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Long range WiFi antenna for free wifi

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Long range WiFi antenna for free wifi

Postby Shorty » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:20 pm

I pay for Charter wifi internet at home but live about 1,500 ft from a Madison city library with free wifi. Recently, I learned there are WiFi antennas for sale for $30 to $100 or more that supposedly allow a PC to receive WiFi signals from up to 1,000 ft away, and some claim up to 1 or 2 miles away. Some are USB devices which you just plug into a usb port on your desktop or laptop. I have a Win XP desktop and a Win 7 laptop with usb ports.

I am wondering if any of these would really allow me to receive the library wifi at home so I could stop paying for Charter wifi. I am skeptical because most of these are brand names I never heard of, and if these long range antennas did really work beyond 1,000 ft, I would think so many people would want one they would be popular and well known products. From reading about it, it seems like the longest range ones for 1 or 2 miles only work when there is also a booster at the wifi source to amplify the signal, or you need two antennas at both ends. Do any of you have a long range antenna or know much about them?

Here is a list of potential products I found. Their strength seems to be measured in mW and dBi with the higher numbers allowing for a longer range:

$36 Alfa 1000mW W 802.11g/n 9dBi Antenna. Doesn't say distance it works.
http://www.amazon.com/802-11g-Wireless- ... 044&sr=1-9

$50 Hawking Wireless N USB Network Adapter, 3dBi upgradeable antenna
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hawking-Techn ... r/12457364

$60 hField Wi-Fire 500mW High-Gain 802.11b/g USB WiFi Adapter, 27dBm, range up to 1,000 ft
http://www.hfield.com/news-events/next- ... ore-power/

http://www.amazon.com/Wi-Fire-High-Gain ... -1-catcorr

$90 Hawking HiGain Directional Antenna, indoor/outdoor, 14dBi HAO14SDP. When paired with another Hi-Gain 14dBi antenna, you may extend your distance by up to 1.5 miles. Requires SMA jack on router which mine doesn't have.
http://www.amazon.com/Hawking-Direction ... pd_sim_e_5
Last edited by Shorty on Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Long range WiFI antenna for free wifi

Postby Crockett » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:58 pm

"Do any of you have a long range antenna or know much about them?"

I have one and it works. Its nothing fancy and I bought it on Amazon.
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Re: Long range WiFI antenna for free wifi

Postby Pogoagogo » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:04 pm

I suggest doing this:

http://binarywolf.com/249/pringles_cantenna.htm

I originally made the pringles cantennae a few years ago. I've determined that the Coffee Cantennae works a bit better for my application.
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Re: Long range WiFI antenna for free wifi

Postby Shorty » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:19 pm

I have heard about cantennas and home made antennas. I will study your link.

Crockett wrote:I have one and it works. Its nothing fancy and I bought it on Amazon.

Which one do you have and how much range does it give?
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Re: Long range WiFI antenna for free wifi

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:17 pm

There are a few things you may want to consider before you ditch Charter. Is the library's wireless network operational at all hours regardless of the branch's hours? If so, what happens when the library's router goes down after hours when no one is around to care? Is that going to be a pain in your ass? And so on ...
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Re: Long range WiFI antenna for free wifi

Postby Shorty » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:03 pm

I won't get rid of Charter until I'm sure the library would meet my needs. So far I don't even have an antenna to try it. But the library is open 10am-9pm weekdays and 10am-5pm Sat which would be good enough for me.
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Re: Long range WiFI antenna for free wifi

Postby Crockett » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:08 am

I have the Alfa Wireless-N 500mW 802.11n high power Wireless USB adapter With Antenna and Mount *Strongest on the Market* from Amazon.
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Re: Long range WiFI antenna for free wifi

Postby snoqueen » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:00 pm

Most of the libraries turn off their wifi when they close. I found out because I have tried to pick it up from inside my car in the parking lot, and it doesn't show up unless the library is open.
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Re: Long range WiFI antenna for free wifi

Postby donges » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:08 pm

Shorty wrote:I won't get rid of Charter until I'm sure the library would meet my needs. So far I don't even have an antenna to try it. But the library is open 10am-9pm weekdays and 10am-5pm Sat which would be good enough for me.


All the good porn doesn't come on until after 10.
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Re: Long range WiFI antenna for free wifi

Postby Shorty » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:55 pm

Crockett wrote:I have the Alfa Wireless-N 500mW 802.11n high power Wireless USB adapter With Antenna and Mount *Strongest on the Market* from Amazon.

What range distance does it give you? Can you upload and download? I posted this topic on another forum and they said an antenna will receive only. A long range device is needed at both ends to upload and download. Or I would need an antenna and a booster at my end.

It seems like the Madison libraries should install a booster for their WiFi. Why not provide internet to as many citizens as possible?
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Re: Long range WiFI antenna for free wifi

Postby CoffeeJones » Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:16 pm

Shorty wrote:It seems like the Madison libraries should install a booster for their WiFi. Why not provide internet to as many citizens as possible?


Because every user on their network uses bandwidth, and bandwidth costs money.
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Re: Long range WiFi antenna for free wifi

Postby Shorty » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:47 pm

Good point. However, a couple years ago the city of Madison tried to install a WiFi internet network for the public to use, I think for free or low cost. It was canceled because the company doing the installation said there were too many mature trees for good reception outside the central Madison area.

If the city wanted to provide us with a WiFi network then, it seems like bandwidth and its cost was not a problem. So why wouldn't they want to install WiFi boosters and antennas in the city libraries now for the public to use outside the libraries? Let's say each booster & antenna setup had a range of 1 or 2 miles. There are a lot of people who live within 1 or 2 miles of a library would like free or cheap WiFi in their home, including me.
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Re: Long range WiFi antenna for free wifi

Postby Doctress Julia » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm

Parabolic antenna made out of a Pringles or soup can.

Or...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Wifi-Si ... ner-WokFi/
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Re: Long range WiFi antenna for free wifi

Postby Shorty » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:48 pm

Pringles can or cooking strainer. I will try those home-made devices.

First, I decided to try some of those store-bought adapters in my list above to see if they worked, so ordered the first one from Amazon: $36 Alfa 1000mW W 802.11g/n 9dBi Antenna. I installed the software and plugged in the USB adapter and antenna but could not connect to my router or any internet connection. I clicked the icon for it in my tray and it said "wireless LAN card not exist". It did display the wifi connections it detected but they were no more than my regular wifi adapter gets. It did not pick up long distance wifi 1,000 ft away so I returned it for a refund.

Next, from Walmart I got the $50 Hawking Wireless N USB Network Adapter. I installed the software and plugged in the USB adapter and antenna and got the same results: could not connect to my router or any internet connection. I clicked the icon for it in my tray and it said "wireless LAN card not exist". Both these adapters must be made by the same company. Taking it back for a refund.

So far, it looks like these wifi antennas don't work. I may try one more later when I have the energy, the $60 hField Wi-Fire.
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