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WiFi Antenna for Reception
Thread poster: Henry Hinds

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 23, 2007

Does anyone know of a commercially available antenna that I could attach to my laptop to improve WiFi reception? There is a free community signal in my neighborhood that I use, but it is rather weak and sometimes drops off, like when I first tried to post this.

Not being a tecchie, I would much prefer something that can be easily attached, such as to a USB port.

Is there any such animal?


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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:07
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Yes there is Sep 23, 2007

Take a look here Henry
HTH
Gianni

http://www.ccrane.com/antennas/wifi-antennas/super-usb-wifi-antenna.aspx

[Edited at 2007-09-23 18:24]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Gianni Sep 23, 2007

That looks like what I need. Also, if anyone else has other suggestions, please feel free to make them!

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
I wasn't going to mention it .... Sep 23, 2007

Henry Hinds wrote:

That looks like what I need. Also, if anyone else has other suggestions, please feel free to make them!


..... as seeming to be a ham-fisted solution, but the other day I set up my laptop wifi for the other end of the flat, and there was problems picking up the signal (apparently the modem's old) and how the techie solved the problem was simply using an extension cord for the USB thingie that was pointed around the corner.


Well ... you did ask for "other suggestions":-)

[Edited at 2007-09-23 20:44]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Lia Sep 23, 2007

Any solution that would work is welcome. Now I'm having a bit of a problem understanding what the USB thingie and extension cord are. Is this something hooked to your laptop?

Would that "thingie" be the antenna I'm looking for?

Because the network is not mine, it seems to be coming from about 3 miles away as I have been able to figure, so I have no control over that. I just need an antenna that I can install on my computer so I can get better reception.


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Giuseppe C.  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:07
Member
English to Italian
Problem is with the actual antenna Sep 24, 2007

Henry Hinds wrote:

Does anyone know of a commercially available antenna that I could attach to my laptop to improve WiFi reception? There is a free community signal in my neighborhood that I use, but it is rather weak and sometimes drops off, like when I first tried to post this.

Not being a tecchie, I would much prefer something that can be easily attached, such as to a USB port.

Is there any such animal?


You will find many promises about the reception capacity of commercial antennas only "thanks to their fantastic electronic circuitry solutions". Problem is that no electronic circuitry may be able to provide any significantly best reception.
All that counts is the actual metal anntenna portion. Your signal comes from a quite long distance and the only way to draw a better signal from any antenna, which means in particular not only higher voltage signal values (which may be as easy as useless to obtain by means of electronic signal amplifiers ) but also affected by "the lowest noise as possible" at the input of your wireless modem/router/radio/TV receiver, etc.

The only way to upgrade the useful level of the signal available from the metal antenna would be: changing the antenna stem of your wireless modem with a directional antenna instead of an omnidirectional one, provided that you know from which direction radio waves are transmitted and therefore where to point that directional antenna and, best of all, installing that antenna at the highest level as possible from ground or your roof. This will actually provide you with a higher, while far less noisy, signal at the output of the actual antenna.

You should then use a cable with an attachment similar to that of your notebook modem's antenna stem at the modem's end of the cable and attached to the directional antenna (say mounted on your roof) at the other end.

Of course you also may have good results by simply detaching the antenna stem from your notebook, mounting it on your roof and connecting it to your notebook wireless modem's antenna stem attachment with an antenna cable and adeguate plugs at both cable ends.

Of course this would mean manipulating the antenna stem of your notebook and finding plugs that fit your antenna stem attachments to be mounted on both the cable ends.

I hope that may be of help. This is just antenna radio theory and practice, but maybe will at least prevent you from buying useless antenna sets whose specifications are just the promise of a "higher signal gain/level by fabulous and innovative electronic circuitry" without taking into account that a high noise level (due to the electronic circuitry) on the voltage signal may make any strong signal undecodable by your modem/router, i.e. useless or poorer than before.


[Edited at 2007-09-24 03:30]


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Doiku Takeda
Japan
Local time: 02:07
Japanese to English
+ ...
WiFi Antenna for Reception Sep 24, 2007

What Lia above was probably talking about was using a WiFi (wireless) USB adapter, or dongle. And instead of directly plugging the USB adapter/dongle into the PC or laptop USB port, purchase a USB extension cable (probably several meters long) and plug one end of it into the PC USB port and then plug the wireless USB adapter into the other end of the USB extension cable. This would allow you to place the dongle closer to an outside window or in some other place in your room where wireless reception is stronger. Of course, purchasing and using a wireless USB dongle means having to install it and then setting up your wireless network with the dongle as the wireless LAN adapter. Incidentally, the super USB WiFi antenna mentioned earlier in this thread also requires installing a WiFi USB adapter.

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
compact wireless USB adapter Sep 24, 2007

Henry Hinds wrote:

Any solution that would work is welcome. Now I'm having a bit of a problem understanding what the USB thingie and extension cord are. Is this something hooked to your laptop?

Would that "thingie" be the antenna I'm looking for?

Because the network is not mine, it seems to be coming from about 3 miles away as I have been able to figure, so I have no control over that. I just need an antenna that I can install on my computer so I can get better reception.



This thingie isn't an antenna, it's called a compact wireless USB adapter and looks like a pen drive, only larger.

I plug it into a USB port so as to pick up the signal from my modem about 50 metres away. However, as I explained, there was a problem with picking up the signal, partly because the laptop is on a table behind a corner, so the techie plugged the adaptor into a cord extension that he then plugged into the laptop, and he placed the other end around the corner, pointing more directly at the modem.

See this page: http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2&childpagename=US/Layout&cid=1134691790190&pagename=Linksys/Common/VisitorWrapper&lid=9019062965B07





[Edited at 2007-09-24 10:07]


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 19:07
English to Swedish
+ ...
An USB WiFi dongle is still an antenna + a network card Sep 25, 2007

Lia Fail wrote:

This thingie isn't an antenna, it's called a compact wireless USB adapter and looks like a pen drive, only larger.


Quote from wikipedia:
"Most PC card and USB wireless only have internal antennas etched on their printed circuit board"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WiFi#Standard_devices

You can call it thingie, adapter, dongle or pink elefant. It'a still an antenna with a network card, a basic all-in-one solution.

Sure, you can improve the reception by just adding an USB extension cord, and place the USB device at an optimal location. But if that is not enough, you'd have to upgrade the antenna and get something stronger, like Giuseppe suggested.

Here's a few examples what you can get at the top of the range:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120162785028
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150162599653
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120164663128

/Jan


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Toddly
English
You may not need to buy anything, try this: Mar 30, 2008

If you are clear that you are using a PC card (USB adapter) with a built-in antenna, this might work for you:

Our router is on the third floor on the west side of the house. Me and my laptop are in the basement on the east side of the house. Usually, my signal strength hovers between 30 and 37 percent. So I keep a box of altoids on the coffee table. When I place this box next to the PC card, almost under it, my signal strength goes to between 50 and 55 percent. See if that helps!

Good luck,
Todd


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