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  1. #1
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    WiFi antenna question

    Hi all, We live in a small RV community with free WiFi at the clubhouse which is approximately 300' line of sight away. We use a Verizon wireless devise for our two PCs, one is an Apple MacBook and mine is a HP Pavilion running Win 7. Our wireless plan with Verizon is 5GB per month with a $10 per GB overage charge. This month with normal surfing (no streaming or downloading movies etc) we used 10 GB which will cost us $100. When I want to download something big or watch a TV program etc I walk over to the clubhouse. I want to know if there is an antenna that would pull in the clubhouse WiFi signal? I've read about antennas you can buy and some that you can build with a tin can and a few "radioshack" parts. We, in the past have purchased antennas, one was a Hawking product that never seemed to do the job when we traveled around (we are fulltime RVers) and parked at RV parks where WiFi was offered but was spotty for whatever reasons. From you folks' knowledge, is it possible to buy or build an antenna that would allow us to use the free WiFi here and save us what looks like over $1K a year that we will be paying to Verizon. We will keep Verizon to use when we travel but here, where we spend 4-5 months a year it would be great to use the community WiFi at home, with out walking over to the clubhouse. My PC, of course, has and internal WiFi (Intel (R) WiFi Link 5100 AGN) so any antenna would, I guess, have to be plugged in (USB) as you can tell I am a "newbie" at this stuff. I am open to any and all suggestions and thank beforehand, any folks who may have suggestions. Thanks.....Stan

  2. #2
    3 Star Lounger jockmullin's Avatar
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    I'm thinking the easiest way to do this would be to get a separate usb wireless adapter, turn off the radio or disable the built-in wireless in your machine and plug one of those into a usb port to use instead. You can get them with little antennas attached, and places like Tiger Direct have them for under $30 claiming 300 meter range or more.

    Happy RVing!

    Jock

  3. #3
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Stan,

    Check out my previous post here.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    Quote Originally Posted by rubinontheroad View Post
    Hi all, We live in a small RV community with free WiFi at the clubhouse which is approximately 300' line of sight away. We use a Verizon wireless devise for our two PCs any folks who may have suggestions.
    Stan,
    Hello...I also use Verizon Broadband and am using a USB 760 with an indoor antenna, plugged into the side of the modem.I "hover" the mouse over the "Bars" (signal strength indicator) and can adjust for the best signal (so far -70dbm) . I don't think that the "club house" signal would go 300' even if you had external antenna... I would try to take your laptop with modem and walk over to the club house with it, and see what the signal strength is as you walk away. If it's marginal by the time you get back to your home (outside) don't think the antenna would do much good.. They do have "Amplified " outdoor antennas just check on the Verizon web site ... some are over 100 $$... My signal strength varies with the time of day and the time of year as well (live in fringe signal area ) hence the antenna...without it and being able to "aim" it... i get "Zippo" Regards Fred

    PS: One other thing ...How do you plan on keeping the signal from Verizon from "swamping out" the weaker signal from the "club house"?
    Last edited by Just Plain Fred; 2011-10-05 at 17:09.
    PlainFred

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  5. #5
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Gee Fred, I always thought you were on the fringe and now you confirm it!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  6. #6
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    To all thanks for quick suggestions.

    "Just Plain" if I get a "useable signal from "clubhouse" with some other antenna, I would just turn the Verizon wireless devise off.

    Retired Geek, Regarding the Jeffa Tech Router/Repeater {Modified Linksys WRT54GL}, a high gain antenna. Must the hi gain antenna be paired with the router/repeater, if so, this is getting techie quickly and after getting this new hardware and setting it up I may be in the same boat, more study necessary, but thanks anyway.

    Jock, I guess I have to go back to antenna school and do some research to see if one of those $30 plug in would work, I have not had much luck with them in the past, thanks for the input, I need all the help I can get

    Stan

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    Must the hi gain antenna be paired with the router/repeater
    Not necessarily but maybe, remember you also have to send a strong signal back to complete the circuit so to speak, depends on what you have to hang/place a repeater in/on between you and the source and how much you can focus the signal in a bi-polar plane rather than have it just scatter 360 in all directions.
    Maybe you could buy the clubhouse a maximum broadcast N-router to use as another access point and set in the window nearest you and focus it in your direction as well...still a long way to go but might reach. Repeaters are best if you have a place and power for them.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Stan,

    I got the whole rig, with the exception of the painter's pole, from Jefa-tech so I assume they matched things up as I don't have a clue about antennas.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  9. #9
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    Thanks again RG I'l call and talk to Jetta and see what they say......

    Infinacore,, I'll check out that super router/repeater you mentioned..

    Thanks to all....Stan

  10. #10
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    Well, it would be business class, costs more but works better/more consistently.

  11. #11
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Have you Googled, WiFi antennas?

    I have and there are hundreds of places offering them, in all sizes and shapes.

    For a laptop, with built in Wireless LAN, you need to buy a USB LAN adapter, with a removable antenna.

    This is one attempt of my own to make a directional reflector for a 7db gain antenna.


    Here is my little Acer Aspire ONE Netbook with a Wireless N, USB adapter and a 7db Gain antenna attached
    to it. Three hundred feet from a decent type N router, is no problem at all.

    I use a similar USB adapter and antenna at my neighbor's house about 300' away, so they can connect to
    my Intellinet Wireless N router.


    For $44 you can get a professionally made Yagi antenna in a clear plastic tube, for about 14.3db gain.
    http://www.simplewifi.com/clear-cant...i-antenna.html

    Ok, the rest is up to you.

    Cheers Mate!
    Last edited by DrWho; 2011-10-09 at 21:59.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

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  12. #12
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    Thank you Dr Who, I've got a lot of options and studying to do from all the great help I've received so far, thanks again.....Stan

  13. #13
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    Beer can antenna booster.

    cheers, Paul

  14. #14
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    Thanks Paul, I've got a lot of those around to make antennas with...........S

  15. #15
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    I think RetiredGeek has the right idea. I have used the following company for this. In fact, Flying J truckstops give truckers a modified version of one of these devices that allow them to connect to the Flying J hotspots from more than 5 miles away.....


    Look at the following devices:

    http://www.ubnt.com/powerapn

    http://www.ubnt.com/nanostationloco

    http://www.ubnt.com/nanostationm

    These devices are aimed at the Wireless ISP market. The price is very good and I have found the quality to be terrific. I have had a very hard time finding them when I want them though......

    Most suppliers prebook their orders and generally sell several hundred at a time so finding stock can be difficult.
    Last edited by mercyh; 2011-10-13 at 12:28.

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