wifi aerials

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by june123, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Staffs
    I enquired on ebay re a booster aerial for use on my laptop. It sounded useful (and cheap). It's called a 16dBi 2.4ghz wifi booster aerial. I asked if I needed to pay for anything else to receive free wifi. The answer was that it would pick up all non-password protected signals. I replied saying weren't all signals protected and got the answer that yes they were but this aerial would pick up wifi from places like McDonalds and other free wifi points from a considerable distance.

    Any funsters know of this or could recommend anything better? I don't want to be committed to indefinite monthly payments as it won't be used that often.
     
  2. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,460
    Likes Received:
    25,145
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    WiFi is a short range ( tens of metres to 100 maybe ) link to some computer network.

    Now the network can be a private house, who if they've any sense will password protect link. So you'll get nowhere without the password except the name of the link.

    Macdonalds offer free access, no password or they give you the password. Then you can get onto the internet, free.

    Many campsites etc will sell the the password by the hour/day/month. Many now give free access, but still with a password to prevent any passer-bye using it for free.

    BT/FON will sell you access to a range of WiFi hot spots, for a monthly fee.

    So whatever aerial you buy makes no difference to the access, just how far you might be able to receive it.

    Any WiFi you do not pay for will not be secure, best not to go near a bank or buy on line from them.
     
  3. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,405
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    In a nutshell Wifi aerials or boosters do exactly what it says on the tin. They boost a signal that you already have, making your internet speed faster. Am using one now on a campsite in Spain. Without the aerial my internet speed would be much slower.
     
  4. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    18,347
    Likes Received:
    21,714
    Location:
    Narrfoook
    I would just add the following:

    You buy cheap you get cheap

    16dB is quoted.. but 16dB over what ? It really is a meaningless figure just used to impress


    If you want something worthwhile then there is, sadly, a premium to pay....

    I would suggest something like that which these people supply :

    http://www.motorhomewifi.com/

    Many people use one of their antennas and the reports are generally excellent
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Staffs
    Thanks for that info. An aerial could be useful then as some connections are painfully slow.
     
  6. mikebeaches

    mikebeaches Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    Messages:
    960
    Likes Received:
    629
    Location:
    Bristol
    We tend to stay at naturist campsites in France a lot. The difference the wi-fi booster makes is that we can usually get on the net in the van, rather than just in reception or in the bar, where the site system is designed to cover. Makes it very convenient. Obviously, some places have site-wide wi-fi, but plenty more do not, especially the more rustic places.

    We use one of these: [ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/AWUS036H-Upgraded-802-11b-Wireless-Long-Rang/dp/B000WXSO76/ref=sr_1_9?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1365244886&sr=1-9&keywords=wi-fi+booster"]Alfa AWUS036H Upgraded to 1000mW 1W 802.11b/g High Gain USB Wireless Long-Rang WiFi network Adapter with 5dBi Antenna - for Wardriving & Range Extension: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories[/ame]


    Very light weight, and can use it anywhere not just in the van. Eg handy in hotels, where reception wi-fi can often be picked up in the bedrooms etc. :thumb:

    Mike
     
  7. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,897
    Likes Received:
    4,862
    Location:
    benidorm
    http://www.faculty-x.net/motorhome omni directional kit.htm
    this is where mine came from and its great it does what it says it boosts the signal it wont allow you into locked networks but for the range is great and normally you can find a network thats unlocked it great for macdonalds and for carrefor supermarkets both have unlocked networks they dont work with ipads and the likes as they are usb controlled so on a laptop they are great also the benefit is if u are on a camp with designated wifi spots then you will be able to contect from inside your van without going to the designated areas
     
  8. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,460
    Likes Received:
    25,145
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    An aerial does not alter speed, it's improves reception.

    What can happen, if the signal is seriously weak, the data has to be continually repeated as it gets corrupted, this "looks" like it is slow.

    But if you have a good signal the best aerial in the world will not make it faster.

    A WiFi point can send just "so-much" data per second. If you are on alone, as you would be at home, you get "so-much". On a camp site if 10 people are on it you'd get "so-much" divided by 10. it's ten times slower as far as you can see. If one or two are the inconsiderate type who must see Coronation Street over the WiFi you might get a lot less than "so-much" divided by 10. On big sight, like happened at Marjal, you could end up with "so-much" divided by 100.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Staffs
    wifi boostgers

    Got onto your quoted site and it said 1km clear (no trees, buildings etc in the way). Worry a bit that this will be difficult to achieve.
     
  10. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,897
    Likes Received:
    4,862
    Location:
    benidorm
    no i have had it with or without trees the directional 1 needs a clear sight to the wifi output ariel but the omni doesnt
     
  11. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,897
    Likes Received:
    4,862
    Location:
    benidorm
    i used this ariel through france spain and portugal and recent at newark where i contected to a orange network unsecured for free best piece of equipment i have ever bought
     
  12. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,405
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    Whichever you choose the secret is getting it up high. I have mine on one of those extending mop poles and attach it to the mirror arm with cable ties. When not in use it retracts into itself and lies across the dashboard.
     
  13. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Staffs
    Could you give me the exact name of the equipment I need? There are so many different names to chose from. Must be simple to operate! Did you buy it on Amazon?
     
