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Extending Range of Wireless Signal - RF Cafe Forums

The original RF Cafe Forums were shut down in late 2012 due to maintenance issues. Original posts:

Amateur Radio | Antennas | Circuits & Components | Systems | Test & Measurement

 Post subject: Extending Range of Wireless Signal
Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 2:29 pm 

Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 6:30 pm
Posts: 2
My apologies if this is not the closest subject-matter forum for the question..

I have a wireless router & modem at home. The problem is that the computer I use regularly is located at the opposite side of the house than the router/modem (The house is older and only has one cable input location). Thus, I get very low - no signal at all when I'm trying to work on the computer. I've noticed I get a better signal downstairs through the floors, etc. This makes me feel like the signal is being broadcast in the least-optimal 'direction'. Is there a way to re-direct the signal so that it can reach the back room rather than my downstairs neighbors?

I understand range extenders can be purchased, and cable adapters/longer cables are available but I'm trying to start with the cheapest solution first. Thanks in advance!


 Post subject: Re: Extending Range of Wireless Signal
Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 7:00 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:07 pm
Posts: 236
Location: London UK
Hi Charles
You do not say which frequency band for the LAN carrier you have, but assuming it is the common 2.45GHz, then a classic cheapie solution is a passive resonant reflector antenna situated where the signal is strongest (the floor below in your case).
Arrange 6 cm long rods of thick copper wire on a styrofoam/polystyrene packing sheet 3cm thick above a baking foil aluminum sheet on a large tray. The wire rods should be about 6cm apart with say 12 parallel to each other and another set of 12 to one side of these so they form a grid.
This arrangement should then re-radiate the signal back upstairs roughly to where you have the terminal.
Let me know how this goes. For me it succeeded on a microwave link of several kilometers, and it should work for you.

At bottom, life is all about
Sucking in and blowing out.

 Post subject: Re: Extending Range of Wireless Signal
Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 11:53 am 

Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 6:30 pm
Posts: 2
Thank you nubbage!

Sorry for not being more specific, I'm assuming the frequency band is the 'standard' 2.45 Ghz. I'll gather the materials and let you know how everything turns out. I appreciate the suggestion.

 Post subject: Re: Extending Range of Wireless Signal
Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 10:48 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:07 am
Posts: 34
I have the same problem at my house, the router is at the far end from the TV room where my laptop usually is.

I tried this experiment, and was surprised that it did little to improve the WLAN signal strength!

I taped a 2.45 GHz patch antenna to one of the three router antennas, ran 75 ohm cable tv type coax the 200' to the TV room, and had another patch antenna pointed at my laptop, from 2' away.

It helped a little bit, but not enough to make the installation permanent. I was expecting a "excellent" signal, but it was still "very weak".

Now, maybe if I got some low loss foam dielectric 3 GHz cable, and if I actually spliced into one of the router cables leading up to the antenna, things would have been better. But my conclusion, there is little I could do PASSIVELY to make the signal much stronger.

There are WLAN repeaters you can buy that actively intercept the signals, boost them, and retransmit. Not all routers will work well with such repeaters, so you have to investigate. Also, if you have an external antenna jack on your laptop, it would be an easy thing to aim a high gain antenna in the "right" direction to improve your signal.

It really helps to move your wireless router around a little. Perhaps moving it a couple feet from its current position will have a big improvement.

Other than that, good luck!!!

Maguffin Microwave Consulting

Posted  11/12/2012

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