nugget

Connecting two buildings to one network

13 posts in this topic

So I got a call this morning and a friend of my aunt wants my help for a project. She has a barn about 100ft away from her house and she wants to have internet out there and connected to the network so she can use the printer in the house from there and the printer in the barn from the house. She has a t-shirt making business and it is set up in the barn now I guess.

They wanted me to do this for them but I'm not quite sure how I should go about doing this. As far as I know it is only one computer in the barn but I don't have all the details yet. I was doing some research and I think that a shielded ethernet cable would be best to go from the house to the barn so they don't have to worry about any problems when it comes to wifi issues if I'm not around to help fix it. However if they have more than one computer in the barn then I would have to have a hub there so then wifi might be better to just have a access point in the barn but then I might have to get some antennas that would cross the gap and keep a stable connection instead of the standard ones that come on most home wifi routers.

So my question for you people would be what is your opinion on this matter? I'd need about 150 feet of shielded cable which is under the 100meter limit I've read for ethernet.

I'm not sure of the budget for it yet either but I'd say they want to be as cheap as possible. As soon as I get the rest of the details from them I'll update this post.

Thanks for any help and information.

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You'll also have ground plane differences between two buildings with separate electrical supplies, which isn't so good if the Ethernet line is the only thing connecting the two. Traditionally, links between two buildings are done with fiber optic connections, which have gotten surprisingly cheap to install. If it's an option, I'd go with that. You can find the hardware for both 10 mpbs and 100 mbps fiber on eBay for probably less than you'd pay for new STP cabling.

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You could also consider using a wireless bridge between the buildings. Traditionally the client end (ie. not router) of these is a little more pricey, but with the various WRT-54 firmwares you can re-configure a router to be the client-bridge.

If you go ethernet, you can also get 'direct-burial' cable with thick black jacket.

Cheers,

Mungewell.

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+1 fiberoptic i think its maximum distance is like a quarter mile? or you could run a 100ft ethernet to a router/hub that would be close enough

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You could also consider using a wireless bridge between the buildings. Traditionally the client end (ie. not router) of these is a little more pricey, but with the various WRT-54 firmwares you can re-configure a router to be the client-bridge.

If you go ethernet, you can also get 'direct-burial' cable with thick black jacket.

Cheers,

Mungewell.

I was thinking of doing something like that. I figured that two of the same routers, the Linksys WRT54G, and set the one in the barn as an access point to pick up the signal from the first in the house. Then I could just connect to the wired ports for the computer(s) in the barn. Which I am thinking that would be the cheapest and most effective method for them right now. It would allow additional ports so if she upgraded her business and included more computers she would be set for now.

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You could also consider using a wireless bridge between the buildings. Traditionally the client end (ie. not router) of these is a little more pricey, but with the various WRT-54 firmwares you can re-configure a router to be the client-bridge.

If you go ethernet, you can also get 'direct-burial' cable with thick black jacket.

Cheers,

Mungewell.

I was thinking of doing something like that. I figured that two of the same routers, the Linksys WRT54G, and set the one in the barn as an access point to pick up the signal from the first in the house. Then I could just connect to the wired ports for the computer(s) in the barn. Which I am thinking that would be the cheapest and most effective method for them right now. It would allow additional ports so if she upgraded her business and included more computers she would be set for now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16812119210

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16833156182

whatever you wanna do lols.

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After changing my search terms around for the hundredth time and going through who knows how many pages of information I think I've found the information for what I can do with the two WRT54G routers from my above post. Howto Wireless Bridge with DD-WRT. Thanks for the help people I guess I just needed a place to post what I've thought of so far.

So after I start this process I'll see about doing a write up of what I've done and posting it so the info is available here for someone who might need it in the future. But that will not be for a few weeks.

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Fiber and a couple of used gigabit fiber converters so you can use cheap network kit. If you have money to waste and line of sight free space optics is a nice way of doing things. If you go with wifi, get a couple of Ubiquiti Xtreme Range 7 which work on 700MHz or Xtreme Range 9 which work on 900MHz and whatever is the cheapest board RouterBOARD are doing. I'm not a fan of 2.4GHz stuff for network links that matters.

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You should get some high quality burial quality ethernet cable, if theres no livestock or machines within line of sight, you could safely bury it at least 6 inches deep if you have the time and tools.

Edited by IndexPhinger
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Fiber and a couple of used gigabit fiber converters so you can use cheap network kit. If you have money to waste and line of sight free space optics is a nice way of doing things. If you go with wifi, get a couple of Ubiquiti Xtreme Range 7 which work on 700MHz or Xtreme Range 9 which work on 900MHz and whatever is the cheapest board RouterBOARD are doing. I'm not a fan of 2.4GHz stuff for network links that matters.

