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Thread: Help me improve my range. Anyone try those $10 eBay 10dBi antennas?

  1. #1
    FLAC
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    Help me improve my range. Anyone try those $10 eBay 10dBi antennas?

    I am renting out a small room on a farm for the summer and brought my own wireless router to get internet in my room. Due to my circumstances, repositioning the router or my laptop is not really an option. The problem is that I am getting 0 bars and 1mbps. The connection is really unstable and I can drop out any minute.

    I have tried building a parabolic antenna from tin foil as shown here:
    http://www.freeantennas.com/projects...te2/index.html

    I am pretty sure I designed the reflector properly with the antenna placed in the focal point, but this did absolutely nothing to help with my signal. Maybe someone has ideas on what I am doing wrong?

    I am also wondering if anyone has tried those cheap eBay antenna that claim 10dBi of boost for less than $10:
    http://cgi.ebay.ca/2-4GHz-10dBi-WIRE...QQcmdZViewItem

    Do they really work, or should I just invest an a more expensive (and less rated boost) DLink antenna?

    http://www.memoryexpress.com/Product...10019(ME).aspx

    Not sure how these manufacturers rate the antenna, but perhaps there is some sort of scam going on like how they rate amplifier power (rms vs peak)? I am pretty much out of ideas here other than to buy some super high power router. I have even tried using various wifi dongles, but for some reason vista on my inspiron 6400 wont utilize any other wireless adapter other than the built in one.

    Advice to get a better signal would be great.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    The Last Good Gremlin GizmoQ's Avatar
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    l understand your situation, but to be able to help you I need some technical info. What brand and model number is your router? What is the brand and model number of your wifi on your PC? What kind is it (internal to laptop, USB, PCMCIA, PCI card, etc)? Do both wifi adapters have external antenna connectors, if so what kind? What is the approximate distance between the two? What obstacles are between the two? What's your budget?


    The key to remember is power is better than sensitivity anyday. There are routers available with up to 2Watts (most are 100 to 200 mW) and there are PCMCIA cards available with up to 500mW. There are also external amps available in a wide range of power levels.

    A normal 8dB antenna like what I have on my router is 1 1/2 in in diameter and 24 ln long. Those antennas you linked don't even come close. They are designed for indoor use, don't have nearly the output nor sensitivity as a good 1/2 wave antenna such as mine and if location is a problem will probably lose half their capability with a short 20-30 ft cable. The can antenna is a good idea - using 2 aimed at each other would be better. I also incorporated a 24dB directional antenna in my system, but its a pain to aim because it has such a narrow beam.

    Answer the questions above, figure out what power you currently have, guestimate what power you think you need and we can go from there.
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  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate BarryWoods's Avatar
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    Those antennas look more like 7dbi antennas.
    Failure is not an option....



    It's installed by default on every version of Windows.

  4. #4
    FLAC
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    The router I am using now is a Belkin F5D7230-4 (non removeable antenna):

    http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProdu...duct_Id=136493

    Basically the cheapest router I could find at the local walmart. But next time I go back home, I might swap with my Dlink DI-524 which has a removeable rp-sma antenna. Could not really find any power ratings on either of these routers. Before the Belkin, I had a Netgear WPN824 (then it mysteriously died) which had equally bad signal at these ranges even though it is advertised to have 7 internal antennas utilizing MIMO technology.

    My laptop is a dell inspiron 6400 with the stock internal wifi adapter. I could get 5 bars everywhere back home in 3000+ sqft, yet here on the farm (maybe 1500 sqft) I cannot even get a single bar (in my room). My room on the farm is in the basement and the router is located on the main floor separated by alot of walls. Distance from my laptop to the router is probably less than 30 meters. Maybe its because the walls are concrete.

    Budget wise, I would like to keep the cost as low as I can. I dont need the fastest connection, just some sort of reliable internet for the summer (3 more months) while I am living here will be good enough.

    Maybe I will just go and buy another router. This DLink rangebooster G claims better range, anyone have any opinions?

    http://www.dlink.com/products/?sec=0&pid=470

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate BarryWoods's Avatar
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    Part of the problem is you are below the router. The concrete walls probably donīt help much either. Bigger antennas ainīt going to help in your situation. Theyīll probably make it worse. Any chance you can run a cable down to your room?
    Failure is not an option....



    It's installed by default on every version of Windows.

  6. #6
    Newbie piglith's Avatar
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    Some of the best wifi equipment I've seen is from RadioLabs
    These are nice hi-gain antennas
    http://www.radiolabs.com/products/an....4-mobile7.php

  7. #7
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piglith View Post
    Some of the best wifi equipment I've seen is from RadioLabs
    These are nice hi-gain antennas
    http://www.radiolabs.com/products/an....4-mobile7.php
    I agree..... Im the IT Specialist in a Hotel in Coral Gables FL. The building is very old and is a historical landmark. To put internet in all the rooms, I decided to use High Power Access Points from RadioLabs..... 2 units on the first floor and 2 units on the 3rd floor. They work amazingly going in a outward direction, people in the neighboring buildings were trying to hijack our signal and I had to install a HotSpot software to get rid of them..... One thing is, the access points work in a half bubble type scenrio from the antenna, so anything under a access point will have lower signal then if it was at even level or above the router/ AP..... To get good reception on the second floor of the building, I had to install repeaters, which repeat from the units on the first floor......

    RadioLabs has alot of stuff and most of it is high quality.

    If you cannot run wire at all, then set up repeaters to get the signal down to you.....
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    FLAC
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    Well I went ahead and ordered the popular linksys wrt54g on sale at futureshop and will pick it up in a few days. I will probably upgrade the firmware to the open source DD-WRT and boost the signal power. That would make it easier for the laptop to get a signal, but I am guessing that wont increase the router's sensitivity in receiving the laptop's outgoing signal?

    I could also probably setup the wrt-54g as a wifi repeater as a last option.

  9. #9
    Newbie piglith's Avatar
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    I'm running a WRT54GL with X-WRT and I put a 7db gain antenna on it. Boosted the output to 50milliwats and increased from just inside my garage to well past and down the street. Now mind you the router is still inside the house. If I need more range I could move the antenna outside and leave the second original on. Leaving the antenna diversity turned on. This is the range with a simple Laptop and not an external antenna attached to a carputer. Although I don't need the range outside my property I have plenty of range with my carputer.

    I have done other wifi installs and with very large omni antennas on telephone pole and have a have very good range 1600ft+ with only a 50mW routers. If I need extream range with line of site yaggies are the only way to go.
    It all depends on your antennas and the application needed.

    OBTW I hope the router is a WRT54GL I'm not sure the version of the 54G right now but the newer ones may not be able to take a 3rd party firmware. The GL is left open for the for the firmware hacks

  10. #10
    FLAC
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    The one I ordered is the wrt54g-ca (ca=canadian version). Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linksys_WRT54G_series

    Not sure what chipset it is though...seems like some chipsets are not compatible with 3rd party firmware. Guess Ill just hope for the best.

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