Point-to-point Wi-Fi bridging between buildings—the cheap and easy way

We tested these TP-Link outdoor Wi-Fi bridges—both 2.4GHz and 5GHz versions—across 80 meters of partially-wooded terrain, with great success.

Enlarge / We tested these TP-Link outdoor Wi-Fi bridges—both 2.4GHz and 5GHz versions—across 80 meters of partially-wooded terrain, with great success. (credit: Jim Salter)

Extending your Wi-Fi properly from one building to another is, unfortunately, a bit of a secret art—but it doesn't need to be either difficult or expensive. The secret lies mostly in knowing the right tools for the job. This is a job that shouldn't involve range extenders or rely on standard Wi-Fi mesh pieces. The good news is, with the right gear, you can connect your home to an outbuilding without either professional expertise or a ditch witch and a spool of burial-grade cable.

Although the Salter household (current generation) is planted firmly in suburbia, my parents stayed rural when they moved closer to their grandkids. Their place is beautiful, but it's the kind of home where a riding lawn mower is optional—a tractor with bush hog is a necessity. Said tractor lives in a barn about 80 meters from the house, much of which is a moderately wooded grove. And that made it an excellent test candidate for a little DIY networking experiment.

Our goal in this exercise is not to geek out as hard as possible by mounting and aiming everything with millimeter precision. Instead, we're simply out to demonstrate that wirelessly connecting two buildings quickly, cheaply, and easily is possible for anyone. In fact, you can even enjoy more-than-acceptable results in the end.

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