Introduction: Homebrew WISP ( Wireless ISP)

Picture of Homebrew WISP ( Wireless ISP)

I have always been amazed with wireless technology even before. I remember during our high school days. My friends and I were DREAMING on how to propagate data packets using the VHF radio (145.00 Mhz) and a Commodore 64 computer. It did not materialize though, we haven't had the chance to test it because of money considerations, back then a Commodore 64 PC cost thousands of Dollars. Cassette tapes were still used for file back-ups, no Hard Drives and Floppies yet. Well ..... so much with History.

This project is to make a homebrew wireless ISP in your neighborhood, this is to share your internet connection using wireless technology. Although we have questions about security issues but I won't be touching that topic, my reason for this blog is just to show how powerful this technology is and how it can help bring internet connection to rural areas. I will be using cheap materials you can find anywhere.

Step 1: Materials and Fitting

Picture of Materials and Fitting

Materials Needed:
Plastic Transhcan - used as enclosure
Access Point
Homebrew POE Injector and Antenna
Power Supply Regulator

a. Fitting the Access Point and Supply Regulator

Using a plywood, cut the desired size so that it will fit inside the trashcan. The wood will be used as the base for your AP and the Power Supply Regulator. I will be using the regulator I made in my previous blog.(

Look at picture #2 and #3,It would look like this after putting the AP and the Regulator. Take note that there's a bolt near the regulator, this will be used to attach the wood to the plastic trashcan afterwards. The RJ-45 modular box is part of the POE I made. You can make your own POE using this link ( as reference, this is a cheap alternative that works well.

Step 2: Putting It All in the Trashcan

Picture of Putting It All in the Trashcan

I am only using a rectangular plastic trashcan. I live in a tropical country, the only problem is to secure the AP from getting wet. No SNOW or DUST STORM to worry about here... Now,make all the needed holes to bolt the plywood and the trashcan together.

I designed a metal holder for the trashcan with U-bolts for the mast installation (picture #2). Using it to hold the plywood and the plastic together.

As you can see in the third picture,the bolt is holding the plywood, to the plastic and the metal holder... all three of them.

Step 3: Installing the Antenna and Finalizing the Rig

Picture of Installing the Antenna and Finalizing the Rig

I made a Bi-Quad antenna using Trevor Marshall's ( design but tweaked it a little bit to make use of my available materials. I will be posting a separate blog for this.

The second picture is a peek of my Bi-Quad inside the plastic enclosure. You can see the Copper Cladded Board or PCB used as the reflector and copper wire for the main element.

I am using an RG-58 (50 ohms)cable from the Linksys AP to the external antenna, compatible connector for this particular Linksys is RP-TNC.

After putting everything inside the Trashcan, I made a plastic cover to keep the Birds from nesting inside. This will also protect the AP and the Regulator from mist during heavy rains.

Step 4: Putting All in the Mast

Picture of Putting All in the Mast

Using the Metal Bracket that I made, the "loaded" Trashcan can be securely fastened to the mast,installed also the antenna.In the third picture you can see the Trashcan and Antenna in all its Glory. Sweet huh?


gotwificowboy (author)2017-06-28

Love it ! You did excelent using all that you could find and build, and then applying your skills. I have developed hundreds of WISP's and love the idea, and yes folks this will work.

WIFIENGINEER (author)2010-05-11

that would be ok for a point to point application
If you want to be an access point though you would need to us an omni directional antenna or construct sector antennas
I have sucessfully established a 40 mile point to point link using 2 parabolic reflectors and 500mw

Something else that helps is using 802.11b
It will easily outdistance 802.11g and 802.11n

JustinR128 (author)WIFIENGINEER2016-11-24

hey i have some question id would like to talk you email me

drserver (author)WIFIENGINEER2011-12-18

Dear Sir/

I am Internet Cable Service Provider, I cover 2 Kilometer area. I have almost 500 Internet Cable coustumers. I want to convert my whole Cable Network into Wireless Network. I would be very thankful to you if you can help me out from this problem and tell me also about your products which will help me to do convertation.

- Mohib

JustinR128 (author)drserver2016-11-24

hey drop me a line i would like to talk

JasenB (author)2016-09-03

I really hate to ask this... but is this a method of actually being able to provide access to the internet to others and yiurself... with out having to get it first from at&t or comcast or some other provider?

It seems like a stupid question but i am trying to wrap my brain around this and an idea i have but there are basics of this i need to understand first.

GravityS (author)2016-03-15

Hats off to you for writing
such an informative piece of work. I must say that I have never seen such a
fine work. Keep it up.

faustin1 (author)2011-07-29

I do not see this antenna booster working to well. WiFi uses Microwave frequencies.. RG-58 cable and Pl259 connectors are not designed for those ranges.

