How To Connect Internet From One Building To Another


There are many reasons that you might want to connect two buildings to share the internet connection between the two. Fortunately, there are also many ways that you can connect the two to use your broadband connection in both.

How can you connect internet from one building to another? There are several ways to share an internet connection between two buildings:

  • Wi-Fi Extenders/Repeaters
  • Cable
  • Wireless Bridge

As you can see, there are multiple options to look at when deciding how you can extend your internet connection to another building. Some will be suitable for your set, while others won’t. In this blog post, I’m going to explain how all of these solutions work, giving you the information you need to decide what technology will meet your needs best.

wifi-extenders5G


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Sharing A Connection Between Two Buildings

Whether you want to extend your internet connection to your garden shed or you want to share internet as part of a big commercial operation, there is a variety of options when it comes to sharing a connection.

I’ll explain the technologies that can be used and the situations in which these technologies would be the best options.

Wi-Fi Repeaters

A wi-fi repeater is a piece of equipment that you can use to extend your existing signal. In most cases, wi-fi repeaters are used to boost the signal strength in other areas of your building. However, depending on the distance between the buildings you’re wanting to connect, wi-fi repeaters might do the job.

A wi-fi repeater is a simple piece of equipment. It simply bounces the connection from the router and extends the range. You plug the repeater into a plug socket in your home and configure it, which then extends the range of the signal. If you’re wanting to extend your connection to a small office in your back garden, a wi-fi repeater may suffice. If you only need a basic connection in your garden office, a wi-fi repeater is a cost-effective way to boost your wi-fi’s signal.

Example of a WiFi range extender available from Netgear. Image: Netgear

Wi-Fi repeaters can be very hit or miss, so this wouldn’t be my recommendation if you’re wanting to have a reliable internet connection in your other building. Repeaters need to be strategically positioned to work effectively. They have to be used in a position still close enough to your main router but also close enough to your garden office to make a difference. The further the signal has to reach, the worse the deterioration of the signal. If your building is greater than 25 – 30 meters from where you’d plug in this device, you’ll have to look at other options.

Another downside of a repeater is that you’ll never get the speeds you’d get by being connected to the source (the router in your main building). Every extra device in the chain between the user and the source slows the connection down. If you are connected to your main router, your device and the router have to ‘talk’. If you are connected to a wi-fi repeater, the repeater is essentially a middle man ‘talking’ to both your device and the router. This results in a slower connection that might not meet your requirements if your main internet connection isn’t the best anyway.

Cable

In some cases, your other building will be too far away from your main building for a repeater to work. Or perhaps you want something more reliable than a wi-fi repeater. If you’re running a business and you need to supply internet to a building where you’ll have people working, something such as a repeater won’t suffice. If you find yourself in this position, installing your own physical connection is one way to get around the issue.

Installing cable between your two buildings is one of the most reliable ways to share an internet connection. With ethernet cable, you’ll also enjoy superfast speeds in your second building if your main building already has a fast internet connection installed.

There are several types of cable you can use to connect two buildings and share an internet connection:

  • Cat5e
  • Cat6
  • Cat6a
  • Cat7

The type of ethernet cable that will suit your needs best depends on your particular requirements. Who will be working in the other building, and how much will they be using the internet? Most of the time, a Cat5e cable will be suitable. Cat5e is suitable for 1Gbps internet over a short distance and 100Mbps internet over a longer distance. For larger commercial operations, where superfast and ultra-reliable internet is required, Cat6a or Cat7 cabling is a better option as they provide greater reliability and much higher data transfer rates.

Cat6 external cable. Available here on Amazon.

You might presume that creating a physical connection will be expensive. That may very well be the case depending on how you install the physical connection and the cable that you use. For example, running the cable along an outdoor surface will be cheaper than installing it underground. If you need a connection for a big commercial operation, you’ll have to buy the more expensive types of cable that will further impact the price. If you want your connection installed professionally, it will cost anywhere from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds depending on the type of cable used, how far the cable has to travel, and where the cable is installed.

A big downside to ethernet cable is that the distance you can run them is limited. If the distance between your two buildings is too great, you won’t be able to use network cables. While fibre optic cables are an option, the installation costs will be substantial. So if cable won’t work and nor will a WiFi repeater, what other options do you have? This takes me onto my next point.

Wireless Bridge

In my opinion, the best way to share an internet connection between two buildings is a wireless bridge – also known as a point-to-point wireless link. A point-to-point wireless link really offers the best of both worlds; the reliability and high speeds of the cable with the flexibility and cost-effectiveness you’d associate with the repeaters.

A wireless point-to-point link is a dedicated link between your main building and your second building. The link provides high data-throughput with no frustrating drop outs. A wireless point-to-point link, set up correctly, provides fibre optic cable-level reliability. On top of that, you’ll have superfast speeds at both buildings whilst only paying for the one internet connection.

airFiber 24 HD antenna. This technology supports the dense modulation rates that are required for high data rates. Image: Ubiquiti

A wireless point-to-point link is made up of two outdoor antennas. Over this line of sight link, data rates of up to 2Gbps are possible. If your main building already has superfast internet, you can share the bandwidth thanks to a PtP link.

Since a point-to-point link is completely wireless, installation can be completed quickly and the expense of installation will be lower than installing cabling. As long as there is clear line of sight between the two antennas, high data rates are possible providing you use capable technology.

Creating a point-to-point link and installing the technology is fairly easy if you have a rough idea of what you’re doing. You must mount antennas onto both of the buildings. Generally speaking, the higher the better. As long as these antennas have an uninterrupted line of sight, it doesn’t really matter. The antenna on your main building will have to be connected via ethernet to your network. On the second building, the connection will be carried into the building via ethernet. This ethernet can either go into a wireless access point or an ethernet switch that you can connect wired devices to. If this is sounding complicated, you can outsource the installation. It will cost a little more, but at least you’ll know it’s done right!

Which Option Is Best To Connect Internet From One Building To Another?

In most cases, I would say that a wireless point-to-point link is by far the best option for connecting two buildings and sharing an internet connection. Cable and Wi-Fi repeaters are both limited in several ways, whereas a point-to-point link offers the best of both worlds.

If you’re not running a business and you just need a basic connection for your garden office, cable or a wi-fi repeater might suffice. However, if you need a reliable yet cost-effective solution, as well as high data rates, the very best option is a point-to-point link.

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