  14. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,897
    Likes Received:
    4,862
    Location:
    benidorm
  15. Addie

    Addie Trader - Motorhome Wifi

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    406
    Location:
    York
    Thanks for the recommendation Jaws :thumb: and some good advice there.

    The thing to be aware of with regards to any WiFi connection is there are two sides to any WiFi link. So while a WiFi booster will certainly increase the range from which a signal can be received (which does often mean being able to connect to a signal which your laptop couldn't previously see using its built in WiFi connection) there is no mathematical formula which says over what distance a signal can be received over in X situation.

    The reason for this is when we go out and put WiFi installations into buildings, we have control over both sides of the link. We can comfortably cover several kilometres, easy.

    However when using a WiFi booster in a motorhome setting, your likely to be connecting to simple domestic routers. These could be inside homes of cafes - not everyone is quite so thoughtful to put their BT home hubs on their upstairs window sills! :Rofl1:

    So while a WiFi booster will certainly allow you to be "heard" by the remote hotspot, there is only so much you can do in order to hear the faint reply. Antenna gain is one factor - but gain doesn't just turn up the signal, it also turns up the background noise. So a high quality radio (the bit that receive and signal, not just the antenna it is attached to) with a good level of receive sensitivity is advantageous.

    I've got a HUGE crate of samples here of pretty much every WiFi antenna you can find on eBay - all I'm going to say is hardly any of them actually perform to their stated claims (either better, or worse!).

    We've had WiFi connections over several km on more than one occasion - but that was likely because the WiFi installation was commercial grade hardware - its unlikely to be a domestic router over those sorts of distances - but I've still been surprised with BT Fon on more than one occasion.

    So yes - it's a little but of luck, a little bit of patience and some sort of WiFi booster will help. There are lots to choose from and some will work better than others in different situations - there isn't really a right or wrong way to do it. Ours are all weatherproof (getting them outside the van is important), one piece units (so no loss through an antenna cable) and suction mounted. :thumb:
     
    • Like Like x 3
  16. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Staffs
  17. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    18,347
    Likes Received:
    21,714
    Location:
    Narrfoook
    This is the one I actually fitted to my van.
    [​IMG]


    http://www.motorhomeplanet.co.uk/archives/5086

    I mounted it on the tv antenna pole so I could twist it from inside the van to maximise signal strength.

    I chose this after taking someone elses apart and found it has a GasFet signal amp built in..

    BUT !

    I am now looking at one of these:

    http://store.rokland.com/products/16-dbi-gain-yagi-antenna-5m-lmr-200-extension-cable

    You will notice that it mentions 16dB, but that little 'i' after the 16dB indicates it is gain over an 'isotropic antenna'... Still not perfect as isotropic is a theoretical state but still much better that just 16dB ( which for all anyone knows could be gain over a bit of string or a goldfish bowl ! )

    The perfect figures to be quoted would be dB over a 1/4 wave but as most sellers are as technical as aforementioned goldfish bowl, and adverts are designed to sell rather than be accurate, it is rare indeed to see that info displayed

    I high gain beam antenna not only increase what you can hear but also the radiated power you send out too ( welllll.. all the various types SHOULD do that but having run some rather unscientific field strength tests on a couple of the cheaper options that is not necessarily true, where as a beam type, if built correctly , will always perform as it should :thumb: )
     
  18. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,941
    Likes Received:
    14,016
    Location:
    UK
    I have bought one from Addie ( www.motorhomewifi.com) and it has proven to be excellent. The mount on it is compact and easy to use. I simply trail the cable out of a window and mount it as high as possible. In some locations I have to lob the cable over the roof of the van to the other side but this is easier than routing it internally.

    The difference in connectivity and speed has been a godsend.

    The other advantage is that it goes to another wifi router. This means I can share it between my phone, tablet, laptop and main computer. I have this internal router wall mounted and it plugs straight into a convenient cigar lighter socket. So basically I arrive on a site, I loop the cable out the window and mount the wifi antenna. Plug it in and within a few minutes all my devices have a wifi connection :thumb:

    I had one of these and they work ok. However they are large and bulky. I ended up using a glazers glass sucker thingy. This made it huge. The other downside is it has a USB cable on the end so will only work on one device at a time and only for devices with a USB port configured as a host. Other than that it did it's job fine.
     
  19. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,897
    Likes Received:
    4,862
    Location:
    benidorm
    just plug in and play but on some laptops you made need to instal the drivers which come with the booster but `1st try without loading anything just screw into ariel plug in usb and see what you get normally you may get 5 or 6 available connections with this you will see dozens of em look for the 1's which are unsecure :thumb:
     
  20. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Staffs
    wifi

    Thanks you've been so helpful. Can't wait to see if it works. Hope it really is simple as I haven't mentioned I've bought one to my partner as he would probably have moaned about it! He doesn't like "new" technology.
     
Loading...
Similar Threads
  1. PaulB
    Replies:
    23
    Views:
    960
  2. Tezza
    Replies:
    7
    Views:
    276
  3. chaser
    Replies:
    9
    Views:
    329
  4. colyboy
    Replies:
    22
    Views:
    1,015
  5. Diabalo
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    444

Share This Page