How to Get Better Wi-Fi Reception With a Long-Range Antenna & a Wi-Fi Adapter

The Wi-Fi signals sent by your router are similar to radio waves.
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Using a long range Wi-Fi antenna can help to improve your Wi-Fi network's performance over both longer and shorter distances. Long range antennae are designed to focus Wi-Fi signals on a particular area, providing better wireless reception to any network clients in that region. The stronger signal received by these network clients usually makes for faster wireless speeds and a more stable Wi-Fi service.

1 Long Range Transmission

Most regular router antennae are omnidirectional. This means that these antennae transmit Wi-Fi signals in all directions, irrespective of where the network's clients are located. Omnidirectional transmission makes network setup easy, but results in a lot of wasted signal power. Long range antennae, on the other hand, concentrate their signals in a specific direction. This means that any clients in the signal's path usually get a better Wi-Fi reception, as the wireless transmission that reaches their network adapters will be stronger than one from an omnidirectional aerial.

2 Network Setup

The first step in using a long range antenna is to connect the device to your router. You will need a router with external, removable aerials in order to use a long range antenna . Next, you should position your network devices carefully. You must ensure that the antenna is pointing in the direction of the clients you wish to use on the network. If the clients are positioned behind the antenna, they will not receive a Wi-Fi signal.

3 Using the Network

Once your antenna is connected and devices are positioned, you should use your wireless network as you normally would. The router and clients will act in the same way they did before, with signals broadcast by the router's antenna received by your computer's wireless adapter, and vice versa. The only difference will be that the full power of your router's broadcast will be concentrated in the direction of your wireless clients, rather than spread in all directions.

4 Combating Interference

Like all wireless signals, the transmissions produced by long range antennae are subject to wireless interference. In order to get the best reception possible, you should try to combat any interference sources that may affect your network. For example, the signals from radio devices such as baby monitors or cordless phone handsets can adversely affect Wi-Fi transmissions. You should also ensure that your signal does not pass through any metal or brick objects, as they're both poor conductors of electromagnetic signals.

Andy Walton has been a technology writer since 2009, specializing in networking and mobile communications. He was previously an IT technician and product manager. Walton is based in Leicester, England, and holds a bachelor's degree in information systems from the University of Leeds.