Detached Garage WiFi

Detached Garage WiFi

Can anyone out there suggest the best way for me, and others with a similar problem to get WiFi in there detached garage? My garage is about 60 feet from our main house and would pick up our WiFi signal but the roof and side walls are covered in steel siding. We get WiFi in the driveway now but inside the garage both WiFi and cell service die out. I am in the process of running a 240V line out to the garage. Should I also run a Cat 6 cable? We have a Ubiquity router in the house but getting all the way back to the router is an issue. Options?

Desai | January 4, 2013

@mcptwo: If you are running power out, you can run either Cat5e or Cat6. Cat6 is obviously going to be a bit more expensive. What I would suggest is you setup an Access Point in the garage and have the Cat5e/6 cable that you run with the power connect back into your Ubiquity router.

kbekaert | January 4, 2013

Run the Cat6 cable, it can be up to almost 330 feet long. But make sure you use outdoor cable.

andex23 | January 4, 2013

I am not an IT dude, so this is all based on my limited home network knowledge.

Could you put up a wirless AP with 4 port router just outside the garage and then use a cat 5e/cat 6 to connect it to a second wirless AP inside the garage? Then you just need power and a 6' cat 5e/cat 6 cable to connect them. These would then connect back wirelessly to the original router. Create a mini cloud inside the garage.

I don't know if the device is an access point, bridge, repeater, whatever, maybe the techs can help.

Vawlkus | January 4, 2013

Even if the 'pickup' router is right inside the door, it's not going get much, if any signal. If the door is metal as well, then zero signal unless the door is open, which defeats the whole thing.

If he's gotta run power, he might as well run the data line as well; better results and a LOT less hassle IMHO.

stevenmaifert | January 4, 2013

Consider a pair of powerline broad band connectors. I get mine from Dish network ( This will get the ethernet signal to your detached garage without running any additional cable. You can pair a second WiFi router to the first. There are technical aspects with respect giving the second router in the garage a static IP address at the end of the DHCP range, and setting up the house router as a default gateway, but it's doable.

DouglasR | January 4, 2013

Get a pair of Edimax BR-6258n wireless broadband Nano routers (about $30 each). These are incredibly flexible little devices that can serve as an access point, router, wireless adapter, etc., and they have both WiFi and Ethernet. Position one outside the garage, with an Ethernet cable that runs into the garage and connects to the second unit, which provides WiFi to the car.

fluxemag | January 4, 2013

I have a Cisco dual band wireless N router and it can send Hi Def digital cable wirelessly to my other computer about 50 feet away through 3 walls (not steel). When I walk down the street with my iphone I can still get signal four houses down, although not as strong. I only did it that way because I'm too lazy to run cable through the attic. I don't know how difficult or how much it would cost to run the cable to your garage, but it would certainly work well.

jat | January 4, 2013

Be careful running copper network cabling between separate buildings - you really want optoisolators in that case, or else you could get in a situation where a nearby lightning strike raises the ground potential of one of the buildings first and the copper winds up carrying the difference between the buildings.

The easiest solution, if you can't do RF at all, is fiber rather than Cat5/6, though the equipment on each end costs more.

mcptwo | January 4, 2013

Would underground Cat6 avoid that problem?

dashrb | January 4, 2013

Agree with the philosophy that running a cat5e (or cat6) cable alongside the electrical is the way to go. and if you're going through the trouble of running a conduit and burying it, you should run 2 so you have a spare, for expansion or as failure insurance. At 60 feet, cat5e is perfectly fine. If it's cheaper to run two cat5e's than one cat6, then it's a no brainer (to me).

NielsChr | January 4, 2013

I have a similar problem, and haven't decided yet which solution I will select.
My situation is though more easy, as I haven't steel sides. Wi-Fi is still an option for me.

I would recommend a fiber solution (stable and much more resident to water, and no problem about electric potential).

Since the model S connects via Wi-Fi, you obvious need a Wi-Fi Access point inside your garage, witch at same time support fiber on the WAN side (to your house).

I have made a quick search for parts and found these:
(You may find other/better prices elsewhere)

E.g. inside your garage you could mount something like this
I quick read of the manual indicate you need to enable DHCP reception on the WAN interface, and also setup what the Wi-Fi name/code should be - other than that it should be fine (change the admin password as well)..

And you will need 1 SFP module (multimode) for the above.
Like this:

Inside your house you will need to have a media converter, as I assume you at present doesn’t have fiber ports
e.g. something like this:
or if you are in need of more RJ45 ports in your house go for this
(does this have a fan ? , the later also need a SFP module extra !)

And finally you need a fiber cable from your house to the garage - terminated with LC/LC preferable 50nm OM-3, you probably need someone to do this depending on the distance to the garage
or pre-made 10 or 20 meters if this is sufficient

the prices....
Wi-Fi access point 200$
SFP module 32$
media converter 129$
fiber patch cable 15 meter 25$

witch and up costing around approx. 400$ - add approx. 100$ if you need the switch instead of the media converter inside your house...

jat | January 4, 2013

@mcptwo - no, the problem is that the ground of the garage might be a lot different than ground of the house. Electronics should keep the signal ground separate from the power ground, but not all of them do, and you can wind up with a ground loop between buildings.

It will work nearly all of the time, but the one time it doesn't you will have a bunch of fried electronics.

