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Hardware  » Boosting Wireless Router Signal

16 posts found
  miguksaram

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 827

 
OP  6/12/12 12:41:12 AM#1

I'm doing some online research but I figured asking our community wouldn't hurt.  My father is trying to boost his wireless router signal from his condo to his boat in port.  The signal currently has unobstructed line of sight from it's location at the condo to the boat but fails to get a decent signal if anything at all.  The total distance is roughly 100 yards and his router is the standard 2.4Ghz band.  This is Benicia, CA and I can't help him in person as I live in Hawaii.  His condo and boat are in the Benicia Yacht club so my initial thoughts lead me to believe the saturated band is the biggest issue but obviously signal strength in general could be a culprit as well.  Sorry I forgot to ask his specific router make/model.

So anyway my question is could anyone suggest a solution that would allow his internet signal for his condo extend to his boat in the harbor (remember roughly 100 yards unobstructed)?  Price is not really a concern for him as long as the results are a solid signal for use on his sailing boat (both inside and out).  Thank you!

  Grunty

Elite Member

Joined: 4/06/04
Posts: 6867

6/12/12 11:25:41 AM#2

Directional antennas have longer signal distances than  the standard omni-directional antennas. Another problem would be all the metal masts and rigging randomly sticking up in the air blocking/bouncing the signal.

And someone in a boating community may have additional advice.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10873

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

6/12/12 11:40:06 AM#3

I have read a few articles on this, and the directional antennae is one of the ways to go. Consumer routers aren't going to have this though. I'm not really sure any router has a directional antennae to be honest. However, if the router has an antennae that isn't integrated into the router's case, you can try cutting a Pringles can in half length wise and mounting it to the antennae. "Point" the open side of the Pringles can towards the boat. Do the reverse on the boat side, if possible.

There are solutions for outdoor WiFi. The prices I could find were starting at $300 for just the wireless hub...you would still need routers attached for the actual networking. I think you'd need that $300 hub on both ends.

Something to think about is that if your dad can see his WiFi connection on his boat from his house, so could anyone else within 100 meters, possibly up to a kilometer away. Given the equipment cost, it might make sense to go with a 4G phone that can be tethered to a laptop or something similar.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  miguksaram

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 827

 
OP  6/12/12 12:16:55 PM#4
Originally posted by lizardbones

I have read a few articles on this, and the directional antennae is one of the ways to go. Consumer routers aren't going to have this though. I'm not really sure any router has a directional antennae to be honest. However, if the router has an antennae that isn't integrated into the router's case, you can try cutting a Pringles can in half length wise and mounting it to the antennae. "Point" the open side of the Pringles can towards the boat. Do the reverse on the boat side, if possible.

There are solutions for outdoor WiFi. The prices I could find were starting at $300 for just the wireless hub...you would still need routers attached for the actual networking. I think you'd need that $300 hub on both ends.

Something to think about is that if your dad can see his WiFi connection on his boat from his house, so could anyone else within 100 meters, possibly up to a kilometer away. Given the equipment cost, it might make sense to go with a 4G phone that can be tethered to a laptop or something similar.

My dad is open to ideas but rigging antenna's with Pringles cans is not one of them, interesting idea nonetheless.  I mentioned to him that if he really wanted to go with a wireless router then he might have to consider commercial grade versions to get the signal strength needs to get past all the interference.  He is perfectly fine with that, he's a retired lawyer so cost is much less an issue as compared to simplicity an ease of use.  He currently uses an iPhone with 3G, do you really think a 4G tethered signal would give adequate signal strength?

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10873

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

6/12/12 12:26:38 PM#5


Originally posted by miguksaram

Originally posted by lizardbones I have read a few articles on this, and the directional antennae is one of the ways to go. Consumer routers aren't going to have this though. I'm not really sure any router has a directional antennae to be honest. However, if the router has an antennae that isn't integrated into the router's case, you can try cutting a Pringles can in half length wise and mounting it to the antennae. "Point" the open side of the Pringles can towards the boat. Do the reverse on the boat side, if possible. There are solutions for outdoor WiFi. The prices I could find were starting at $300 for just the wireless hub...you would still need routers attached for the actual networking. I think you'd need that $300 hub on both ends. Something to think about is that if your dad can see his WiFi connection on his boat from his house, so could anyone else within 100 meters, possibly up to a kilometer away. Given the equipment cost, it might make sense to go with a 4G phone that can be tethered to a laptop or something similar.
My dad is open to ideas but rigging antenna's with Pringles cans is not one of them, interesting idea nonetheless.  I mentioned to him that if he really wanted to go with a wireless router then he might have to consider commercial grade versions to get the signal strength needs to get past all the interference.  He is perfectly fine with that, he's a retired lawyer so cost is much less an issue as compared to simplicity an ease of use.  He currently uses an iPhone with 3G, do you really think a 4G tethered signal would give adequate signal strength?



With the phone, I was thinking the 3G/4G phone would act as a router, giving direct access to the internet. The phone wouldn't be tied to the house, the phone would simply be the internet access point. The boat wouldn't have to be docked, anyplace you can get a cellular signal, you would have internet access. You could also get a cellular modem, which might have some performance benefits. There is supposed to be a fairly big difference between 3g and 4g speeds. There's probably a difference in price too, especially if you go over your monthly minutes.

