April 2013

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If you are like me, you are wondering why, after massive advances in almost every realm of technology, does your wifi range disappoint. This has been an issue for quite some time. Even top of the line equipment is not immune from poor range issues. There is seemingly no way to improve things.

The issue of wireless range is incredibly complex, but not unsolvable. There already exists several sites that cover the steps one can take to gain the best signal possible.  The route I chose to take was to add an external antenna.

Here are some pictures of the project.  I purchased a WNDR-3800 and used the antenna mounts to add the external antenna. The antenna is a TerraWave – 2.4-2.5/5.1-5.85GHz 2.5/4.5dBi MIMO Omni Antenna (part #M6025045MO13602).  I needed an antenna that did both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequencies and MIMO to match the wireless router. To tie them together, I purchased four IPX / u.fl to RP-TNC female(male pin) bulkhead pigtail cables (Yes, all of that describes one cable.  Determining the correct one was tedious work).

 

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The result of the mod has been the elimination of all dead spots in the house.

The project itself wasn’t too hard to complete.  What is hard is understanding all of the math involved in determining wifi signal.  There are so many factors involved.  Even the length of the cables that run to your antenna may effect the signal.  If I have taken away anything from this project, it is that it is much easier to just go out an purchase a different wifi router then to mod an existing one.

Along those lines, here are two huge recommendations when purchasing a wifi router:

1.  Buy something that scored well in small net builder’s charts and don’t worry about anything else.  As of today, the RT-N66U is what I would recommend.

2.  Buy a wifi router with removable antennas.  You may be able to use antennas that throw the signal in a way that is better suited for your needs.

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