Wireless adapters - Fascinatingly Frustrating internet problem overseas...

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by MacbookOverseas, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. MacbookOverseas macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2014
    Products owned:
    2 Macbook Pros (10.9.2)
    2 iPhone 5s
    1 2nd gen iPad

    3 months ago my wife and I moved to a moderately developed nation in the middle east. Unfortunately, our building owner is in a tiff with the only company in the nation that installs the internet round lines and now the two are in a stand off. The company refuses to install telephone and internet lines to our entire apartment.

    The good news is we live across the street from a few cafes with wifi. The signal faintly reaches one of our apartment rooms that is closest to the street.

    The Ideal Situation:
    We would love this tiff to be solved and an ADSL line to be installed, but it doesn't look like either entity is going to forgive each other anytime soon.

    Wireless Adapters:
    So the next best option we have involves wireless adaptors to try to pick up these cafe’s signals.

    So far I purchased 2 wireless adaptors. Both of these adaptors work part of the time, and are VERY finicky. They connect, and arbitrarily loose connection with the cafes. I have good line of sight to the cafes and I know the wifi passwords to each cafe.

    -Asus USB-N14 http://www.asus.com/Networking/USBN14/
    This device works pretty well, but provides a WEAK signal strength. It also cuts out quite frequently. The provided software works on OS 10.9.2

    -Everest EWN906 http://www.everest.info.tr/urunler/everest-ewn-906-300-mbps-usb-cift-anten-kablosuz-adaptor-tmwzr/
    I found this honking big wireless adaptor in country. Unfortunately the software included (and updates online) only work with mac software UNDER 10.9.2. The good news, is the chipset manufacturer, RealTek, is the same manufacturer as the Asus USB-N14.

    In desperation I tried the ASUS software (10.9.2 compatible) on the Everest EWN-906 device and it worked! I guess the chipsets aren't all that different. Although the Everest device gets 90-100% signal strength, it cuts out even more than the Asus. Some days the Everest works for hours at a time, and then cuts out. Some days it connects to the wifis, but refuses to send content.

    Does anyone have any advice / experience with network adaptors and their macbook pros? I could really use any advice. I know a limited bit about assigning ip address from my gamer days but i’m a pretty big noob otherwise.

    Sometimes the devices ‘connect’ but fail to assign me an ip address. So I manually change the ip address to and it seems to connect.

    I dont know much about channels etc.

    Please help! This has been a 3 month battle!

  2. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    Google "homemade wifi antenna" and/or similar terms.

    There are also commercially-made wifi antennas that are directional, and have some gain. I used to use a pair in the US and got well over .25 mile, solid connection, wireless G. You can probably find something like these antennas there in Turkey (isn't that where you are?).
  3. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    It's generally illegal to piggyback WiFi. Why not buy or rent a 3G to WiFi hotspot or tethering plan for one of your iPhones?
  4. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    Sounds like your building owner is giving you the runaround. I assume you are in Turkey from the Everest link you gave.

    There is more than one ADSL provider in Turkey. While the underlying infrastructure is laid by the Turk-Telekom, there are many internet service providers that will happily give you the service you need. It is impossible for your building owner to be in a tiff with all of them.

    Aside from the Turk-Telekom operated TTNET, check with Superonline, Doruknet, DSmart, Doping, Kablonet and also the Cellphone operators like Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea as they sell 3G based access points with data plans.
  5. MacbookOverseas thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2014
    Re legality- I do have permission from the cafe owners to use their internet. They know my situation.

    Re 3G plans- good idea however they all have data limits. The biggest 3G data plan is capped @ 15GB down and it's expensive.

    This would work but the cap makes it not worth it for our usage.
  6. MacbookOverseas thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2014
    Sounds like you know Turkey well!

    Unfortunately I've contacted SuperOnline and Dsmart etc and they've all given me the same answer: Turk-Telekom is the only company that can lay the initial line to an apartment. Because we have no underlying infrastructure connecting our building's telephone box to the main line we're out of luck. There are competing Internet providers but they use the line laid by Turk-Telekom.