LM400 cabling and sma connections should had been used for max effectiveness

cwiegand (author)faustin12014-02-11

For the low power outputs here and short cable runs I wouldn't be too worried. More power might damage the equipment or longer runs would cause more signal loss. I'd keep the cable as short as possible.

mikeinbellingham (author)2011-08-21

Why would you put the access point in the trash can on the pole? could you just have the linksys in the house and run the signal cable up the pole to the antenna instead? Just courious why you did it they way you did..

ghz24 (author)mikeinbellingham2012-02-29

here's why
100 feet of rg-58 loses 32 dB at 2.4 ghz that's your signal is cut in half 10 times or about 0.1% of the signal gets through.
LMR-400 lose is 5.8 dB/100 feet so you only lose ~3/4 or 75% of your signal.
cat5 cable (Ethernet ) ~300 feet lose of signal zero.
better to run cat5 to location then use 6 " of coax

There's a lot of loss if you just run and extension to the outdoor antenna. That and it would pickup a lot of EMI/RFI interference.

pppd (author)2009-01-23

ok, good one, but.. this is not a wisp project, this is more or less access on the net. you need a lot more to make wisp.being N.A.S the first. (not storage but the Network Access Server) to justM: I have build a phased quad antenna reflected by a 90cm parabola & established connection (with the same gear at the other end) in 7Km range and 100mw lasted 3 yrs then i took it down. but still works,

fouaz (author)pppd2010-01-18

I'm newbie in this kind of Tech , a 'll be gracefuller if you give us a simple tutorial to built a phased quad antenna reflected by a 90cm parabola. thanks at all

electronixTech (author)2009-12-21

A further enhancement for this project would be to take your wifi router and flash the firmware with dd-wrt which gives you many more bandwidth filtering and other options than the stock Linksys firmware. Also use OpenDNS, which is free, to restrict access to websites that won't get you in trouble with your ISP or the law if someone in your neighborhood wants to go on a questionable website. You can set up a list of website categories such as porn content in your OpenDNS control panel account and block this from being accessed through your open wifi connection. Then point your DNS settings in your wifi router to connect to your OpenDNS account settings to implement the type of content you will allow people to access through your connection.

rsdandy (author)2009-05-04

I know this is coming in late, but I could not go without posting a couple of things. Everyone with the idea of providing service for a neighborhood, or similar will be responsible for the actions of the people on the internet. Also, the FCC has some very strict rules about these things, along with the ISP that is providing the originating IP address. Especially if you plan to sell the service. Of course this all pertains to the U.S. Only.

greenbean (author)rsdandy2009-07-28

Ya, but if you live in a rural area who cares? If your broadcast does not interfere it is not illegal. (Part 15 of the FCC rules). I wouldn't suggest this in a city, but then it's not as necessary there.

rsdandy (author)greenbean2009-07-29

Ok... yes the transmissions are legal, but the data may not be (spam, child porn, etc). And it all points to your IP address.

greenbean (author)rsdandy2009-07-30

Not if you split your router. You can have the router give out two different connections. One you broadcast, one you don't. That way you can use one internet connection and have your computer use one IP while everyone else uses the other. This is free to do.

rsdandy (author)greenbean2009-07-30

Your modem, be it cable, dsl, or whatever, has one or more ip's assigned to it by the providers servers. The ip that the router gets from the modem, and the ip's that it assigns to users, all go back through this ip, which is associated to your account. If it becomes a serious enough violation, it is simple to determine which account provided the connection that violated the law.

greenbean (author)rsdandy2009-08-03

Yes, but the just as the isp is not responsible for you or me, you would be able to know that you did not do it, and you would have lots of other people with the incriminating ip. You would have say, and everyone else would have

rsdandy (author)greenbean2009-08-03

You are right, but, if it is a serious enough violation it won't matter because the provider will disable your account because of what is passing through it, even if it is someone else doing it. I will give you that in most scenerios, only warnings are issued (guess what I do for a living?), but you are at risk if you don't know who is using your service. Not to mention that some providers have caps on their bandwidth. Thanks for the thread.

NozeDive (author)2008-08-13

I was thinking of doing something similar, but on a smaller scale. I have a wired Linksys router, as I originally had no need for WIFI . Now I would like to give some of my WIFI enabled devices access to the internet, but not all of them have an RJ-45 jack to plug into my router.

I also have a WIFI-G USB adapter that I can use to connect a PC to a WIFI network. Is there a way I can use my PC as a bridge? I mean, since my PC is wired to my router, can I use the USB WIFI adapter to let other devices and computers connect to my wired router through the WIFI USB adapter?

BlackHatCracker (author)NozeDive2009-03-19

Nope. Not unless you have a WiFi G router connected to a computer.

