Dear Lifehacker, I've read your article on Wi-Fi boosting and was wondering if you can touch on 'long range Wi-Fi? I have a business about 2km away from my rental house. Because I'm at work for most of the time, I don't see it as logical to pay for an additional plan ; which is why I'd like to connect to my business network instead. One big problem I have is that even though my house is just two kilometres away, there are other tall buildings in front of it (not a clear line of sight). Any suggestions? Thanks, Need Free Internetz
Alas, our suggestion is this: you're going to need a home internet plan. Wi-Fi is not a long-range technology. On its own, there's no way you're going to get your office signal to travel two kilometres. As tenants the world over can attest, it can sometimes be a challenge to get it to travel from one room to the next. But at least in your house you can install repeaters.
There's no obvious way of convincing every household each few hundred metres between you and your business to install a repeater. Even if you could, you'd have to pay for the hardware and (potentially) offer to share your network with those home owners as well. In the end, it would almost certainly be cheaper to just buy another connection.
There are community networking associations (Melbourne Wireless springs to mind) that aim to create public wireless networks over a wide area. Note, however, that these aren't designed to share internet access. They're great ventures that will teach you a lot about networking and help you share resources, but they won't solve your particular problem.
If you really don't want to pay for a separate home account, you have a couple of options. If you're using the net for downloading media torrents, you could do that in the office and copy the files to a drive for viewing at home. If your mobile has a relatively generous data allowance, you could use that for home access. But if you really want to have a shot at using your office connection at home as well as work, you'll need to move across the street from your business, or set up business at home.
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