corrosion.
Running a cable may seem like more work but it will be far less aggravating and much faster.
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Scott has been in the technology industries for over 20 years. But his experience as an artist is what led him to create an award winning business that combines engineering and aesthetics for home theater design.
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