Dillon02003 (author)NozeDive2008-08-19

That is EXACTLY what I have been searching and searching this site for and not finding anything. Someone please answer our question!!

Derin (author)Dillon020032008-08-25

It is possible...i will try to search windows help for how to set it up

Derin (author)Derin2008-08-25

WINDOWS HELP ABOUT MAKING BRIDGE: To bridge connections You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to complete this procedure. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings might also prevent you from completing this procedure. Open Network Connections. Under LAN or High-Speed Internet, hold down the CTRL key and select each of the private network connections that you want to be part of the bridge. Right-click one of the highlighted private network connections, and then click Bridge Connections.

Dillon02003 (author)Derin2008-08-28

Thanks for trying, but I don't believe that answers the problem, Thanks anyways.

femisez (author)2006-04-06

Hello guys. I'm interested in establishing commercial grade wireless service in rural communities. I know little of the radio/wireless world. Ive been researching, and I am looking for pointers, tutorials and the like. Right now I am reading O'Reillys Wireless Community Networks. Anyone willing to be a guide/mentor? It would be greatly appreciated. What would you say the funding requirements are? And I've been reading about 802.16 as been the future, yet I see no implementations yet. Help anyone?

kboyd14u (author)femisez2008-08-01

hi femi, my name is kola kolade and i run a company called Proteux technologies here in lagos nigeria, we are into ict support services, i dont know if u are stll interested in this project you can call me on 08088001180 and let see if we can work something out

supruzer (author)kboyd14u2009-01-10

Hey Kola. I am East Africa. Would you or anyone here be interested in starting a wireless internet provider operation here and in the middle east? let me know if you want to partner. I will provide funds, some tech, some business/marketing help, you provide the knowhow.

static (author)femisez2008-03-25

I'm using a WISP rural) and they are using the /\/\otorola Canopy system. A wireless Community Network may not necessarily be a WISP, WISP is being used very loosely here. You might want to exchange email addresses with to pro that checked in to comment.

Just post your queries/questions here and will try to answer it. By the way, why "commercial grade", is this for a company or for a business? For funding requirements, it really depends on the brand/model that you'll be using and the current prices of the equipment/materials in your area, so since you have been reading O'Reillys, you can now canvass.

wireless ISP business startup, to offer broadband to businesses as well as residential customers. the main internet feed is going to be via satellite.

Oh i see,so that will be a big set-up.

so tell me still , where do i start? im finding info but most point towards hotspots.

BiggieX (author)2008-11-24

On the router you have two coax pig tails connected. Where did you plug the other two ends into? Isn't it only needed to connect one pig tail to the biquad?

I was supposed to connect 2 antennas from the router and decided to just connect 1 antenna pigtail to the Biquad then took the picture. You can omit the other pigtail if you intend to connect just 1 antenna.

Bor (author)2008-10-24

Nice idea, but isn't this just a router on a stick?

yellowaj (author)2008-09-02

i also have been working on some medium scale wireless network deployments in my area-like you said there is very little info on the net for do it yourselfer type wisp's.

i ran across (i think they are still builiding content). it is the perfect guide for diy, easy and cheap wireless networks for rural, city deployments. also they will answer questions about your proposed wisp network.

hope that helps.

Sandisk1duo (author)2008-06-01

you should put this in a tall tree, so that no one notices that you are leeching internet

And in Autumn when all the leaves fall off?

spray paint it?

well that could work

pluto (author)2008-01-06

Hi folks. I would like to install a WISP as a community project for a village in the far east. I have one internet connection. I need a ready made setup so that folks around my place within 300 feet radius can share the internet. What are the items I need to buy to have this setup.? I have a linksys wireless router. Any expert advise would be appreciated. Thank you so much. John,

static (author)pluto2008-03-25

You might be interested in these files

My source for the files mention the web page was to be shut down "soon", so I woulsn't waste no time in getting the files. However soon wasn't quantiified

pluto (author)static2008-03-26

Thanks for your links. John

static (author)pluto2008-07-27

Hope they worked for you. I checked last week and there URLs aren't valid anymore. Perhaps your library can help.

static (author)2008-03-25

This is more akin to a neighborhood hot spot, than a WISP. Such a set up may or may not violate one's TOS with the ISP the equipment is using to access the internet. Billing like another commenter mentioned surely would, unless prior arrangements where made. An omni-directional antenna would potentially serve more people. Let them use a directional antenna if it's needed. Anyway I didn't pay thousands for my C64. Than again I was using a BW TV and had the data cassette from the Vic 20.

About This Instructable




Bio: Do-It-Yourself electronic projects I've made. Read it, Learn it, Use it....spread the word!
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