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Adding an external outdoor antenna to Linksys Wireless Router

Posted on 2007-11-23
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My house is 3-stories high and I have no reception of the wireless router in the third floor.   It is a brick-concrete construction (walls and floor slabs).   The router is located in the basement or let's called first floor.   I cannot route an internet cable to neither the second or the third floor.   I have been reading about power line ethernet hardware but the reviews and comments that I have found are mixed and people say signals fail because of equipment connected to the power grid or even the powerline buds affect other equipments connected to the electrical system.   Can an external wi-fi omni-directional antenna be connected to one of the two Linksys router antenna outputs to extend the coverage of the router without affecting the router's performance?  I was planning on buying one of those omni-directional antennas with approx. 12 or better dBi gain which consist of a straight 90 cms rod locating it outdoors at the second floor level with straight in-line view to the third floor windows.   Will it work?   Can the router work with one external antenna and one little 8" long rabbit-ear like antenna?
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Question by:cybergrizzly
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by:marka_ss
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yes this will work , i have done this project a few times , but not with a linksys router but with other 2 antenna wireless routers. now just a couple of tips ,
over spec your antenna, buy one that will cover more range than u think, and use th biggest antenna ext cable u can find too.

i've also had to install antenna's on the recieving pc too if reception is an issue ,
ie: on a desktop pc with a wireless pci card , i have added a 10' antenna ext cable with a cheaper recieving antenna

hope this helps

/mark
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by:cybergrizzly
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hI, Marka

What do you mean with: "use th biggest antenna ext cable u can find too" ?  I thought the shorter the cable to the wi-fi router the better as signal deteriorates with a lengthy cable.   I will probably use a 10 footer cable or so.   Got any idea of a particular omnidirectional antenna that I can use ?   This distance from the antenna and the laptop or wireless PC would be around around 60 or 70 feet away with a concrete masonry block wall in between (with windows, of course).   Would an omnidirectional antenna with a 12 dBi gain would do?

Your response is highly appreciated.   I will, however, wait and see if another member provides any other input to the question before awarding the points.
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by:marka_ss
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sorry i meant heaviest gauge (low loss ) cable not longest ie: something like this dlink cable: ANT24-ODU1M
http://www.dlink.com/products/cables.asp#

here is a link to 2 antenna's , one is omi directional and the other is directional
http://www.tomauri.com/  search for 3712 and 3734

if your going from basement up to third floor , directional antenna might be better ...
or if you are using omi ( which should work fine 'cause your only going 70 ft ) .
 make a tin shield to go behind/underneath it to help direct the signal up ,
shield should be a little longer than antenna , approx 8 to 10 in. wide with a 90 degree break

hope this helps
/mark

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Author Comment

by:cybergrizzly
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Marka

What do you think of:  
2.4 GHz 12 dBi High Performance Omnidirectional Wireless LAN Antenna
by HyperLink Technologies

http://www.hyperlinktech.com/web/hg2412u.php
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by:wally2k7
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The problem with these systems is the loss in the antenna cable. Such High Frequencies in the coax cause for high loss. As has already been mentioned low loss cable is a must, the lower the better, its worth the £3 - £4 /m.

As for over specing the antenna whilst this is a valid opinion, and very valid in a home user environment there is the security implications. Being aware of the fact that the omni will not be at all selective over which direction it radiates and will be sharing your internet and credit card, and printers, and photo's with your whole neighbourhood. It is a well known fact that WEP is not the most secure of encryption techniques. Something you may wish to bear in mind.

Ideally I would want to run my AP as close to the location of my antenna as possible. Its worth running a little cat 5 to save the cost of the coax etc. You can buy your own cable and connectors which means you can keep the cost, size and loss of the system down to an absolute minimum.

As to location of the antenna, the choice is yours, you can get antennas which you could locate intoors, ceiling antennas wall antennas, magnetic antenna's you name it, you can get them

I hope that all this is of some use, if you feel you would like more information on anything I have, or maybe havn't covered, please feel frr to come back and I will do my best to help.

Best Regards, Rich
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Author Comment

by:cybergrizzly
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Wally2k7

An alternative solution to a more secure system could be a "Powerline Ethernet Bridge" using the house electrical wiring system, such as Trendnet 85Mbps Powerline Fast Ethernet Bridge Model-TPL-202E or  Planet 200Mbps Powerline Model PL-501.   I have read mixed opinions regarding these powerline buds, some people say that domestic devices affect performance or vice-versa.   Any comments ?  It seems to me that the cost of a 12 dBi omni antenna plus cable and fittings and pipe post is close to the cost of buying a set of powerline buds.  With the router rated at 54 Mbps wireless, would the 200Mbps powerline bud not be a valid alternative to go at a higher rate of transmission considering that the actual could even be at 100Mbps ?
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by:wally2k7
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I havn't used the powerline systems myself.

I have worked with them at work and for my parents.

My personal opinion is for the right solution in the right place etc they are the mutt's nut's, We found that the do not work so well through a surge protected socket, certainly not one with commercial grade protection.

You can however hang a switch off of them, and from that switch run additional wired sockets, wireless adapters etc to improve the range throughout the house. Again they are so simple to use, just plug and play.

Realistically for home requirments I think they can be ideal, in a business context, just run a cable!!

Personal opinion obviously.

Regards, Rich
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marka_ss earned 500 total points
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hey cyber grizz that antenna looks fine , i would suggest making a shield as i stated early , wally2k7 says to run a wire is best , which it is , but you stated you cannot run a wire, so go with that antenna and a shield and see what you have for signal stength upstairs, if signal strength is low then u will have to hook up a recieving antenna , as far as security goes yes WEP can be cracked in under 10 min now , so use WPA , and of course change your "key" often , weekly, monthly , what ever works for you , and change your SSID so it has no meaning to you or your router ie: "linksys" router SSID might be "linksys" now joe hacker nows what kind of router you have and can start hacking. and change your router default password . as far as power line hook ups go , they seem to be glitchy, we also have power surges etc where i live so i go with wireless and run UPS on router , modem etc.

/mark
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by:cybergrizzly
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Well, I tried the powerline buds without success and they went back to the store.  They worked with limitations maybe because of my electrical wiring system, or maybe not.  Although I am still debating between finding a way to wire to my attic and then going downward or through the telephone line conduit, but that pipe is already carrying the telephone line and the security alarm wiring.   I will probably go with a directional antenna that I found at www.hyperlinktech.com that gives 30° signal amplitude either vertical or horizontal with a 14 dBi gain.  Hope it works.  In other comments, a salesman in another store told me something that disturbed me and that is that the 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi signal may cause interference with my 2.4 Ghz Cordless telephones.  Mmm, true or false ?

I am accepting Marka´s response and awarding the points because of all his inputs and basic solutions and comments in general
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