I am near a public library that has wireless internet. I can receive a weak signal from my house and would like to strengthen it so it would be usable. Is there an inexpensive and simple way to do this? Perhaps I can buy or make an antennae? Thanks
The way to do this is to connect a high power wireless Ethernet converter to the Ethernet port of your computer. You may need to run the Ethernet cable, and power, to an outside location, as high up as possible, mounting the Ethernet converter in a weatherproof, but ventilated, enclosure. Connect a directional antenna to the Ethernet converter, with the shortest possible cable.
"Inexpensive" is relative. This setup would cost you at least $125.
Why wouldn't he want to do it the cheaper easier way? There are several companies that make directional USB devices, that are power off a USB cable and can be located away from the computer.. I use em both at home and in the RV (both on the roof)... For instance from Hawking:
Hi-Powered USB Wireless-G Adapter for your Desktop or Laptop PC
The HWU8DD is designed to connect your desktop computer or laptop easily to any Wireless-B or Wireless-G network via a USB connection. Hawking's award winning Hi-GainTM Antenna technology extends wireless connection distances by up to 300%. The HWU8DD is equipped with a new 8dBi Directional Dish antenna that provides more distance and better speeds than other wireless adapters on the market.
About $90, and you can order it online at the above link from the hawking online store...
Now I'm really confused.. I use USB extension cables, and have about 30 FT worth of distance (no powered hubs, need them to go longer)...(use em with a laptop, when in a certain room at home, in the garage ((metal snow roofs on both)), or in the RV, and can't use the internal wireless, just plug it in)
The external usb devices that I have seen all have external antenna jacks if you don't like the ones it comes with....
I have mine connected to a router (USB to Ethernet converters, have one for my DVR too)... (Home has WiFi, garage was too far away and had a metal roof, so I have one them aimed at the house so I can be on the network)
Used to think things HAD to be ethernet, till I started using the USB to Ethernet converters, and plugging stuff into my WAP/Router
I'm a big believer in not kludging things. Adding USB extension cables (essentially a one-port unpowered, USB 1.1 hub), and then adding a USB to Ethernet converter so you can connect it to the router rather than directly to the USB port of the notebook, is too much of a kludge for my tastes. YMMV.
Again, what's your point? You can connect it direct to the USB port of the computer(s), but you said you couldn't connect it to the ethernet port of your WAP/Router? You only need the converter IF you happen to have a WiFi network/router that takes ethernet...
Oh well, the OP just wanted to use it to connect to a hotspot a bit too far away, you had said he had to go ethernet.. I was trying to provide a cheaper USB alternative....
Yes, you can do the USB extension cable thing, but that advertisement does have one mistake in it, "Both Low and High speed devices will function as well as if they were directly connected to a USB Port with the USB Repeater Cable."
I spent two hellish weeks debugging USB 2.0 problems that were only present when hubs were used. It was a tablet PC that had a USB controller inside it, then it sat in a dock with USB 2.0 hub. Microsoft had a bug in their USB 2.0 code that never showed up in their testing. We fixed it with a SW workaround. Each hub adds latency. In some cases the latency was so great that the OS thought that the USB device wasn't there anymore, and would disconnect it, then re-enumerate it, and this would go on continuously. Had to rent a hellaciously expensive USB 2.0 analyzer to find this problem.
I've seen this re-enumeration problem occasionally on other platforms as well, though it's not a continuous thing like it was on the tablet.
But the bottom line is that by the time you buy USB extension cables at $20 each, and a USB to Ethernet converter that can operate in host mode, you'll have spent more than doing things the right way.
If you want to get better reception on free wireless that is near your home, the proper way is to use a high power Ethernet converter, with a good antenna, and then run it into a router, either wired or wireless, that will distribute the signal around the house. It's much nicer to be able to move around the house with a notebook, than to have to stay near where the USB cable goes outside to the USB wireless adapter.
The OP didn't have a router, and just wanted to glom on to the free wifi at a library a bit farther away, and had nothing locally... So why even consider getting a router? (and PS, that would run the price up to way over the $125 you suggested)
(snip long discussion about flaws in various USB driver software)
Yes, but my point was that 5 metres is /not/ the limit, not even according to the USB Implementors Forum (who reckon no 25mtrs useful length)
Well, for some definitions of "Proper" anyway.
Don't get me wrong, I'd recommend ethernet over USB anyday, but if (like the OP) all you want is a connection which you can put outside your faraday cage to somewhere you can get reasonable signal, then [unless he's in an ocean going liner] even five metres will be enough.
YMMV but I generally find, especially in small spaces like boats, that there's not that many places I need to be able to use a computer. Nice, in a geeky sense, sure.
What am I missing here? Fellow wants to attach to the local 'free' WAP relatively nearby. Seems to me the solutions should be running toward cheap antenna arrangements. Typically the little USB wireless 'nics' jury rigged into some sort of dish offer a cheap solution, (Haven't Navas or Lieberman offer up designs of this nature?) a usb extension cable to reach the homemade dish would seem a reasonable addition here. But I know I must be missing something with all this talk of ethernet ports and hubs/routers etc. So what am I missing here?
Silly question, but what's wrong with a usb cable (within the legal 15 feet in length, maybe less) a usb wireless adaptor and an open window with guess what hanging out? May not work, a card table and the computer in question at various distances between the two locations could quickly narrow down what might be needed. The hawking looks pretty cool, but is even that much needed?