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I came across this posting in a discusson about WiFi 'Boosters'.

> > > I recommend not to try boosters, they are all makeshift, you want a new

integrated radio and antenna. The one I use is directional and they say it has a

30 mile range, I have a permanent setup at 7.1 miles and it gets a perfect

signal at that distance.

> > >

> > > When I travel with my rv I place it on my TV antenna so I can rotate it

from inside, the antenna has a 15 degree directional window to really suck in

signals...

> > >

> > > Here is a pic of me with the antenna setup on my house beaming to my

friends trailer 7.1 miles away

> > > http://bit.ly/7milelink

> > >

> > > This is where I buy them for my clients

> > > http://www.streakwav...PS2-17D&eq=&Tp=

> > >

> > > Here is the factory brochure

> > > http://www.ubnt.com/powerstation

I've got to admit, I barely understand a word. What I'd like to know from our 'onboard' communications experts is if this could allow me to pick up a free WiFi signal without having to be parked a hundred feet from the source. I'm not so optimistic to expect 50km/30 miles, but a mile would be nice!

And while you're looking at the specs, perhaps you could compare them to the Wi-Fire!

http://www.hfield.com/

Or should I just build a 'cantenna'? Or perhaps WokFi? :rolleyes:

I'm really looking for something that's as close to Plug & Play as possible!

Thanks in advance.

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Yeah it's a patch antenna they work pretty well and have a fairly wide pattern so aiming would not be a big hassle. I think their reported range is a bit generous but it is a huge improvement over a stock laptop antenna. It is like a wireless bridge you would connect to it with a cat5 patch cable and your laptop nic card. It most likely has a wall wort of some type so a small inverter would be necessary. Your only problem with a diy antenna is how you would hook it to your laptop with out an external jack.

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Looks like a cool antenna but - 7.1 miles is feasible but allot depends on whats at the other end and whats in between. You will need some sort of wireless NIC that allows for an antenna connection. 30 miles and even 7 miles range really depends on whats at the other end. A consumer wireless system inside a building 7 miles away is probably not going to connect. It really has to be some sort of exterior type of antenna installation at the other end to achieve a 2way connection at long distances. That said it could be a great help though in areas where there is an open wifi that's close as it will help greatly in achieving a 2way connection when pointed at the access point such as in a RV park or similar situation. I have been in many RV parks where FREE WiFi is advertised but useless because of where their access point is located and or low signal strength. And I could see where something like that antenna would be helpful. It looks to me like the system is 12vdc or at least it says 12 volts which is probably DC. A bit pricey though. Another option is cell service modems. Many of the USB types have external antenna connections. I have a Verizon USB727 one that will also receive WiFi and it has an external antenna connector. And the verizon service is pay as you go, you do not have to sign up for any 1 or 2 year contract. We recently went north on a trip so I bought a month and was able to connect everywhere we went. I use a Wilson Wireless Trucker omni directional antenna with it and am very happy.

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Thanks for the insight.

I'm contemplating this as much for home use as for on the road. I don't have high speed internet available here (am on dial-up) but I know that high speed is available to homes on the other side of the small lake I live on. I was wondering if there's a chance to pick up their signal.

I also don't want to end up buying a piece of hardware that I can't figure out how to connect and configure. I don't have access to a computer geek to help me!

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If you are across a lake that is as good as it gets. It should be plug and play it will either have a RJ45 port or USB connector. Wireless unless it's cell based is not as fast as say DSL but one heck of a lot faster then dial up! If your neighbor across the lake do not have an encripted wireless you should be able to see their wireless when you check under "network connections" mind you they may not like you using their service, no hot spots on the other side? I guess you could make a deal with some one within range and pay for a DSL connection for your wireless.

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Well, one of your neighbors across the lake sounds like your best bet then. I really doubt though that if their wireless is solely indoors that you will be able to connect but you never know. How far across the lake? There is always the chance of some signal beaming through a window.. If your going to go to this extent then perhaps a wireless bridge between the two points is also an option.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I picked up a used Powerstation2 on FleaBay. It'll be a few weeks before I get my hands on it. Yes, it's an RJ45 connection with POE.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to delve into the wonderful world of wireless routers. 'G'? 'N'? All Chinese to me so far. Any recommendations? For both home and motorhome installation.

