Do wifi booster range extender antennaes really work?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by zopzop, Mar 26, 2009.

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  1. zopzop
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    zopzop Registered Member

    See for example this link. I'm about to buy 2 of them.

    Does anyone have any experience with these things or similar items, and do they work?
  2. Searching_ _ _
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    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

  3. bgoodman4
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    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    I have read that you can in effect boost your signal by focusing it. Simply build a dish out of tin foil so it reflects the signal in they direction you want it to. I will do a search to see if I can find detailed instructions on the web and if I do I will add it to this post.

    EDIT: Found it. The instructions at this link are a bit dif from what I had seen previously but I expect you will get the idea and be able to either build as shown or modify as you see fit.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Uni-Directional-WIFI-Range-Extender/

    PS

    Found another one which is more in line with what I had seen previously.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Wi-Fi-Extender/

    I hope this helps
  4. Searching_ _ _
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    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

  5. zopzop
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    zopzop Registered Member

  6. bgoodman4
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    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    If you read the comments attached to the instructions you will find that most found it worked (all but 2) and it is really important that the dishes be properly aligned. It sounds like its a bit of trial and error.
  7. Searching_ _ _
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    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

    From post #4 link.
    http://martybugs.net/wireless/antennacomp.cgi

    There is an antenna made out of coax cable and some from downspouts.
    Also test info on the different designs.

    My cousin replaced his factory antenna with one much like what you are looking into.
    The antenna also came with an antenna cable for an additional 24".
    He ended up with worse reception than than the factory one.

    This antenna, are you planning to connect it to the router or the wifi card at PC?

    Is the router centrally located or at one end of the building?

    How much distance are you looking to achieve over current distance?

    For $5.4 bucks + shipping, may as well give it a try. You might spend more than that in any of the links listed to build your own.
  8. zopzop
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    zopzop Registered Member

    I think I've given up on the home made antenna options for now :)

    So they don't work? :(

    The antenna is for my router (***I'll explain more later). The router is located in my room almost exactly in the middle of the house (on the second floor). I don't need that much coverage, I just want it to reach the family room on the first floor (and that's what's giving me the problem).

    I've spent almost $500USD on various routers and nothing seems to be working. Belkin, Netgear, TP Link, Linksys. Nada! My most recent router the TP LINK which boasts 800ft+ range in tests from China doesn't give me a signal in the family room.

    The closest I've gotten is my current router the DLINK 615verB. I get a signal ALL over the house (even in the basement!) and in that damn family room that's giving me so much problems. I get 1 to 2 bars at 36mpbs which is good enough for my needs.

    My problem is the damn router (the DLINK 615verB and even the verA of it, never tested the verC) is buggy as hell and likes to drop signals sometimes! This obviously sucks when playing online games on my xbox360.

    The reason I wanted to know if the range boosting antennas worked, is because I wanted to buy one for my most recent router the TP Link 642G. The reason I love this router is because it's stable (no dropped internet connections yet), it doesn't overheat, and the security options are stupendous. The only thing is it can't reach my living room with a signal.

    I don't know what to do.
  9. Searching_ _ _
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    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

    Then you may want to try finding a way to change the power level on both the router and the wifi card.

    http://www.connect802.com/client_cards.htm

    Sometimes they can both be tweaked up to 300mW or more.
    Typically they come with low output power. 28mW is not uncommon.

    http://www.eham.net/forums/Elmers/213710

    $5.4 +s&h is only 2% of what you already invested. :D
  10. bgoodman4
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    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Sounds like the room you are trying to access has some sort of interference issue. It sure does not sound like its the current setup if you are able to connect everywhere else in the house. Any chance you can run a cable to the family room. Drill a hole in the wall to reach the outside, run the cable outside to the room where you want it to go and drill a hole in. This may sound extreme but its basically the same thing that happens when you set up the cables for cable TV, so not a big deal if you think about it. Of course you can try boosting the signal output of the routers but....... Just a thought.

    I hope this helps.
  11. FirePost
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    FirePost Registered Member

    Hello zopzop,

    I doubt a range extender alone will help. From what I recall, the problem is that the router signal radiates horizontal from the antenna and the vertical lobes of the field are much weaker.

    What you might try since you built the reflector already is place it back on the router and place something under the back of the router to tilt the reshaped signal downward a little.

    I had a similar problem and used the Ez-12 reflector design on my router.

    I used the field diagram to visualize the signal and since my router has a swivel allowing the antenna to tilt, I aimed it in the general direction, tilted the antenna a bit and have had zero problems since.
  12. zopzop
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    zopzop Registered Member

    @bgoodman4

    Yeah there is something up with that room. I'm really not looking forward to drilling another hole in the house :D

    @FirePost
    The thing is my Dlink 615 router does provide a signal (a pretty decent one at that 1-2 bars and 24-48mpbs). The problem is that the Dlink 615 line is sorta unstable and drops the signal from time to time. Basically I'm trying to find something with the range of my Dlink 615 and the stability of my TP-Link TL-WR642G.

    Oh well I'm gonna try your suggestion about elevating my router and putting those windsurfer "dishes" on it again.

