Wi-Fi booster antenna

Hi folks. I’m in a hotel for the next while where my wifi access is pretty poor - very weak signal from all over my room. Are there decent booster antennas suitable for laptop use? And do they work well? And in what sort of situation is it just not worth it? Coming to the lobby all the time to use their wireless hotspot will start to get tiring fairly quickly I think…


My primary wi-fi adapter is a Buffalo hi-power model with an external antenna port. It’s a bit ugly though if I start to break out the external antenna, because then I’ve got a cable running along the side of my notebook, up the back of the LCD panel, velcro’d to the top. But it works when I absolutely positively need something faster than my EDGE/bluetooth phone connection.


That’s what I got. Paid $55 for it off Newegg about a year or two ago, IIRC.

On the plus side, its built-in amplifier puts it head and shoulders above the internal wifi in my notebook, so there are a lot of situations where the external antenna is unnecessary.

Thanks mate. All of 'em require a card of some sort I see. Something for me to think about!

We bought a larger external antenna for my wife’s machine. It helped a lot. Still, wi-fi seems more prone to weird lockups and problems where we have to reboot Windows. (This is over several different cards.) If she were to work here full-time, I think she’d need to be on wired ethernet.

Thanks all. Now if only I could get the web browsing to stop dying after 5 min. MSN, Skype, email, all work fine, but browsing of all kinds just can’t connect!

I’m researching cheap laptops for an older relative who lives on someone else’s land. He has been authorized to borrow his host’s wifi, but would need to use an antenna to pick it up. Someone else has already donated a HD24115 5dBi Pro series Omni-directional Outdoor Antenna for this purpose, but we still need an adapter.

Does anyone happen to know if the above-mentioned AirStation would connect easily to the HD24115? How easy is the setup?

Couple issues, right off the bat - That Airstation card is no longer available, and hard to find used.

In fact, it’s just a bad idea all-around to try and hook the antenna up to the notebook itself. He’s not going to want to park the notebook near a window (because depending on the distance to the property, line-of-sight may be crucial), nor will he want to tote a huge antenna around the house.

Second, that antenna is omni-directional. And it’s only 5dBi, which is pretty weak sauce. Again, depending on the distance to the neighbor, an aluminum reflector to focus the signal towards the source may be necessary.

What he may want to do is set up a repeater from a proper wireless router. Buffalo has permission now to sell their awesome High-powered routers in the States again, so he may want to get a WHR-HP-G54, flash it to DD-WRT, hook it to the antenna, set it in a window facing the neighbor, and the configure it in repeater mode:

That outdoor antenna is an N-type connector, which is friggin’ 'uge. It’s twice the diameter of a F-type coax connector. You’ll need an to RP-SMA adapter to connect to most routers like the Buffalo, D-Link, Netgear, etc. Linksys uses TNC connectors, so don’t bother with them.

Thanks for the info, Ryan. This should do us nicely. Will report back once the folks who are closer to my relative have had a chance to try out the repeater/new antenna idea.

No problem. Good luck!

Thread rez.

Long story short, I’m paying for the wireless that is hooked up in the building next to mine. It’s much cheaper than what I would be paying through AT&T or Comcast, and I’d like to continue using it, but I’m only getting about two bars of signal.

Can anyone recommend me a laptop wifi booster?

Get an external USB model with a replaceable antenna - Then you can replace that antenna with a directional one if it doesn’t do the trick by itself.

The nice thing about the USB models is you can put them on a 10-foot USB extension cable in order to locate them in the best place, and that way they’re not sticking out the side of your notebook or underneath your desk.

If you have a spare wireless router that can use DD-WRT firmware, you can have it connect to the access point and repeat the signal itself. Here’s a tutorial on how to go by doing that. And here’s a Wiki page to help you put DD-WRT on a supported router. Most Linksys routers are supported.

Wireless routers tend to have pretty good antennas and the power they can output is far greater than those of wireless cards in laptops.

But a repeater is going to add a stage of latency, plus the DD-WRT route can be difficult to set up for someone who’s not comfortable playing around with router firmware and such.