    In the process I've made some great friends at Turk-Telekom which is a plus :)

    Are you familiar with Everest products? I'm running the antenna on Asus software (same chipset).

    I have an asus n66u router. Any experience plugging an antenna into routers and rebroadcasting the signal in house?


    Thanks monokakata!
    Good advice. The antenna I have are working pretty well but are unstable. Are there any settings I can tweak to try and make the signal more stable?
    Also, do you have an experience plugging a wireless adaptor antenna into a router to rebroadcast signal? (I guess I could make a router a waypoint and get login info from the cafe owner?)
  7. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Have you thought about getting something for the friendly cafe owners that would boost the signal at their end?
  8. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    There's something I don't quite understand. The Asus seems to be a stand-alone wireless adapter that connects to a computer via USB. My question is -- are you bypassing your n66u wireless router and going right out to the cafe signals by plugging that antenna into your computer?

    I ask because you'd hardly be the first person who thought he was connecting along one route but was in fact connecting along another -- for example, is there any chance at all that what's happening is that the Asus is connecting to your router, and your router (independently) is connecting to the cafe? If so, then the gain the Asus provides is wasted, because it's not being put where you need it (to get across the street).

    Maybe there's a social solution. Have you had a look at what kind of equipment the cafes are using? Maybe it's old, or maybe it's low-end. If so, maybe they'd consider a deal whereby you buy a new, hotshot wireless router for them, and in return they place it in the cafe where it does you the most good (without killing cafe coverage, of course). Maybe they could put it near a window -- something like that.
  9. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    Unfortunately I don't have a first hand experience with Everest products.

    However, what you describe happens when the signal level is low, and/or the noise level is high. I've experienced the exact situation trying to repeat the signal across my garden. Even manually assigning an IP address does not always solve the problem, unless you improve the signal quality at the source.

    Additionally, as you mention that the signal drops from time to time also points the finger in the direction of the signal strength.

    Therefore, before you invest into repeaters or modems at your end, analyse the signal you get from the cafe. One way to do this is to hold down the alt/option key and click on the WiFi icon on the task bar. This will give you the RSSI reading and also the connect rate. RSSI reading should be a number smaller than 50 ideally, and the connect rate tells you if you have a useful connection. Any rate less than 5 is practically useless in my experience.

    There is also a free handy program called iStumbler, which also gives you a pretty good idea about the properties of the signal and give you a time plot, so you can watch if the signal comes and goes.

    The channel selection is up to the broadcasting modem and there is very little you can do about it. FYI, the 2.4 GHz band has a better penetration than the 5GHz band and the lower the channel number is, the better it is for going through walls and obstacles. However, the 2.4 GHz is also crowded and prone to interference from other sources.

    Also, please check this device:

    Seems like it can help you. Also, if you order from their website, they deliver it to your address and if it doesn't work, or you don't like it, you can return it within 15 days. (Keep the invoice and the boxes as neatly as possible. Read the relevant section in their website).

    Anyway, it seems like your problems are about to be solved with the newly formed friendship with the guy from Turk-Telekom. 3 months is a long time to suffer with this problem.

    Good luck.
  10. MacbookOverseas thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2014
    Thank you SO SO SO much for the thoughtful response! I so appreciate the help. I've been reading MacRumors for years but never made an account and i'm glad I did!

    The newest update: I had an Asus N66U router that I thought was bricked because the power adaptor fell out when I was installing the newest firmware. Long story short, I got it working with the help of a friend and it's rocking! I set it up as a repeater and its rebroadcasting a cafe's internet quite well!! I'm able to connect consistently!

    Thanks everyone for the help! And to make the news even better, turns our some more people from my apartment have applied for internet so the instillation is looking more and more promising!

    I'll download that program you mentioned and see what kind of signal i'm getting

    Big thanks to bingeciren and monokakata

  11. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Happy to read your issue is solved. I had rather good results using an Alfa wifi adapter with a slightly upgraded antenna. Remember the higher gain an omnidirectional antenna has, the more they emit and receive in a "flat disk" fashion, rather than a sphere.

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