Okay, so the experiment running an FTP server with all my music and movies didn't last, because now I'm at home for the summer and it's not exactly practical to run a high-capacity server with large files through a DSL connection.
On to the next project!
My dad and I have ham radio licenses. Guess what? With the right ham license, you can take the signal from an 802.11 base station and amplify the hell out of it, and use a high-gain antenna, to offer wireless Internet access to a huge area.
My license isn't of a high enough class to allow this, so I'm planning on upgrading this summer. Meanwhile, my dad and I are researching the necessary technology, including high-gain antennas for 2.4 GHz, and linear amplifiers for the same. He has a 70-foot tower in our back yard, giving a theoretical range of 10.25 miles, since the 2.4 GHz band requires line-of-sight (not literally, but it can't go through or refract around the earth).
However, 10.25 miles isn't quite enough. I'll be living in an apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan next year, and I want to make a wireless WAN between my apartment and my parents' home in Plymouth, 15 miles away. We have a couple of ideas for bridging this gap. First of all, and easiest, is to find another ham in between and talk him/her into helping us. If that doesn't pan out, we may use a transverter to convert the 2.4 GHz signal to another frequency where we wouldn't need line-of-sight, and could get better range. The trick is finding an HF or VHF band where we're licensed to use spread spectrum, and even then we might not be able to use the full 54 Mbps offered by the Airport Extreme base stations we'll be using.
If anyone has other ideas, I'd like to hear them. Satellites aren't out of the question, though they would make for a somewhat unreliable connection.
A few final notes...if anyone on