+1 for the ubiquiti cards and routerboards. also might check out routerboard.com they have alot of pimp ass router boards if youre into building your own. couple other sites i like are oxfordtec.com and wlanparts.com . oxfordtec has some nice U.fl pigtails for your routers wireless cards so yo ucan antenna them out pimp style.

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I think what you need is a sufficient length of cable rated for outdoor use (Cat 5e or Cat 6). You could also do this wirelessly (as Mungewell mentioned), but I personally would prefer a wired connection between the two buildings.

Category 5 cable is rated for 100 mbps over a 100 meter (328 feet) network segment, Cat 5e is rated for Gb/sec over a 100 meter network segment, Cat 6 is rated for 3 Gb/sec over a 100 meter segment. If your bandwidth is lower than the rated maximum, you can get away with stretching these pretty far. For a regular 100Base-T connection, I think Cat 5e would be plenty fine for running between the two buildings. Just make sure the cable is rated for outdoor use and if you decide to bury it, be sure to run some 1" diameter PVC pipe as a conduit. Seal the PVC joints well, and run the pipe all the way into the interior of both buildings so you don't get water leaking in there.

I think fiber would be needlessly expensive and complicated for a simple connection like this, unless you're working with very high bandwidth.

Edited by Colonel Panic
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No high speed anything for this project... They just want to run internet to their barn and be able to use the printers in each building from the other.

I figure I'll come up with some figures for either burying a line or running a cable... I'll attempt to explain it to them both ways and let them decide. But for now I have school work so they are going to have to wait a week or so before I can do anything for them.

Edited by nugget
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If I were you, I'd bury it unless they're seriously planning to plow or tear up the yard at some time in the future. Burying the cable is the safest way, and it's a hell of a lot less hideous-looking than having an elevated drop-line running across the yard.

I've done this before, with electrical wiring as well as data cable. It's easy to do and only takes a few hours. PVC pipe is waterproof and ought to be sufficient to meet building codes in your area.

How to run an underground cable to a nearby building:

First, make sure there are no existing underground cables or pipes along the path where you want to bury the cable. Use some stakes and twine to mark off a straight path from the point where the network cable will be leaving the house, to the point where it will be entering the barn. Then call the utility companies and arrange for them to come out and verify that digging along that path won't disturb any of their lines.

Once you've established that the route is clear to dig, you'll want to measure the distance and then buy that amount of PVC pipe, plus about 10-20 feet extra (for a 100-foot run, you'll want to buy eleven or twelve 10-foot lengths). Don't worry about buying too much. Save your receipt, and you can usually return any unused/uncut materials for a refund.

Besides the PVC pipe, you'll need nine or ten external slip-on straight couplers, four 90-degree elbows, a jar of PVC cement (the kind with the "brush-in-lid"), and a tube of silicone or other exterior sealant. For the wire, I recommend 150 feet of Category 6 UTP data cable of the type that's rated for outdoor use.

NOTE: If you choose to go the optical fiber route, you'll need to modify this plan somewhat. Fiber cable cannot make sudden bends (like through a narrow, 90-degree elbow joint) the way UTP can. For burying fiber cable, you might need to use that plastic corrugated flex tubing to route the cable up out of the ground.

You'll also need the following tools: A tape measure, a spade or shovel, a saw for cutting PVC, a small bubble level, a pair of wire cutters, a Sharpie marker, and an electric drill with a hole saw or bit the same size as the O.D. of the PVC pipe.

Use a spade to dig a straight trench 8-10" deep along the desired route. If you pile up the dirt alongside the trench as you go, it'll be easy to fill it back in after laying the conduit.

This is a general idea of what we're going for:

buriedcable.png

Lay out the straight pieces of PVC pipe in the ditch, and stick them together using the straight couplers. Do not cement them together yet! Start at the house and work your way towards the barn. When you get to the barn, cut the last piece off about an inch short of reaching the foundation of the barn. Once the PVC conduit has been cut to size, disconnect all the pieces and remove the couplers, then lay them out on the lawn.

