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Do WiFi Long Distance Antennas Really Extend a Home Network Signal?

written by: John Garger•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 12/26/2010

Many home wireless network users complain of poor or intermittent signals. Long distance antennas can help boost the signal of your wireless network. Learn whether a long distance antenna can extend the WiFi signal in your home or home office wireless network.

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    WiFi wireless networking is so common in homes and home offices that it is often a standard feature in many networking packages from the major providers. However, wireless networking can be tricky business. Until you set up a wireless network in your home, you never know what kind of signal you will get from the equipment.

    Long distance antennas and boosters are available for those who get poor or intermittent signals and for those who need to extend the distance of the WiFi signal throughout a particularly large home. Read on to learn all about extending your wireless signal with a WiFi long distance antenna.

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    WiFi Signals and the Need for an Antenna

    Many factors affect the Wifi signal from wireless network equipment. The actual signal strength put out by the equipment is one, but other factors such as the size of the area you want to use the signal and environmental factors such as interference also play a role.

    The relationship between WiFi signal and distance from the transmitter is a quadratic one. This means that if you double the distance from the transmitter, you decrease the signal by a factor of four, not two. Not surprisingly, the farther you are from the transmitter, the worse the signal gets.

    WiFi was never designed for long distance use. It is great for home and home office applications and works well in cyber cafes and other so-called hot spots. The typical WiFi transmitter using either 802.11b or 802.11g technology is good for about 30-40 feet indoors and about 90-100 feet outdoors. Enough for most applications, but certain environmental conditions can drastically reduce these numbers.

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    Long Distance WiFi Antenna

    Linksys WRE54G WiFi Booster You can easily extend the strength of a WiFi signal by boosting it with a long distance WiFi antenna. A relatively cheap, plug-and-play long distance antenna can make all the difference in particularly large homes or homes not friendly to WiFi signals.

    Here’s how a WiFi antenna (sometimes called a wireless range extender) works. Your wireless access point or router sends out a signal that is received by your desktop computer, laptop, printer, or any other component that is part of your wireless network. The WiFi antenna, some distance away from the access point, receives the signal and sends it out again effectively extending the range of the signal. Some antennas will also boost the signal depending on their features and how you set them up.

    One great advantage of using a long distance WiFi antenna is the faster download and upload speeds achieved by using the booster. Many wireless owners are unaware that the strength of the WiFi signal is directly correlated with the speed with which data is transferred. The stronger the signal, the faster your Internet downloads and uploads speeds will be.

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    Conclusion

    Long distance WiFi antennas are great for when you are experiencing a weak or intermittent signal from your wireless access point. If you are often dropped from your wireless network, consider that you need to boost the WiFi signal with a WiFi antenna. Some homes and environmental conditions are not conducive to WiFi signals so boosting the signal may be your only option to achieving a pleasant wireless experience.

    In the second article in this series, learn about the Top 5 WiFi long distance antennas and boosters for your home or home office wireless network.

WiFi Antennas and the Top 5 WiFi Boosters

If the WiFi signal in your home wireless network is poor or intermittent, you may benefit from a long distance WiFi antenna. Learn about whether a WiFi booster would help you and about the Top 5 WiFi antennas for home and home office.
  1. Do WiFi Long Distance Antennas Really Extend a Home Network Signal?
  2. The Best WiFi Antennas for Home and Home Office Wireless Networks