Author Topic: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?  (Read 1016 times)

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Offline Henry Finley

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Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« on: September 12, 2021, 04:08:44 pm »
I am asking this on behalf of a buddy who lives next door to his brother in the upstate South Carolina area. He want's to run his Ipad and Windows 7 laptop off his brother's wifi. He estimates the distance between houses at 300 feet. But let's call it 500 feet to be safe. He says that his Win 7 laptop actually "sees" his brother's wifi if he takes the laptop to that end of his house, but cannot actually connect to it.
         I remember buying an el-cheapo Chinese yagi on ebay once, but was not very impressed with it. Can somebody tell me of one that actually is any good, without spending a fortune? My buddy buys everything off ebay. Thank you.
 

Offline fordem

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2021, 04:34:47 pm »
Google "cantenna".

There are or used to be many websites back in the early 2000s that discussed homebrew long range WiFi antennas, the challenge you're (or your buddy) going to face is connecting the antenna (what ever you get or build) to whatever device he wants to use it with - last I looked most consumer devices did not have an external antenna connector.

A simpler solution might be for your buddy's brother to install an access point with better range - for example one of the Ubiquiti "LR" series.
 

Online NiHaoMike

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2021, 12:32:13 am »
Get a dual band router that supports OpenWRT and/or DD-WRT and configure it as a dual radio repeater. Much better performance than those cheap single radio repeaters and cheaper than buying a "dual radio repeater" off the shelf.

I would say set up a dedicated AP for that link. As for what antenna to use, I have had great luck with the "biquad" design, very easy to make and works very well. For even better performance, use the biquad with a surplus satellite dish, mounting it where the LNB was. (Save the LNB for RF experimentation later on.)
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Offline Henry Finley

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2021, 02:41:20 am »
Thank you for these answers. But my friend isn't computer savvy. I need to keep it simple. We're dealing with just 300 feet here. (so he says)
 

Online james_s

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2021, 03:21:18 am »
Is it feasible to run a wire?

If he isn't technically savvy that could pose a challenge. There may not be an off the shelf solution that will reliably do what you want. Antennas are not magic, they are always a compromise. Consumer gear is specifically designed to be difficult to modify such that it could potentially violate its FCC certification.
 

Offline Henry Finley

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2021, 04:37:03 am »
5 years ago I lived in an apt complex. My apt was about 400-450 feet from the office. the office was built out of (presumably) steel  framework with wood siding. Their modem was inside an office with glass enclosure. I was able to get a piece of the signal with a cheap Chinese yagi. I even got a connection a couple times, but couldn't quite do any usable contact. I'm tempted to find my buddy a little bit better yagi and tell him to try it. I just don't like giving sketchy advice to friends.
 

Offline bob91343

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2021, 04:49:51 am »
There is a DIY device called something like Wajanbolic.  It's basically a wifi dongle mounted in the center of a cooking wok to form a parabolic antenna and increase the gain.  There are youtubes on how to do it.

https://www.instructables.com/How-to-Make-Indonesias-WajanBolic-or-PanciBolic-/
 

Offline Mr.B

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2021, 06:18:28 am »
If the end points are line of sight and you can get a reasonable distance off the ground to avoid things like a truck parked in the middle, I would use something like a Ubiquiti Nano Beam.
I am using a Nano Beam M5 for 300m (~1000ft) to get internet access to a friends barn/shed 300m from his house.
It is not an ultra cheap solution, but it works and maintains great speed.
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Offline Henry Finley

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2021, 02:44:11 pm »
If the end points are line of sight and you can get a reasonable distance off the ground to avoid things like a truck parked in the middle, I would use something like a Ubiquiti Nano Beam.
I am using a Nano Beam M5 for 300m (~1000ft) to get internet access to a friends barn/shed 300m from his house.
It is not an ultra cheap solution, but it works and maintains great speed.

This seemed like a good remedy. I had to research it and am still not clear. But it seems these are used as a pair. One would have to be installed at the brother's house and one at my friend's house.
 