Even WalMart carries them these days:

July10Models | January 4, 2013

The easiest solution and also the least costly is to install a wireless wi-fi repeater/extender in the garage with the antenna mounted outside the garage where it can receive the main air port. In this the wireless network gets extend into the garage.

July10Models | January 4, 2013
Mark E | January 5, 2013

If you are already running power to the garage then have the electrician run some Ethernet for you. Here in Australia it must be in a separate conduit to the mains, but its pretty cheap to have done and will give you better performance than wifi.

shop | January 5, 2013

The most straightforward way to solve this issue is to run a cat 5e ethernet cable between the buildings. Ground loops are not a problem since twisted pair ethernet uses transformer isolation.

Have the electrician install a 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch conduit alongside the conduit for the 240V power. All you need to use is 1/2 inch, but the 3/4 inch would allow you to pull other wire should you need to later (like for a CCTV camera, or coax for TV). The electrician will build the conduit and then typically use a shop vac to pull a nylon pull string through the conduit (you tie a little plastic bag parachute to the pull string and it gets sucked right through). You then use the pull string to pull the cat 5e AND another pull string for next time.

Cat 6 is not needed - cat 5e can be used up to 1 Gbps. Cat 6 can be used for up to 10Gbps, but we won't be using those speeds for quite a while yet. Also Cat 6 needs specific types of non commonly available plug ends, and is harder to work with in general.

In the garage, use a wifi access point - it won't really matter where you locate it, so locate it near a power plug to plug the access point into.

When setting up the access point, use a different wifi frequency (or channel) than what you use in the house, separated by at least 3 channels. For instance, use channel 6 in the house, and channel 1 in the garage.

I don't recommend the other options people have mentioned here. A wireless bridge will work, but to do it right, you need two wireless bridges - one outside the garage, one inside, both hooked together on a wired ethernet. It is more complicated.

I don't like power line ethernet as your entire house wiring acts as a giant antenna collecting all sorts of interference. Yes it works, but it isn't optimal.

Fiber is just overkill. It costs more, and introduces more components that can fail.

Sudre_ | January 5, 2013

I haven't read this entire thread but I am hoping that someone has come up with the easy solution that does not include burying a cable in the ground for a couple hundred dollars and then 5-10 years later do it again when tech changes.

Get an outdoor WiFi antenna.

Get some cable to run from your existing Wifi hub to where you can mount the outdoor antenna. Unscrew the antenna from you hub and see if you can get a clear signal in your garage.
If you do get a clear signal get another WiFi hub for the house if yours only had one antenna.

If you don't get a good signal borrow a friends WiFi hub. Put the outdoor antenna on your garage and the Hub in the garage.... make a Wifi repeater basically. If it works get your own hub and return the friends.

If that doesn't work what will work might be the same price as the CAT5-6. Get two outdoor antenna (Brian H whats the plural form!) and a hub. Point the antenna at each other outside and put the hub/repeater in the garage.

All of those options are simple to setup.

stevenmaifert | January 5, 2013

@txjak - You and I think alike. I'm impressed you did it for under $100... smart shopping!

bsimoes | January 5, 2013

How about if you park your car outside when you need an update?--free and easy!

Cirrus | January 5, 2013

I'm with txjak. Powerline Ethernet. I have eight of them running throughout my house connecting xboxes, TV's, DVDs, printers that aren't near computers, etc. Since your power for the garage will be coming from your regular house panel, they should work fine. They are rock solid reliable (at least in my experience). I use them even for devices that have wifi built in (such as my DVD players) as I get better performance and no problems. Txjak uses Dlink, and I've been quite pleased with Netgear and Belkin. I'm sure you won't have any issues with any standard brand. You would connect one to your existing router, and then plug one in the garage and connect it to a powerline wireless extender.

docdac | January 5, 2013

A very cheap and easy solution ($59 on Amazon) is :
Diamond Multimedia 300 Mbps 802.11 Wireless Range Extender (WR300N).
It takes a couple minutes to program it to receive your wireless signal, then it rebroadcasts it. Just plug it into any outlet (try one just inside your detached garage, or just inside the house nearest to the garage). This will nearly double your range. Check it out on Amazon.

craig.tesla | January 5, 2013

Your best option is probably a cheap access point inside the house and a directional antenna pointed towards the garage. Access points by default send the signal out "omni"-directionally. You can get a lot longer range in one direction though by sacrificing signal in the perpendicular. I've connected a house to a barn that's probably 400 feet away using a cheap Netgear access point and a flat-panel 14dB antenna. That was a while ago so I don't think you can get the exact same equipment easily, but this is a pretty good match:

Scroll down to "frequently bought together" to find a matching access point/cable/antenna that should work great for your situation. Best of all, the access point stays in the main house where it'll be cool/warm/dry and not in the garage where it'll get damp/spiders/hot.

Brian H | January 6, 2013

Either antennae or antennas. The first is more technical/formal. Your choice.

Damn straight. Those damp, hot spiders are deadly! ;)

txjak | January 7, 2013

@NielsChr Since the model S connects via Wi-Fi, you obvious need a Wi-Fi Access point inside your garage....

Not so obvious to me. While I like having it in my garage, it's not clear that Tesla will use it for anything related to service. I would be interested in what people plan to use the Tesla wifi connection for while the car is in the garage.