I managed to dig out some money lately to buy a few gadgets and bits of kit, so you’ll probably see a few reviews on various items in the next few days. But first of all, I’ve got this 9DBi wireless router antenna.
I bought it simply because the little antenna that came with my D-Link DSL-2640B doesn’t quite cut it in my house. For some reason, the signal it emits just isn’t powerful enough to cover the whole of my small house, so I decided it was time for an upgrade.
After a quick search around on eBay, I found this. It is really a pretty good deal at just £6.99 so if you are having signal problems, I suggest you get one.
Most routers generally come with either built in antennas or removable ones. You are lucky if you have a removable one, because you can upgrade it. Sadly, built in antennas aren’t replaceable so you’ll just have to live with the poor signal range or just buy a new router.
If you do have a removable antenna on your router, you’ll be glad to know that you can use a wide range of different antennas. The most common type of antenna that is fitted to most routers by default is omnidirectional. This means that they broadcast in all directions – great if your router is in the center of your house but not so great if its in the corner of the house since a good 30-40% of your wireless power will be wasted going through the wall out of your house. You can get antennas that point in one direction, but these are less common and more expensive. Unless you’re really desperate, I’d suggest you stick to omnidirectional.
Another thing you’ll need to understand is the rating of the antenna. Most routers come with an antenna of about 3-5DBi which is fine for a small modern house. However you can get antennas up to about 9DBi which are much more powerful. Bare in mind they are much bigger than 3DBi antennas and you won’t be impressed if you want don’t like the look of your gadgets. F0r example, the one I now have (see eBay link above) is 37.5cm high so it will be quite hard to hide.
They are definitely worth the upgrade though. I am very impressed with mine, as the signal range is much better and I get much fewer disconnections which is good. The only thing I’m a little puzzled about is that my router says to lower the transmit power of the router if I install a high gain antenna – but why should I, doesn’t that just defeat the point of buying a more powerful antenna? Little odd.
Anyway, so yes, if you do experience wireless signal issues try getting a new antenna. Check that you can replace your antenna before you buy one for obvious reasons. If you can, you might find this makes a big difference.
I know this is a year old but just thought I’d say about lowering the transmit power.
Legal requirements on WiFi EIRP (the amount of power you put out *after* the antenna gain) is usually put out with a stock antenna.
Should you replace the antenna with a higher-gain one then to remain legal you should lower the output power! 🙂
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