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Booster modem and antenna improves Wi-Fi reception

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A friend of ours came to our door last week and shared some useful information. Our winter resort, Sandpipers, has several WiFi antennas. From time to time one of the units will drop out. Knowing I had been having difficulty with the unit nearest to our lot he suggested we try a modem and antenna he had been using. I said sure, let me see how it works. I loaded the software and installed the modem. Now I was able to connect to any of three park antennas even though I was located quite far from one of them. I had good strong signal at an antenna that was 1000 feet away! So if one antenna went off line for one reason or another, I could connect to another that was still working! Instead of seeing three or four WiFi signals from other computers and the park system, I now was seeing 20 or so signals from other computers and every antenna in the park.

I looked for something like this several years ago when we were touring British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska. Campgrounds with WiFi seldom had strong signals and I would have to go to the office to get signal. It was better than having to connect to a phone line but still less convenient than working from the motor home. I went to a computer shop then looking for exactly what I had now! They said there was nothing available. I assume this product has appeared in the last two years.

The modem is an ALFA Network wireless USB adapter, Model AWUS036H. It puts out a 500 mW signal and greatly improves reception. My friend ordered a larger antenna, 12 inches, to replace the 3 inch antenna that comes with the ALFA modem. Both items were less than $80 including shipping.

He purchased these through Pasadena Networks, LLC www.wlanparts.com

If you are frequently experiencing marginal WiFi reception, I heartily recommend this modem and antenna. The modem works with Windows systems through Vista and Mac OS.

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This looks like a powerful (500 mW) WiFi adapter. I looked at the specs and they don't mention Vista. Do you know for sure that it has Vista drivers?

I wrote an article that includes a couple other sample USB Wi-Fi adapters. The engenius is especially nice because you can take off the little antenna that comes with it, and plug in an even better one if you want.

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Yes, it has Vista drivers. I am using it with Vista right now. As I mentioned this one came with a small three inch antenna and we ordered a 12 inch antenna to replace it because my friend found the larger antenna significantly improved the range.

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Yes, it has Vista drivers. I am using it with Vista right now. As I mentioned this one came with a small three inch antenna and we ordered a 12 inch antenna to replace it because my friend found the larger antenna significantly improved the range.

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I found your comments about a USB wireless modem to capture WiFi weak signals helpful.

We recently stayed in a campground on Long Key, FL in the FLA Keys and you had to go to the cantina or the office for WiFi. It was an inconvenience.

I am amazed that if I had one of the below units I could have had WiFi in my motorhome.

I have researched both the Alfa and the Engenius units but you did not mention the brand of antenna that you bought to replace the mini antanna that came with the Alfa unit.

You indicated that the Alfa can be used with Windows Vista but I didn't actually see it listed on any of the specs that I looked at.

I also didn't see Vista listed on the Engenius either but apparently it is as the other person mentioned it in his reply to you.

Please let me know what antenna that you bought and I am assuming that you purchased it at Pasadena Networks also.

Thank you.

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I found your comments about a USB wireless modem to capture WiFi weak signals helpful.

We recently stayed in a campground on Long Key, FL in the FLA Keys and you had to go to the cantina or the office for WiFi. It was an inconvenience.

I am amazed that if I had one of the below units I could have had WiFi in my motorhome.

I have researched both the Alfa and the Engenius units but you did not mention the brand of antenna that you bought to replace the mini antanna that came with the Alfa unit.

You indicated that the Alfa can be used with Windows Vista but I didn't actually see it listed on any of the specs that I looked at.

I also didn't see Vista listed on the Engenius either but apparently it is as the other person mentioned it in his reply to you.

Please let me know what antenna that you bought and I am assuming that you purchased it at Pasadena Networks also.

Thank you.

Pat60,

I want to stress that this will improve your signal, it may not help in every situation. It all depends on the strength of the signal and how far away you are from the source. I can say that it made it possible for me to use signals that I couldn't even see before. I don't know about the Engenius but the Alfa does work with Vista. Unfortunately, I don't have a model or any identifying information on the antenna. If you were to contact Pasadena Networks and talk to them, they should be able to help you with questions about the Alfa and should be able to suggest the replacement antenna. Yes, the antenna came from Pasadena Networks and I believe they recommended it to my neighbor.

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Thank you very much for replying to my question of which antenna to buy with the Alfa adapter. I definitely was going to ask Pasadena which antenna to purchase along with the unit.

And I do realize that this may not work in all situations but at least I have the unit to try when I find myself in a situation like I did at the campground on Long Key, FL when the WiFi was in the office and cantina only.

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