Offline antenna

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2021, 03:06:11 pm »
I did this for our neighbor that lives about 1100 feet away along the shore line, through the neighbors trees and into the woods. There is a router on the outside of the house connected to our main router via ethernet cable (access point, no custom firmware or bridge modes) and the other end is a usb wifi adapter on their porch with the same antenna and a 20' USB cable running inside to their laptop.  They get about 16-24Mbps with the laptop in the house on the antenna and they get about 3Mbps on their dock with their tablet just using the antenna on this end straight to their devices. They are so far in the trees that the signal is too weak inside the cabin without the usb wifi and outside antenna though.  I didn't design that antenna, I copied that russian guys video on youtube. It took a good while cutting out pieces of sheet metal and carefully shaping them though. 

« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 03:09:25 pm by antenna »
 

Offline Mr.B

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2021, 06:34:46 am »
But it seems these are used as a pair. One would have to be installed at the brother's house and one at my friend's house.

Correct.
One installed at the 'internet end' and normally connected to the router with a UTP cable. (Can also be done with a WiFi access point, but this is a bit more complicated.)
One at the remote end - can be connected to a network switch, WiFi access point or cabled directly to the PC.
The pair operate in 'bridge mode'.
Configuration of such is very easy and well explained in the Ubiquiti documentation.
Time is the overseer of all things.
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2021, 01:21:09 am »
...
...He says that his Win 7 laptop actually "sees" his brother's wifi if he takes the laptop to that end of his house, but cannot actually connect to it....
...

If a laptop's build-in wifi can see it, I bet a repeater would probably do it.  It may not be the best way, but it would be a way with minimal fuss.  Shop at a place where the repeater can be returned for refund.  If it doesn't work, at least you are not stuck with a useless repeater.

Get the repeater with duo external antenna, one for IN and on for OUT; and get a power extension cord so the repeater is "mobile".  If you don't have duct-tape, get a roll.

You can plug the repeater in, connect your laptop to it.  Once laptop-repeater connection is established and you are in the repeater's management pages.  You should be able to scan and see the available WiFi and signal strengths.  Move the repeater around and find the best spot for his brother's WiFi (probably window facing the house with WiFi) and duct-tape the repeater there.  The rest would be to follow the repeater's instructions and complete the setup selecting his brother's WiFi as the source to repeat.  When you are comfortable the repeater works well at that spot, find ways to secure it there with something better than duct-tape.

If the signal is too weak to complete the set up, don't give up yet.  Try one more thing.   (The repeater I used, the user-guide actually suggested to do it this way first).  Do the set up and initial testing where signal is strong, then move back to the space where you intend to use it, and find the best spot there.  So, factory-reset the repeater (if it got started but failed to finish), go to his brother house to do the setup and verification, then go back home and plug the already-set-up repeater in.  If it successfully reconnect, and reconnecting do seem to be less fussy than initial set up, now he can find the best spot for the repeater.

Good luck...
 

Offline cdev

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Re: Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2021, 05:31:01 pm »
There is a DIY device called something like Wajanbolic.  It's basically a wifi dongle mounted in the center of a cooking wok to form a parabolic antenna and increase the gain.  There are youtubes on how to do it.

https://www.instructables.com/How-to-Make-Indonesias-WajanBolic-or-PanciBolic-/

There used to be an entire web site about "wok-fi" hosted by some (Christchurch) New Zealand university professor where he enumerated his and other readers experiments with wifi dongles and curved or parabolic or parabolic like cooking utensils. Its no longer online but easy to find in Internet archives. Links over water were particularly good.

 I tried this too and it does work very well. I did it with an 18 inch stainless steel pot lid purchased from a huge cooking equipment store on Clement Street in San Francisco's Richmond District. A real paradise for would be purchasers of metal cooking implements.

Some people have also used noodle strainers with a fine mesh.

I have a friend in Europe who was able to set up an 18 mile wifi link over the Adriatic using a curved mesh and an off the shelf totally unmodified wifi access point.  That was it. The mesh was made of chicken wire.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2021, 09:13:30 pm by cdev »
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