I'll report on the results if and when I ever get it all hooked up. It'd be nice to hook up to free WiFi without having to huddle 50ft from the open access point.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I picked up a used Powerstation2 on FleaBay. It'll be a few weeks before I get my hands on it. Yes, it's an RJ45 connection with POE.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to delve into the wonderful world of wireless routers. 'G'? 'N'? All Chinese to me so far. Any recommendations? For both home and motorhome installation.

I'll report on the results if and when I ever get it all hooked up. It'd be nice to hook up to free WiFi without having to huddle 50ft from the open access point.

I'm basically a "wifi" guy. In fact, I'm getting free internet from 2.5 miles away right now through a 24dbi antenna.

Let me make a GIGANTIC suggestion to you to basically cut through all the muck you'll read online.

What you want to do is get a Buffalo router. The WHR-HP-G54 model. They sell them at newegg. They are about 50 bucks, and stop the fool out of any other router out there.

Flash it with DD-WRT firmware.

Use the router itself to connect to wireless hot spots. Connect it with your computer through an ether cable and disable your computer's wifi device.

One of these with an external antenna would be able to get you half mile distances in clear lines of site. Ideally, an omni antenna, but if you knew where your source was, a parabolic would work the best. Preferably, a parabolic grid antenna. 18DBI shouldn't be too bad on a roof mount. Perhaps you could even put one on a turning device.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks, I can't say I've ever come across the Buffalo make before, but I've made a note of it. I'm not sure I'll need it, since my Ubiquiti (yet to be picked up, BTW) can be plugged directly in to my computer's network connection with a couple of Cat 5 cables and the POE.

Only after I've determined that I can pick up a signal will I be looking for a wireless router to shoot the signal around the house to the other computers. I've seen reference to the DD-WRT firmware. How 'Plug & Play' would that be for a 'non computer geek' like me?

Maybe I'll bid on this anyway. I can always add it to the pile of other stuff I've never figured out how to use!

http://cgi.ebay.com/...=item230d288a3f

I had been considering the Linksys WRT-54GL, partially because I understand that it's Linux based (whatever that is) and would allow DD-WRT to be loaded.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm basically a "wifi" guy. In fact, I'm getting free internet from 2.5 miles away right now through a 24dbi antenna.

Let me make a GIGANTIC suggestion to you to basically cut through all the muck you'll read online.

What you want to do is get a Buffalo router. The WHR-HP-G54 model. They sell them at newegg. They are about 50 bucks, and stop the fool out of any other router out there.

Flash it with DD-WRT firmware.

Use the router itself to connect to wireless hot spots. Connect it with your computer through an ether cable and disable your computer's wifi device.

One of these with an external antenna would be able to get you half mile distances in clear lines of site. Ideally, an omni antenna, but if you knew where your source was, a parabolic would work the best. Preferably, a parabolic grid antenna. 18DBI shouldn't be too bad on a roof mount. Perhaps you could even put one on a turning device.

Hope this helps.

OK I am running a Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 at home and I have an extra one I can use on the road. I have an older version firmware:// DD-WRT v24 (05/24/08) mini . It runs so well I have not wanted to upgrade the firmware for a few years as you can see.

Anyhow how do I use the DD-WRT to connect with another wifi system. I can probably figure it out on my own but please steer me in the right direction.

Also as a note, for awhile you could not buy theses great routers. I think they lost their FCC certification for awhile or something. Here is the newegg link http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=WHR-HP-G54&x=14&y=34

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Not all Linksys wireless routes are Lenix based the "L"s are and will except a flash from DD WRT. It also very tricky turning a Linksys into a client router. You have got to be careful doing a reflash or you'll end up with a nice brick with antennas. The DD WRT site has some very good information on what will and what won't work as far as routers are concerned.

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From my poking areound and the very little I know, the Linksys WRT-54G up to version 4 is Linux based. They're now up to version 8.

yep ver. 4 are fine but getting a bit long in the tooth they are great routers but pretty old now. There is some great stuff on the web just for Linksys routers very easy to set up as a bridge but tricky to use as a client. Some of their new stuff will do what you want right out of the box.

