Costs and Savings
Creating a network such as what we have discussed here is going to cost money, unless you just happen to have the parts lying around, in which case this site probably just bored you to death. If you have to go out and buy all the parts with shipping and everything, it will probably cost $200-$300. It could be less if you shop around a lot and know what you're doing, and it could be more if you make some mistakes or just want to spring for some fancier gear.
Of course, if your neighborhood happens to have some sort of public wireless hotspot or you live near a business or neighbor who has given you permission to use their wireless internet, then you might start considering the savings a network like this could provide.
Broadband internet access still costs as much as $75 per month in many parts of the United States of America. Even if you can get it for $30 per month, it will still cost you $360 per year, plus taxes and initial setup costs. If you plan on having broadband internet for, say, five years, installing a bridged wireless network in your home to piggyback that free hotspot's internet connection can save you anywhere from $1300 to as much as $4000 over that length of time.
If this article leaves you asking questions then we encourage you to see the
Go Wireless: The Long Haul - This page contains information and instructions on setting up a private wireless home network connected to a nearby public hotspot. (RECOMMENDED!)
Do It Yourself Antenna Update: Extend Your Signal - More instructions on getting stronger signals at long range using a directional 2.4GHz antenna.
Wifi/Antenna on Wikibooks - Some links, basic info
Wireless Antennas, Gain, Ratios, and other Mysterious terms EXPLAINED!
Wireless Broadband Router search - Find the best Wi-Fi broadband router for your needs.