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bobkoure
2009-03-01, 10:51
I just ran across a free antenna project (http://freeantennas.com/projects/template/) that some folks here might find of interest.
I've not done this for myself (hardwires all through the house) but have built reflectors (not of this design) for friends. These look as though they'd work better.

Club1820
2009-03-04, 21:59
I had come across this awhile back. Always wondered if this actually worked. So if anyone here tries it, please post the results. If it does work, this obviously would help those Squeeze users who get poor reception.

Goodsounds
2009-03-04, 23:14
I use something like this (see the corner reflector at freeantennas.com). I get significant signal boost to help me resolve a challenging house/wall layout situation.

Since I started using the signal reflectors, on the few occasions when I have had dropouts or signal problems, it has always been the case that someone or something has bumped the reflectors to change their aim. A simple straightening fixes the problem.

Several friends have also adopted this "technology" with favorable results. So yes, they do work.

iPhone
2009-03-05, 08:14
I just ran across a free antenna project (http://freeantennas.com/projects/template/) that some folks here might find of interest.
I've not done this for myself (hardwires all through the house) but have built reflectors (not of this design) for friends. These look as though they'd work better.

In principle these designs all tend to improve signal strength to a specific area that the antenna is pointed at with the drawback being a decrease in overall coverage due to directionality and poor backside coverage due to front to back ratios.

I do see several issues with the article. The first is that painting the project is something that should be avoided. Also the article says that one reason for doing this was to improve WiFi security, which this antenna will not do. For any security gained from the poor backside performance is far out weighed by the new front side signature. The antenna is actually making it easier for somebody that is WarDriving to access the signal with the directional high gain antennas they use.

On the positive side, the use of these type antennas can help when one can't put the access point in the center of the area to be covered. In an example where the access point is at one end of the house these antennas are a means to get signal to the other side of the home. They also help the neighbor to the backside of the antenna by lowering any possible interference to other WiFi networks again because of the poor backside pattern. The new pattern from the parabolic will not be reaching outside the house into the neighbor’s yard/house, as would an omni antenna located near an outside wall. Of course, if one has a short house length wise the opposite is true of the other neighbor as one would be blasting them with WiFi coverage.

Personally, before I would undertake one of these antenna projects, I would look into what it would take to place the WiFi Router/AP at the proper central point to cover the area required. In my case, it was as simple as running coax cable to the closet under the stairs, putting in a shelf to set my cable modem and wireless router on, and now my AP is in the center of the house. Remember, there is no requirement to have ones DSL/Cable Modem right next to ones computer. A simple Ethernet cable run or WiFi card is all that is needed to get that PC in the bedroom online.

I have built many of these antennas (not for WiFi use but other projects) as well as used commercial versions to “light up” building interiors that had poor network coverage due to poor line of site with data network towers. The solution is to point a Yagi antenna on the roof at the nearest network tower, run low loss coax down to the problem floor, attach the coax to a BDA (bi-directional RF amplifier), attach a coax to the other side of the BDA and attach that feedline to a parabolic or panel antenna to light up the floor with coverage. The handheld data units now see the outside network and can send and receive data.

Goodsounds
2009-03-05, 09:51
iphone,
You're right that having the wireless AP in a central location is best. For many, that's a difficult or impractical approach.

One can prepare (or pay to have someone prepare) a central location with incoming signal wire, electricity, shelving, etc, if that is possible in your home. All of that takes time, money, and knowledge that most people don't have. Alternatively, one can spend 10 minutes and $0 with these ersatz solutions of cardboard and aluminum foil and solve the problem. Without risking electrocution or burning your house down.

There was an article in the NY Times within the last few weeks about low/no tech solutions to high tech problems, and do-it-yourself wifi antennas were mentioned.

iPhone
2009-03-05, 12:31
iphone,
You're right that having the wireless AP in a central location is best. For many, that's a difficult or impractical approach.

One can prepare (or pay to have someone prepare) a central location with incoming signal wire, electricity, shelving, etc, if that is possible in your home. All of that takes time, money, and knowledge that most people don't have. Alternatively, one can spend 10 minutes and $0 with these ersatz solutions of cardboard and aluminum foil and solve the problem. Without risking electrocution or burning your house down.

There was an article in the NY Times within the last few weeks about low/no tech solutions to high tech problems, and do-it-yourself wifi antennas were mentioned.

Your absolutely right, which is why I said that most people should just take a minute to think and see how easy or how hard it is to put the AP where it should really be. But how much knowledge and how hard is it for somebody to put a small shelf on a wall and extend a coax cable or phone line. I will tell you, not much. Closets with lights are simple, unscrew the light bulb and screw in an outlet/bulb holder and one has power and light.

I don't believe very many people (if any) have ever been electrocuted by pulling a run of coax cable or Ethernet cable in their home that was wired by a certified electrician when the house was built.

I guess my real point was two fold. Many people have the silly notion that the cable/DSL modem and WiFi router have to be beside their PC and many people are just to lazy to do it right the first time so they look for ways to get around doing it right which can take up more time and energy. The engineer in me will not let me not do it correctly. Sure, I have put up something temporary while I am installing/working on the final setup, but again that's just temporary.

My better half would probably kill me if the AP were visible, much less if it was visible with some huge ugly homemade antenna on it.

Goodsounds
2009-03-05, 15:13
The engineer in me will not let me not do it correctly.
I think it's more a matter of personal preference than correct vs incorrect, don't you think? We've each simply solved a similar problem a different way. My solution works, so does yours.

iPhone
2009-03-05, 16:56
I think it's more a matter of personal preference than correct vs incorrect, don't you think? We've each simply solved a similar problem a different way. My solution works, so does yours.

Sorry, that's not what I meant or how I wanted it to sound. I meant the engineer in my never lets me set something up except in the best possible setup. Meaning if the AP should be in the center of the area wishing to be covered, there is a solution to make that happen and the engineer in me finds it and works it out.

Both solutions work, but some would agree that the best solution is a centered AP and even though the parabolic antenna mimics an appoxamation of the same thing, in the end there are differences. Most of the time, the differences will not matter, but sometimes they will. And I think I was getting at that what works for who is doing it is all that really matters. It was never meant to sound like I'm right everybody else is wrong. There are too many different ways to get the job done, it's just that darn engineer thing in me making me do it the "ideal" way, which is the word I should have used.

Goodsounds
2009-03-05, 17:23
the engineer in my never lets me set something up except in the best possible setup.


it's just that darn engineer thing in me making me do it the "ideal" way, which is the word I should have used.

I'll hope that the "enlightened engineer" in you will recognize that your solution to a problem, any problem, isn't anything more than YOUR solution. Not ideal, not best, just yours. Nothing wrong with that.