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Good Inexpensive WiFi Long Range Receiving Antenna?

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Henry Finley:
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.

fordem:
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.

NiHaoMike:
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.)

Henry Finley:
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)

james_s:
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.

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