How to increase signal at free wifi hot spots - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-09-04, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
 
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How to increase signal at free wifi hot spots

Would a USB antenna pull in a wifi signal better then what's built into the regular laptop.
And is there something similar or an option if I'm on a iPad, etc..

OR is there another method to help.....ie: sitting in the car in front of Tim's rather then surfing in the store.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-09-05, 11:39 AM
 
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Walk into the store and sit underneath the access point.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-09-05, 07:04 PM
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Aside from going in the store, if you get one of those USB wifi dongles with a mounted antenna, by changing the antenna for a bigger one, you will get better reception.

However, if the signal barely goes out of the store to begin with, it won't really matter what you use.

And one more thing. If there is a store called ABC and another called DEF and they both offer wifi on the same channel, both of them are fighting for your device to pick up. In the end, you all lose. I would check with a wifi analyzer to see if there are other routers working on the same frequency in the area.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-09-05, 09:54 PM
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Vehicles attenuate signals significantly. That's why radio antennas are mounted outside the vehicle. On way to increase signal strength would be to use a Wi-Fi antenna mounted outside the vehicle. Use a USB dongle with an external antenna connection and an antenna with a coax extension for remote placement. If you really want to get a good signal, use a directional external antenna such as a yagi, parabolic or wave guide (aka tin can) antenna. I've heard of tin can antennas working up to several miles.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-09-05, 10:48 PM
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As mentioned, a USB dongle with an external Yagi or other directional antenna is your best option.

Businesses that offer WiFi often configure their networks to prevent or lessen outdoor use. Mostly so you'll come in and spend money....or appear on camera if you're involved in some sort of illegal online activity.

Google "Pringle can Wifi antenna" if you're interested in building your own directional antenna. A directional antenna is key, as the Wifi bands are crowded. Especially 2.4GHz, which is also home to Bluetooth, cordless phones, and tons of Wifi traffic...

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-09-05, 11:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jase88 View Post
Businesses that offer WiFi often configure their networks to prevent or lessen outdoor use.
And they are getting really good at that...
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-09-06, 11:56 AM
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It's not difficult. Special paint and window coatings can block WiFi signals. New or renovated buildings can have shielding installed in the walls and ceilings. Directional, high gain antennas should be able to compensate though.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-09-07, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Can anyone make any suggestions on a brand or what specs to look for? I see there are dozens but the price range is all over.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-09-08, 11:35 AM
 
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I'd look for a USB WiFi adapter with an SMA antenna connector.
And add an external (magnet) antenna (with an SMA end cable) to attach to the roof of the car when needed.

Can probably get both for ~$15 on ebay...
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 2014-09-08, 05:16 PM
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If you don't mind the waiting period, dx.com has many N USB adapters which has a SMA connector. Both for less than $10. That includes the free shipping!

Home Theatre: Yamaha HTR-6190, Klipsch Speakers, SANYO PLV-Z4, TOSHIBA HDDVD, LG BD555C, Cerwin Vega HTS12 Sub, VIP2300, XBox 360, HTPC.
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