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  • 8 months later...

what good is an ET antennae if no one is sharing; even the most novice people do not broadcast their SSID anymore and most use WEP or some other form of encryption. Now here is my advice... Get an AT&T aircard or any aircard from any provider that you know has good signal where you will be (I like AT&T, I know I am demented but there is more EDGE/3g readily available than 4GLTE in my tri state area) once you have the aircard purchase and hook it up to Zoom 3GWireless and Travel router mine is a model 4506. the cool thing here is that now YOU can make money off of folks you meet in the trailer; just charge them $5-10 a piece for the SSID and off they go (it would be wise to have an unlimited data plan for $80 a month if doing this). the Zoom router will run all your toys too; phone, sirius, ipad, laptop all in one device. Air cards are cheaper than the mobile hotspots and the router accepts far more concurrent connections... whats even COOLER about the zoom 4506 than a hotspot device is that it has a 3g Booster baked into it that boosts transmit and incoming tx.

The zoom is also batttery powered and uber portable; but also comes with a power brick to charge. it will run for 3-4 hours off the grid; so no need to worry about inverters etc. I found that just having it turned on boosted my cell phone strength on my iPhone also...

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If you are within range of a cell tower you can have wifi via a mifi setup. You can find a cheap used mifi hotspot that works via 3G on Ebay such as a mifi 2200 or Five Spot AC30 and have internet wherever you have a cell signal. If your signal is poor you can add a cell signal booster.

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  • 2 years later...

In my younger days we used to make "Cantennas". Essentially we used a pringles can with the inside covered in aluminum foil. Something like:

http://revolutionof1.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/pringles-yagi-cantenna.jpg

From our houses we could pick up whataburger (3 miles away), starbucks (3 miles away), and occasionally sports authority (5 miles away). It's a fun DIY project that can't cost more than 5 dollars.

I also made some booster antennas out of cable copper wiring. Get a screw, wrap 10 or so loops around the threads, then leave two feet of excess. Cover it with McDonald's straws and you're good to go. That one worked for boosting my home wifi signal from the router, never tried on the receiving end so who knows.

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  • 6 years later...

Really happy to see all the radio knowledge here, back in 02 I was on the NYT Circuits magazine discussing the WiFi boom. I had made an RF antenna out of an aluminum dog feeder dish of about 1.5 ft radius and a slight curvature which created a focus. In addition, I had created a reflector horn out of a soup can and made a dipole with some coax.  I put it all together using a math formula having to do with the 2GHz wavelength and it worked nicely.  I used a fiberglass pole to pick it up off the ground and insured that an open path down the driveway was available.  just some thoughts, the open path is the best (as many have noted), if you have water for the groundwave propagation that is also very nice esp sea/ salt water.  A nearby chain link fence will take out the ground wave even if it is not in your line of site (LOS). Just a thought added that every halfing of height is about a 3dB drop in reception.  All things being equal, Getting as high off the groundplane is the best thing to do.  Be sure that the base is sturdy as if you have a directional antenna wind will flex and move your antenna out of its max sensitivity and the link may break.  The higher the gain of your antenna, the narrower your beam width (main beam 3dB gain point).  Another alternative is to place the RV at right angles to the base antenna thereby letting the RV act as a reflector.  The more metal in the structure the better, you can try aluminum foil or roll-able metal window screen mosquito netting.  If you have a signal strength meter software on your PC/ MAC etc you can experiment with the placement, rotation by trial and error.

 

On 911 calls, this may help anyone with cellular phone as well.  911 will get through when voice calls won't because the cell phone companies will not allow you on if there is voice call insufficent quality.  That does not hold true for 911/ the parameters for strength and quality are dropped as it is considered an emergency call.  Put the phone out at fingers and away from your head, make call on hands free device or loud speaker.  This may increase signal out to 8dB due to head losses from RF signal.  If you know where your cell tower is located you may be able to put yourself out doors and on the side of the RV / reflector which has best coverage.  You can likely hot spot your mobile as well if you can't get WI FI with a better signal if the mobile is being reflected into. 

 

If you have any questions please feel free to ask I am an RF Engineer who works on cellphone systems e.g., NEXTEL-Sprint-TMO, Verizon, AT&T and also the equipment providers Ericsson, ALU-NOKIA etc.

 

 

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