Signal Boost Options for Laptop

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Looking for WiFi signal boost options (antenna?) for Dell Laptop w/
internal wireless adapter.  

Thx
Chip L


Re: Signal Boost Options for Laptop



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Well, the easiest way is to purchase either an external USB wireless
radio, or a PCMCIA/CardBus radio with an external antenna connector.
Just remember to disable the internal MiniPCI wireless card.

You can also install an external antenna on a MiniPCI wireless card
if you don't mind either drilling the case, or sneaking a pigtail
through the exhaust holes.  Most MiniPCI cards use Hirose u-FL
connectors for the antenna.  

Find a u-FL to SMA, TNC, or N connector pigtail.
|  http://www.pacwireless.com/outlet/ (CA178-RTNCB-UFL-6)
|  http://wlanparts.com/category/cables/ (near bottom)

The u-FL connector goes to the connector on the MiniPCI card labeled
"main" and not the one labeled "aux".

Here's an example of how it's done (if you don't mind destroying
what's left of your warranty and resale value).
|  http://mtarena.blogspot.com/2006/06/add-external-antenna-sma-connector.html
Lots more laptop butchery, er... modifications:
|  http://repair4laptop.org/wireless_lan_antennae.html

I'll leave it to your imagination as to the selection of antenna and
mounting arrangement.  

--
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Signal Boost Options for Laptop


I appreciate your response, Jeff.

In general, are the external USB/MiniPCI wireless adapters more
sensitive (better reception) than the built in Wireless adapters?  I
really don't want to mod my box - its brand new.  Was looking for
something i could install in open ports (USB/minIPCI).

Thx

Jeff Liebermann wrote:
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Re: Signal Boost Options for Laptop


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I think you mean USB/MiniPCI.  You probably alreay have a MiniPCI
wireless card is inside the laptop.
  
This is a difficult call.  The official specification for receive
sensitivity tend to follow the chipset manufacturers published
specifications.  Reality is always worse.  RX sensitivity can be
ruined by a badly implimented diversity switch and cross circuit board
RF traces.  My guess(tm) is that the radio parts are largely the same
between the various chipsets, but the implimentation and board layout
vary radically.  I can't proclaim that one or the other style are
better or worse than the others.  For example, this Compaq laptop
wireless antenna sucks:
|  http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/antennas/laptops/slides/compaq-2120us.html
due to the location of the antenna on the laptop hinge instead of up
high in the LCD section.  In addition, USB dongles tend to have very
small and inefficient antennas:
|  http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/pics/wireless/DWL-122/index.html
The antenna is the gold plated PIFA antenna on polysulfone.  Most
antennas are worse.

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I think you mean USB/PCMCIA.  You probably alreay have a MiniPCI
wireless card is inside the laptop.  

I won't recommend anything specific.  There are some PCMCIA cards
available with external antenna connectors.  
  http://www.ubnt.com/super_range_cardbus.php4
  http://www.seattlewireless.net/SenaoCard
Only a few USB dongles come with external antenna connectors.  Most
must be modified to accept an antenna connector.  The advantage of USB
is that it can be located up high and away from obstructions without
stiff coax cable or complex modifications.

--
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Signal Boost Options for Laptop


            I travel a great bit, and connect to APs "across
            the spectrum." Have most luck with a USB unit
            with the RF in the unit on the end of a five foot
            USB cable. There are units, i.e., SMC which
            are "high power," but sitting down in the PCMCIA
            slot are at a handicap even with an external
            antenna. The only useful locations for the internal
            units are at, i.e., Starbucks, Mcdonalds, Wayport,
            Boingo, etal.  However, even with the USB external units,
            software drives one up the wall. Experience in connecting
            to weak signals IMHOP is probably worth more
            than power. At one time years ago there was a
            Hawking unit with good software, and connected
            exceptionally well, but disappeared from market
            and can't find one anywhere. By the way, there are
            some computers out there that put the Wi-Fi and
            Bluetooth antennas up in the sides of the LCD
            display which should help with internal units.
            Luck!!!

Re: Signal Boost Options for Laptop


Jack Daniels wrote:
 At one time years ago there was a
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Regarding the Hawking, they have a newer better one at
http://www.hawkingtech.com/products/productlist.php?CatID=32&FamID=60&ProdID=280
[HWU8DD] Hi-GainT USB Wireless-G Dish Adapter



Re: Signal Boost Options for Laptop



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I have both that 8dBi adapter and the older 6 dBi HWU54D. I have tested
them side-by-side accessing marginal signals several times. The only
difference in performance I could find is that the HWU8DD is more
difficult to use with a weak signal because it is more directional. Once
it locates the signal, it performs identically with the HWU54D, in my
experience.

I used both to connect to a network 2.2 miles away, over water, for
several weeks. With their 200 mw output power, they are 6-7 times more
powerful than standard WiFi adapters. That doesn't matter if you are
close to the network access point, but for attaching to distant networks
they are superb.

--
Dave

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