Install a omnidirectional antenna

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by xyztrace, May 23, 2009.

  1. xyztrace macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2009
    Yes, I have heard that it is possible to install an omnidirectional antenna on my patio or roof to boost my wifi. Do I need to buy a router for that to work.
    I have a pretty new mac desktop and I am want to boost my wifi. I heard that if I get a router it will only decrease my wifi distance because the internal on I have is stonger. Thankx.
  2. Decrepit macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2007
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    If you have 802.11(bgn) in your house and you're connecting to it with your Mac, but have a poor signal outside, there are options.

    Technically speaking, the only router you should have in a normal configuration is the one between your computers and the internet. I think you mean that you'd like to get a new access point and bridge it.

    For instance...

    (Cablemodem/DSL) ---> Router ---> Airport Extreme Base Station ))) Your Mac

    When your Mac is near the AEBS, you're set, but if you go outside you get bad reception?

    You could then extend it like so...

    (Cable/DSL) --> Router --> AEBS )))((( Airport Express ))) Mac.

    The AirPort Express would extend your wifi network to parts of your house that your notebook has a hard time picking up a signal.

    Is that what you're asking, or am I way off?
  3. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    [Edit: Was still typing while Decrepit posted; that post may be clearer than mine.]

    Your question isn't clear; is there an existing wifi network in your area (your campus or apartment building, for example) or do you already have a wifi router connected to a DSL or cable modem? I'm assuming there's a wifi network already there that you don't have control of, and you just want a better connection to it.

    If that's the case, then you have two choices:

    1) Add a booster with a larger antenna to repeat the external signal.
    2) Stick a bigger antenna on your computer.

    2 is obviously cheaper, but to my knowledge no recent Mac has an external antenna port, so this isn't an option unless you're brave enough to do some physical hacking on the computer (which, if it's still under warranty, would void it).

    So your only option would be to buy a router or dedicated wifi repeater with a "universal" repeater mode (meaning it will repeat any signal, rather than one from a WDS base station, which isn't going to work if you don't have control over the wifi source).

    One example is the WRE54g, which I've used and frankly sucks if it's not repeating a Linksys base station. There are other dedicated repeaters and some routers that have the same feature.

    One of these devices, set up properly, should grab the existing signal and strengthen it enough for your taste. If it alone isn't enough, a larger external antenna will further boost it, but it may not even be necessary since you can just locate the booster in the spot with the best reception. Be sure you pick one that has a detachable antenna, though--many (such as the WRE54g) don't.

    Now, if you already have a wireless router and just want wider coverage around your house, then the answer will depend on whether the one you have supports WDS and/or has a detachable antenna connection. If it has a detachable antenna, a larger omnidirectional one could help. If not but it does have WDS, find a router that supports WDS repeating and put that toward wherever you want the stronger reception.
  4. xyztrace thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2009
    I have wifi already built into my mac. I get linksys.
    I don,t know where it is located near my apartment so I can,t go out and
    boost it. If I buy a wireless router it won,t be as strong as the wifi I already
    have. You gave me two options. The first is hacking into the computer witch I don,t know the first thing about. The next I did not understand.
    Can you put it into laymens turms. I am a newbie. Thankx.
  5. RandomKamikaze macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    You don'tknow where it is?! Is this your wi-fi signal or someone else? I.e. Do you own it?
  6. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Sounds to me like the OP is picking up someone's wi-fi in the apartment complex (maybe supplied by the apartment?) and wants to boost it because it is a weak signal.

    OP, what you need is to contract your own internet connection (cable, DSL, etc.) that you will then connect to a wireless router (airport extreme, linksys, etc.) to produce your own wi-fi signal. In your situation, you should have excellent coverage wherever you go in your apartment. But you should password protect your signal to keep people from your apartment complex from stealing your signal and robbing your bandwidth.

    The wi-fi that is built in your Mac only allows you to pick up a wi-fi signal, it does not entitle you to be connected to the internet without an appropriate internet connection (cable, DSL, etc.).

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  7. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    What MacDawg said.

    Someone near you has an internet connection (either cable or DSL) and plugged a Linksys brand wifi router into it, but didn't set up any security at all. (That's why it's called "linksys"--that's the default network name for Linksys routers.) You can be pretty sure this is an accident--if they were intentionally sharing it for free, they almost certainly would have renamed it something else, like "TennantWirelessAccess." They would probably also require a password, to keep people driving by on the street from using it.

    While you could buy a "blind repeater" like the WRE54g to pick up the signal from that router and make it stronger, if the person who actually owns the internet connection you've been using decides he/she doesn't want other people using his/hear bandwidth, it will stop working. Then no internet connection for you.

    The real solution is to get your own internet connection rather than leeching off of someone else who probably doesn't realize that's happening. Look up internet providers in your area and set up a contract for either DSL or cable internet. If you have a desktop, you won't even need a wireless router--you can just plug the modem you will get directly into the network port on your computer.

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