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Does swapping antennas on wifi routers really help with signal range?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by St!nkf!nger, Aug 14, 2008.

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  1. St!nkf!nger

    St!nkf!nger Thread Starter

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    So here's my situation. The wife and I got these [email protected] phones from T-mobile which lets you use your wifi connection to make phone calls. We think this option might finally let us get rid of our land line.

    Anywho, my wifi router is in the basement and initially the phones signal reception was spotty. So I decided to move the router to the living room just to see if it works any better. It does work better, but there are still a few weak/dead spots in the house (not a huge house mind you, but it is old and has plaster walls and the like).

    Tonight while I was at Circuit City I spied a wifi antenna that was probably around a foot tall that claims to dramatically boost your wifi signal. I'm considering picking it up, but am leery as to how well these things work. Does anyone use anything like this? How noticeable is the difference?

    In the best case scenario I'd like to move everything back to the basement and have this new antenna doing what it claims it does so I can keep the living room clutter free.

    I've also considered buying a new Linksys WRT54G wireless router and flashing it with the homebrew firmware which apparently greatly boosts the signal strength. Could I do this and have it fit my best case scenario?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. attman

    attman

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    I flashed my firmware (differnt router) and it helped immensely
     
  3. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Hawking Tech has a number of products that will help you increase your wireless range. The root page is Hawking Hi-Gain™ WiFi Range Extending Products.

    Some of the more interesting products are this Hawking [HSB2] Hi-Gain WiFi Signal Booster, which can be used on either end of a wireless connection to boost the signal power.

    Another way to increase your signal strength is by the use of hi-gain antennas. You can choose from omni-directional or directional models, here are a some examples.

    Hawking [HAI7SIP] Hi-Gain 7dBi Omni-Directional Antenna

    Hawking [HAI15SC] Hi-Gain 15dBi Corner Antenna

    [HAO14SD] Outdoor Hi-Gain 14dBi Directional Antenna Kit


    This is just a sample of available products, many people have hi-gain antennas with similar specifications, but I haven't seen any other suppliers of signal boosters.
     
  4. St!nkf!nger

    St!nkf!nger Thread Starter

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    @attman

    So which router exactly did you flash?
     
  5. attman

    attman

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    I have a WRT54G V2 with Sveasoft firmware.

    Version is important - if I remember you cant flash a V5 and above. You need to be sure before you buy the router.
     
  6. NetReign

    NetReign

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    Remember the old radio days? The higher the radio tower the furthur the signal will go??? The same applies here, my experience has been no matter what I try the signal isnt going to ho UP ^^^ (as in above the basement). Routers are designed to feed outward<<<<>>>>. You could try the antenna but I think you might be dissapointed. Hope this helps a bit..
     
  7. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Actually, while the previous statement has a grain of truth, it is quite possible to increase the signal strength and favorably affect the range with add-on antennas and signal boosters. :)

    You can also put the antenna on a 45 degree angle to change the propagation pattern if that helps... :)
     
  8. St!nkf!nger

    St!nkf!nger Thread Starter

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    I broke down and bought the Belkin antenna and it seems to give no better reception than the stock antenna.

    The WRT54G is the model I was looking at, but if I need v5 or below how do I find such things. I can't imagine they're still available on the shelves, and eBay vendors seem to be hit or miss in regards to what they know about their product. Any suggestions on where I might find one?
     
  9. Courtneyc

    Courtneyc

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  10. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    I've used hi-gain antennas for years, and they have made a significant difference here.
     
  11. NetReign

    NetReign

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    I stand corrected, every time I try to use an antenna, I miserably fail. The ONLY thing I can say that worked at all is a homemade "cantenna" with a pringles can. I could "borrow" signal from the local coffee shop up the street. Those are really cool. I am impressed with the setup in the basement however, maybe the indian burial ground that I might have built over is causing my problem....LOL
     
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