Now it's time to run the cable. Start by shoving the cable through the first piece of pipe until it comes out the other side. Then go to the opposite end of the pipe and slip one of the couplers over the end of the wire, then pull about 20' through (you'll probably want to have somebody help by feeding the cable in the opposite end of the pipe as you pull it through). Now run that end of the cable through the second piece of conduit, then slip another coupler over the end of the cable, pull another 20' through and so on until you have all the pipes strung together with the cable running through them and couplers in between.

conduitconnect.png

To cement the conduit together: Using the applicator attached to the lid of the cement jar, apply cement liberally to the inside of one end of the coupler. Coat the last 1/2" of the outside of the corresponding piece of pipe with cement, then fit the pieces together as tightly as you can. You need to do this rather quickly, because that cement sets up in under a minute. Do one joint at a time and make sure they fit together well, because the joints need to be watertight. Once all the pieces have been joined into one long pipe, cut the cable off the spool, leaving about 10-20 feet extending out of both ends of the conduit. Now lay the fully assembled "ground-pipe" back into the trench.

Take one of the 90-degree elbow connectors, slip it over the end of the cable and apply cement to the inside where it will mate with the ground-pipe. Lift the end of the ground-pipe out of the ditch, brush off any dirt, and apply cement to the last 1/2" of its outside. Press the elbow fitting onto the ground-pipe so that the open end of the elbow is oriented upward.

Go inside the house and carefully measure the exact vertical height above the laid conduit where you want the wire to enter. I strongly suggest running the network cable into the basement, then using regular electrical conduit to route it from there to wherever in the house they want it.

Stick a short segment of PVC pipe into the elbow on the end of the ground-pipe and use your level to make sure to align the wall-hole so that the vertical section of conduit will stand plumb. Once you've determined the exact location for the hole, double-check your measurements. Then, carefully drill through the exterior wall from the outside. Use a small screwdriver or small drill bit to make a small "orientation" hole though the interior drywall. Go inside the house and check that the small hole is in the projected place where you want the network socket to be, then drill or cut a hole through the interior wall to admit the cable into the room.

Cut a piece of PVC pipe, long enough to extend into the wall and also stick out far enough on the outside to line up with the underground conduit. Set this "wall-pipe" into the hole through the wall.

Press-fit another 90-degree elbow connector onto the wall-pipe (do not cement it yet) and carefully measure and cut a piece of PVC to span the vertical distance between the elbow on the ground-pipe and the elbow fitted onto the wall-pipe. Be sure to include enough length to accommodate fitting the pipe into the female ends of both connectors.

Slip the cable through the newly cut "upright" piece, then press-fit all these pieces together to ensure everything fits properly and snugly. Again, use your level to make sure the vertical pipe will stand plumb when attached to the wall-pipe. Now is the time to make corrections if you need to; after you've set the cement, it'll be too late!

Once you're sure everything fits, cement the vertical piece atop the 90-degree elbow on the ground-pipe. Next, thread the cable through the other 90-degree elbow and cement that into place on top of the upright piece, making sure it aligns squarely with the wall-pipe.

Feed the 10-20' end of the cable through the wall-pipe into the interior of the house, then cement the elbow to the wall-pipe. Seal the edges of the hole around the wall-pipe with a bead of weatherproof sealant.

conduitvertical.png

Now do the same for the barn, but before you glue the bottom elbow connector into place, you'll need to make sure it's plumb.

One way to accomplish this is to do the following: Cut a short piece of PVC pipe, about 3 feet in length. Press-fit the 90-degree elbow onto the end of this piece. Thread the end of the cable through this assembly, elbow-end first, then gently fit it onto that end of the ground-pipe. Use the level to plumb the upright piece. Once you have it plumb, take your Sharpie marker and draw a line across--and perpendicular to--the joint where the elbow and the ground-pipe meet. This will be used as a registration mark for aligning the pieces while gluing. Pull the pieces apart. Apply cement to the inside of the elbow connector where it will join the ground-pipe. Lift the end of the ground-pipe out of the ditch, brush off any dirt, and apply cement to the last 1/2" of the outside. Now carefully align your registration marks, and then slowly press the elbow into place on the end of the ground-pipe. Make sure you align the marks carefully and press the pieces together straight, because once the glue starts to stick you won't be able to adjust it. If you do it right, this upright should stand plumb out of the trench, just like the one over by the house.

Follow essentially the same procedure for mounting the wall-pipe in the barn, measuring and cutting your upright, running the cable end into the barn and then assembling and cementing everything into place.

After you're done installing the pipe, you should probably stuff a small piece of rag or some fiberglass insulation material inside the open ends of the pipes where the cable comes out (inside the house and barn), just to prevent cold air, bugs, etc. from entering the conduit.

For some extra stability, you could use this old trick:

anchor.png

Small coffee can with top & bottom cut out, used as a form for a

cylindrical concrete anchor

Finally, fill the trench back in with the dirt piled alongside. You may want to run some water into the trench before filling it in, to help the dirt pack down better.

Last thing to do will be installing boxes and socket plates in the interior walls, and then you'll be ready to start hooking up your network devices.

Edited by Colonel Panic
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