Step 4 - Configure the Network

Before you actually connect the access point to the bridge via ethernet cable, let's do some configuring of the bridge so we are sure that we can get a strong signal from our directional antenna pointed at the neighbor's house.

With the coax from our directional antenna properly connected to the antenna socket on the bridge, we can power up the bridge and then connect a laptop or other computer to the ethernet port on the bridge itself.  There are probably instructions for configuring the bridge in the packaging, but in general the web config tool is easy enough to use that you can skip some of the instructions in the booklet.  If you are using a Linksys bridge, you can simply open a web browser and type in to get to the configuration tool.  Each brand of wireless device is different, but in general we want our bridge to connect to our neighbor's wi-fi network, so we look for it in the web configuration tool.

The web config tool on the bridge most likely shows us the signal strength of the wireless networks it can see.  Since we want to use our neighbor's network, which we will call NEIGHBOR-NET for now, we want to watch the signal strength from that network.  If it is low, perhaps the antenna can be adjusted (aimed) slightly to improve the signal strength.  Directional antennas can be sensitive and should be positioned to get the best signal from the target network.

Once configured properly and connected to the NEIGHBOR-NET network down the street, we should be able to reach the internet while the computer is plugged into the port on the wireless bridge.  With that aspect functional, the remaining steps are as simple as setting up a new broadband connection at your home!  For all practical purposes, the wireless ethernet bridge is no different than a DSL or cable internet modem.  You can plug any computer, router, or network hub into it and it will connect you to the internet via the neighbor's wi-fi network! 

Now run that long ethernet cable from the bridge to the location of your wireless access point.  Follow the instructions to configure the access point.  Keep in mind that your home network is different from your neighbor's.  Don't type in the SSID of your neighbor's wireless when the AP asks for that info -- we are setting up an independent home network here, so it should be given a unique name, like, say, HOME-NET.

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