If what you needed was access to a server in the house though...I'm not sure. One of those commercial solutions might be what's needed. With that system might come a professional installer who can get the security in shape as well. They could also minimize interference with other, weaker wireless networks in the area. As in the big system might completely drown out other peoples' wifi in their nearby homes.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  Dendriph

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/08/05
Posts: 8

6/12/12 12:37:33 PM#6

http://www.amazon.com/Hawking-Directional-Antenna-outdoor-HAO14SDP/dp/B000B59J8I/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&qid=1339522371&sr=8-23&keywords=directional+wifi+antenna.

http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Extenders-Dual-Band-Directional-Outdoor/dp/B003N3HDAQ/ref=sr_1_31?ie=UTF8&qid=1339522371&sr=8-31&keywords=directional+wifi+antenna

http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Adapter-Parabolic-Antenna-16dBi/dp/B005KXZS8G/ref=sr_1_94?ie=UTF8&qid=1339522570&sr=8-94&keywords=directional+wifi+antenna

Just to give a few ideas.

Also if the router he uses has an antenna, then the directional antennas will connect to them. If his router doesn't have an antenna, then he will have to purchase a router that does. He can purchase a range extender for the boat that uses an antenna, and connect a directional antenna to it. It would make for a clean and inexpensive install.

  lerwen

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/28/04
Posts: 22

6/12/12 12:55:11 PM#7

if money is not the issue why not go with something like this

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/connecting-to-the-internet-on-the-go/

  Cleffy

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/09/04
Posts: 5524

6/12/12 1:58:01 PM#8

Getting any reliable wireless signal 100 yards is pretty much impossible without running wire.  If he can run a CAT6+ wire down to the end of the pier with electricity from his router using conduit for the exterior, then he would be able to setup an access point at the end of the pier to connect to.  (Should use proper exterior equipment)

  miguksaram

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 827

 
OP  6/12/12 8:38:51 PM#9
Originally posted by Cleffy

Getting any reliable wireless signal 100 yards is pretty much impossible without running wire.  If he can run a CAT6+ wire down to the end of the pier with electricity from his router using conduit for the exterior, then he would be able to setup an access point at the end of the pier to connect to.  (Should use proper exterior equipment)

Unfortunately that is not an option as he is only a member of the Yacht Club and cannot run cable through the ground from his condo to the edge of pier.  Thank you for your input though!

  miguksaram

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 827

 
OP  6/12/12 8:42:22 PM#10

Both the directional antenna and 4G options look like they might fit the bill, with the 4G looking to be the better of the two (on paper at least) due to my father also frequently traveling around the US.  That option might help save on potential Hotel internet bills.  Does anyone know if the major US cellular providers also service Canada?  He travels through there a few times a year as well and that might really cinch the deal.

  zymurgeist

Elite Member

Joined: 12/24/04
Posts: 5199

6/12/12 8:45:06 PM#11

He can put a Yagi with a signal booster on his router but the condo association is likely to have kittens if he hangs an antenna on the building. I've done it for up to 500 yards if you use an antenna on both ends so it does work.

"Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause" ~Victor Hugo

  miguksaram

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 827

 
OP  6/12/12 8:47:56 PM#12
Originally posted by zymurgeist

He can put a Yagi with a signal booster on his router but the condo association is likely to have kittens if he hangs an antenna on the building. I've done it for up to 500 yards if you use an antenna on both ends so it does work.

The condo has a full size deck which to my knowledge he is allowed to place anything (within reason, it is a Yacht club afterall) he wants out there.  Even the direction antenna option would have required the majority of the setup to be done on the deck anyway.

  zymurgeist

Elite Member

Joined: 12/24/04
Posts: 5199

6/12/12 8:59:10 PM#13

This video explains it. The info is out there but be careful when searching it can lead to some bad places.

"Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause" ~Victor Hugo

  karmath

Novice Member

Joined: 8/24/05
Posts: 843

6/12/12 9:15:34 PM#14

Also keep in mind most retail routers have a signal power option in the firmware, its usually set to half by default. Upping that value to max might help, as it helped me get a decent signal to my brick garage at the back of my property which otherwise dropped out alot.

  miguksaram

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 827

 
OP  6/13/12 1:10:01 AM#15

All great info, thank you everyone.  Certainly made my research a bit easier as a LOT of the initial sites that came up on google appeared to be retailers trying to sell their products rather than sites which contrast/compared options.  I'll have to talk things over with my dad to see which option will work best for his needs.  He's mechanically inclined but not so much into electronics so I'm thinking the least complicated application would work best otherwise he would have to call a tech anytime something wrong popped up (high probably this would include operator error).

  lugal

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/13/08
Posts: 572

6/13/12 1:22:08 AM#16

Just get a dipole antenna and put it on the boat. YOu can pull signal from many blocks away.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
The reviewer has a mishapen head
Which means his opinion is skewed
...Aldous.MF'n.Huxley