    PS : any one try this hack on their router and did you see an improvement in range?

    http://www.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv3/index.php

    Supposedly this is a custom firmware that allows you to change (among other things) the transmit power of your router. Seems to work well with the Linksys WRT54 series routers (the WRT54L is recommended). Looks like I'm gonna have to spend another $60USD and try this out. Life sucks :(
  13. bgoodman4
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    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Re LIFE SUCKS --- may this be the biggest and most serious problem you ever encounter :)
  14. Eliot
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    Eliot Registered Member

  15. zopzop
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    zopzop Registered Member

    @Eliot

    But does it work? Has anyone tried range extenders? I really don't want to shell out another $100USD and be stuck with something that doesn't work again.
  16. bgoodman4
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    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    If you pick up a device from a company like Best Buy and you find it does not work to your satisfaction you can simply return it within the defined time frame. You may pay a bit more for the device than you would on-line but the peace of mind knowing it can be returned might make that a reasonable thing to do. That being said I would imagine that in most cases the devices do work or you would think they would not be offered for sale. We are not talking about fly-by-night manufacturers here. Belkin and Lynksys are reputable companies producing reasonably reliable products. On the other hand I just may be naive.
  17. Eliot
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    Eliot Registered Member

    I do hardwood floors for a living. I just sanded a floor for these folks in the country that has a DLink extender similar to that one. I asked about and she told me she uses the internet from their shop down the road using it. It is a long arse way to that shop from the window she had it in. Guessing around 50 yards or more.

    If it works from that distance for her, you could put it anywhere in or near that room you have trouble with and probably solve the problem.

    And lastly, if you have another router there handy, check the settings. Most of them can be set to be an Access Point. Save the $$
  18. sded
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    sded Registered Member

    Problem with using the high gain antennas like you show is that the vertical beamwidth is only 20 deg or so, and that usually moves the first floor stuff out of your beam. You can tilt the antennas, and there are directional antennas and corner reflectors that can focus things differently, but that will lose you reception in the rest of your house. One practical thing to do is use is a router like the Linksys WRT45GL with 3rd party software like Tomato that will boost the power to 200mw or so, and use the small antenna, and get a wifi USB card like a EnGenius EUB362EXT that also puts out 200mw, then use an active USB cable to move the USB card to a good point in the problem room (or to an upstairs window even) for good signal strength. Active USB cables can go up to 80ft, if you believe the specs, so depending on your house an out-the-window up-the-wall in-the-window installation is even possible. :)
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
  19. Meriadoc
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    Meriadoc Registered Member

    Zopzop have you seen homeplugs?..(networking over existing power supply) mine also come with aerials so I have the option of either ethernet, usb, wifi, slightly more expensive but I can get out to anywhere not just the home but outbuildings on the same supply then I can wonder off because of the inbuilt wifi also.

    I started with devolos but just bought some Netgears -

    turns any power outlet into a connection, just plug the other one into your router and near socket
    200 Mbps wired speed (for HD)
    connect to anything - PCs, Mac, linux, xbox, NAS, print server, entertainment etc...
    Netgear's were straight plug and play but I had to set up AES encryption on the devolos both handle WPA2.

    btw have you tried changing channel on your router.
  20. zopzop
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    zopzop Registered Member

    @sded
    I went ahead and ordered those extender atennas (2 @ 10dbi) costing me a total of $10USD. I'll let you guys know if they worked. If they don't I'm only out about 10 dollars.

    @Eliot
    That sounds sorta confusing to setup (the whole router to AP thingie). I'm a simple man :D

    @Meriadoc
    This is the first time I'm hearing of them. I googled homeplugs and the technology sounds interesting (assuming it works as advertised).

    If the extender antennas fail, I'll try the homeplugs, then the linksys router with tomato/dd-wrt custom firmware to boost the signal. If none of these work, I'm just gonna give up.
  21. Meriadoc
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    Meriadoc Registered Member

    As long as you choose the right ones for the job you want them to do and are on the same supply they will work. A lot of companies are making them now and I can personally recommend Devolo, ZyXEL and Netgear.

    Netgear have some with multiple ethernet outlets.
    Devolo have some with usb, ethernet and wifi all on one plug which was my original purchase. Personally I'd spend a little extra and have more options to grow.

    All the one's I have also come with QoS. Streaming, gaming, transferring files and VoIP work very well. The only one problem I ever had was watching a movie from the family's NAS but that seemed to be more a problem with Windows media player - the problem went away using VLC player.

    What I wanted to do in the first place, which was extend to anywhere on the property ended up costing a small fraction of doing it in other ways and I got more out of it using 'homeplugs.'
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
  22. Eliot
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    Eliot Registered Member

    That is actually quite simple really. Just take notes off your main router, turn that second into the AP and match the settings. I know if those motor shop owners can do this, anyone on Wilders should be just fine, lol.
  23. Searching_ _ _
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    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
  24. Eliot
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    Eliot Registered Member

    Had no idea. I just knew it would provide access, lol. Thanks for the info. :D
  25. sded
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    sded Registered Member

    A Wireless Access Point (WAP) provides ethernet-over-radio access to a router in most applications-a wireless ethernet switch. It takes care of things like encryption (WEP/WPA/ open) and wireless connections, but NAT and SPI are still handled by the router so that a LAN can be established and interfaced with the internet. The router also handles DHCP services to provide IP addresses on the LAN to users who connect ether wired or wirelessly. An undesirable side effect of using a router as a WAP is double NAT if you can't turn it off, which causes problems with some applications. Usually you can just take a wireless router, turn off DHCP, give it a fixed IP on the LAN and plug it into a router LAN port as a WAP and not have problems. A wireless router just combines the functions of a router and a wireless access point.
    So as suggested above, if you can figure out how to run a cable, you can connect a WAP (or modified router) downstairs to the wireless router upstairs via an ethernet cable and just use it. Where you get into wireless bridges is if you have to do this wirelessly instead of running a cable.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
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