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Thread: Increasing wifi range with external antenna and amplifier

  1. #1
    Devil's Advocate Adam_MSS's Avatar
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    Increasing wifi range with external antenna and amplifier

    I want to improve the range of my current wireless router (airport extreme n). It looks like I can modify the router a bit and get external antenna connections to which I could either simply attach higher gain antennas (directional or omni) and an amplifier if I so desire. MacWireless - Wireless Help - Wireless Card Chooser

    What's not clear to me is the consequences of modifying the relationship between the position of the antennas. I'm under the impression that the n standard uses constructive interference and that is dependent upon antenna geometry. Do I limit myself to lesser speeds by modifying the antenna situation to extend range?

    D-link offers a 3 antenna array:


    Or there are single antenna solutions in which case I'd probably run an omni upstairs, and omni downstairs, and a directional into the back yard (my router and others I'm looking at have 3 antenna connections).http://www.macwireless.com/html/prod...ters/omnis.php


    Last edited by Adam_MSS; 10-21-2011 at 10:08 AM.
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  2. #2
    Big Daddy Chad's Avatar
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    What are your fringe areas? Are you just getting issues in one part of the house? Are you looking to go for a "Project Bigass wi-fi?" AKA cover the whole damn property and then half the town?

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    Big Daddy Chad's Avatar
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    By adding the external antenna adapter do you defeat the internal antennas which are likely using some sort of diversity?

  4. #4
    Devil's Advocate Adam_MSS's Avatar
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    Using the external antennas does disable the internal antennas. You basically disconnect them from the board and install adaptor cables in their place that run out the back of the router.

    Looking to cover the house and a beam into the back yard to get the deck/pool area. House is basically L shaped so I was thinking I'd either do omni from the inside corner of the L or do a 90 degree directional from the outside corner. Property is about 0.45 acres an house is 3800ish ft2 and all brick exterior fascade.

    I'm also looking at the d-link DIR-655 since it already has the external antenna connections. In that case I'd just sell the airport extreme to cover the cost of the d-link.

    You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right. - R.Munroe

    The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. - W.L.Bragg



  5. #5
    Big Daddy Chad's Avatar
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    you could buy an old Lynksys and shove DD-WRT on it, then use it as a repeater. Or god forbid, run a wire to it and use it as an access point. You actually may be surprised how far you can get with the airport when properly/strategically placed.

    Is the airport just basically a router? does it do anything "Mac Specific?"

  6. #6
    Big Daddy Chad's Avatar
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    OMFG, you really did buy a simple router branded by mac.

    I use a WPN824 parked on top of my kitchen cabs. I can EASILY hit edge of the property line at about 1/8 mile away. It also covers the basement with a full signal, etc. Methinks you should look into placement and just see what you have is capable of. The thing is, with adding an external antenna you can't have a long coax run and it needs to be thick shit or the loss of the line negates the antenna gain. and that's at 2.4 gig. 5 gig? Godspeed.

    And then, of course, you witnessed "Project Bigass WiFi" unfold.

  7. #7
    Devil's Advocate Adam_MSS's Avatar
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    I honestly don't know if it has any Mac specific features. I bought it from an acquaintance about 3 years ago for $100 so I could relocate my airport express boxes to different rooms to stream music from the desktop.

    The wired access point is a good idea. With a repeater I'd have to hop networks on devices as I move around the house which is not a major problem, but an annoyance.
    You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right. - R.Munroe

    The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. - W.L.Bragg



  8. #8
    Big Daddy Chad's Avatar
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    Project Bigass wifi runs as a wireless access point, FLAWLESS! I even modded it for power over ethernet so it's one wire. And yeah, hopping networks can be goofy. My phone is allowed to hop and it's OK except for when the outdoor one gets fringe in the house and it's doing it's best to hang on but there's a monster right next to it... Apple could have done better with that.


  9. #9
    Devil's Advocate Adam_MSS's Avatar
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    I think I need more details. So you've got the linksys router running dd-wrt and then you have it's antenna output running to an amplifier and on to an omni antenna?
    You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right. - R.Munroe

    The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. - W.L.Bragg



  10. #10
    Big Daddy Chad's Avatar
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    No amplifier, 100mW into an antenna with 15dBi of gain 27' in the air. Using LMR 400 coax.

    DD-WRT allows you to set power. Up to 250 something mW, I started at 100mW (what the airport is stock) up from the 71mW that is default.

    Antenna has a very low angle of radiation so it does not cover well directly below it.. I have another now on the mast that's about 10' in the air, 6dBi and a much lower angle of radiation to compliment the taller one. It's easily covering a square mile with impressive speeds.

    edge of town, about 1/2 mile away...



    It's the antenna on the left:



    Right in this pic:



    The little 6dBi antenna that I don't have mounted pics of ....


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