Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Boost your wireless for 25¢

How can I boost my wireless signal strength?

Folks, I have been asked many times about what can be done to improve the wireless signal produced by a home router/WAP. A weak signal slows you down, and can cause “connectivity issues” (aka “disconnects”).

Like so many things in life, there is no one, single, best answer, but, methods for achieving a stronger wireless signal, at a greater distance, include:
* Replace your router’s firmware with a Linux-based system that allows for “antenna gain” adjustment. (Advanced) — free (some risk).
* Add a “reflector” (Simple) — free. (and.. today’s video!)
* Replace your antenna with a “signal boosting” (aka “range extending”) antenna, or a directional antenna. (Simple) — $25 -$50.
* Upgrade to a Wireless N router. (Simple) — $100 (or less).

I recommend the last option. Wireless N routers are quite reasonably priced now. But, if you have some tinfoil, scissors, and glue, I can tell you that a parabolic reflector will improve your signal (aka “gain”) .. in one direction, and it won’t cost you much more than a few minutes of your time to try it!

This short video tutorial demonstrates:

And the template is here, http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template2/index.html

And, you may want to look around the Internet some. There are, literally, thousands of these “hacks” and tips.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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March 30, 2010 - Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, hardware, how to, networking, performance, routers and WAPs, tech, tweaks, upgrading | , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. TechPaul,

    I can remember when growing up experimenting with radio antennas to get a better signal. This one, to increase my wireless range, is right down my alley.

    Great tip!

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by Ramblinrick | April 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Rick,
      In principle, the addition of a parabolic reflector should improve the signal in one (general) direction: which is why radar and satellite antennas have “dishes”. Adding one to the receiving antenna should also “catch” more signals; again, improving the ‘transmission’.

      Anecdotally, I have heard (and read) reports ranging from “useless” to “fantastic!”, so I don’t know what your results might be… or if certain foils work better? (or if ‘shiny side’ makes any diff.) But I do know that a little bit of stiff paper and tinfoil is a negligible cost, and some people swear by the result. What’s it hurt to give it a try before you invest $50 in a new antenna?

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | April 2, 2010 | Reply


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