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 Post subject: laptop WiFi antenna booster?
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:08 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:36 am
Posts: 208
I think I'd like to improve reception for my laptop's WiFi. But I'm not sure I want to wire inside the laptop. And the problem is indoors, through maybe a wall or two and maybe a floor to a public access point, so line-of-sight cures won't help.

Sometimes, I have a reception problem that's solved by standing up and waving my laptop in the air. What takes 15 minutes with normal reception takes about an hour this way, and I can't type on a tower while holding my laptop like it's a bird feeder. I assume antennas usually have to be vertical and assume the laptop has an internal antenna (which I'd be supplementing), and that the internal antenna works best for reception if the laptop's body is parallel to Earth (so to speak) and/or if the LCD lid is perpendicular, i.e., vertical, with the actual location of the antenna probably depending on the laptop's brand and model.

KWiFi Manager (Linux) software reports low signal strength and low connection speed (1-2 Mb/s) in some places.

Are they not worth the money? There seem to be very few on sale, which makes me suspicious. I'm not desperate, which means I'm price-sensitive, but I might rig up Asian cookware and duct tape, which has been discussed online (e.g., http://www.usbwifi.orconhosting.net.nz as accessed 9-7-08), if I think it'll work reasonably, but it tends to look like it's for outdoors only. Your opinion?

Thanks.

--
Nick


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 Post subject: Re: laptop WiFi antenna booster?
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:17 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:59 am
Posts: 429
I've also heard people have good results with the cantenna:

http://www.turnpoint.net/wireless/cantennahowto.html

Mike.


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 Post subject: Re: laptop WiFi antenna booster?
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 5734
Your best bet in extending range and performance of a wireless network is to either change the router's location (i.e. move it closer) or to increase the power and antenna gain at the router. RadioLabs has an extensive array of products for this purpose: http://www.radiolabs.com

For your existing router or access point you can add an amplifier/antenna combination which would replace the existing antenna(s) with a combination signal amplifier and antenna:


You could also replace your existing laptop wireless card with a high powered external USB attached card like this:


That seems to be closest to what you are asking for, but I still recommend increasing the signal strength at the router/access point end first, as that will benefit all of your wireless devices and connections.

Finally, they have a number of directional and otherwise high-gain antennas that can be used at either end in order to increase signal strength:


Let me know what solution you choose and how well it works out. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: laptop WiFi antenna booster?
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:36 am
Posts: 208
Probably not long after the last post above, I got a Radio Labs O2Boost Directional USB Wifi Antenna (internally apparently a Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8187 Wireless Adapter), and it was a few years ago (and I don't think I still have it), so the model may be different or unavailable new now (see http://www.radiolabs.com/products/wirel ... ntenna.php ). The product itself did not have a brand on it, so it may be sold under various brands. It was a complete NIC and not just something (like an antenna booster) for an NIC, so there was apparently no FCC problem under the rules of back then (I'm not a lawyer). The product's base is magnetic, so it should be kept away from magnetic media such as floppies and tapes; and it has mounting holes for vertical mounting. It swings up or down to about 45 degrees. Ultimately, I never succeeded with this product, and I gave up trying, even with a then-new Lenovo ThinkPad laptop with internal WiFi and preloaded Windows 7. Win 7 did not have a driver for it, and the product's small-diameter CD (about 3" across, a problematic size if the CD tray lacks a center grabber) refused to install into Win 7. It didn't work with Linux, either, which was probably Knoppix 4 and possibly Porteus 1.1, both live (Fedora 10 recognized it but I think couldn't use it.) The product came with a driver but it had to be compiled in, which I'd have to learn how to do, and specifics of how to compile were not clear to me as a neophyte, although emailing helped in part for Linux compatibility, if one could cope with the English on the CD being a translation from another language; see also http://realtek-rtl8187-wireless-lan-dri ... ormer.com/ for a driver. For cantennas generally, see http://www.cantenna.com/ and http://www.cantenna.com/laptop.html on use wth laptops; see also, on low-cost approaches, http://www.usbwifi.orconhosting.net.nz/ , http://www.instructables.com/id/%22Poor ... ware-refl/ , and http://www.turnpoint.net/wireless/cantennahowto.html .


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