pcmcia external antenna
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Thread: pcmcia external antenna

  1. #1
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
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    pcmcia external antenna

    I have recently aquired a new Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop. I have purchased a netgear wg511 pcmcia wifi card. It was all I could afford at the moment. I have the laptop dual booting xp pro and fedora core 3. I have no complaints about the setup except for the wifi range.

    I pick up wifi APs all over. My gf recently moved into a house purchased by a mutual friend. While I was over there painting last night I took a break and took out the laptop. I fired up kismet and found 5 unprotected WAPs with links around 50%. (they all had default SSIDs, even the admin pwds had not been changed.) These are townhomes and are very close to each other. I took my pocketpc and found approximately where they were.

    The are all right near her house. I spoke with one neighbor and asked them if they had a wifi connection and he confirmed that he did. I asked him if it was ok if I used his connection since it was so close and I told him I would only use it for surfing and email and such. Since I will only be there on the weekend, I didn't want to get a broadband internet conenction for myself. I refuse to go back to dial up... I'd rather just go home to use my own connection. I won't bog down his line and use too much bandwidth. (its a cable connection 3mbps down 384kbps up) However, the siginal goes in and out and am looking for a way to boost the connection. I know when certain cards you can attach external antennas... but with this one, you can't. Well, without taking it apart and soldering a N connector. I don't want to tear it apart because its still under warranty.

    I was wondering if anyone has seen anything that attaches to the end of a card that would increase the signal? I would think that anything attached would have to connect to the current antenna? Or, would the signal "jump" from one to another?

    The other thing I was thinking about doing is buying an wifi range extender.
    http://www.linksys.com/expand/

    The only thing I don't like about that range extender is that it is only compatible with linksys products. I know he has a linksys, but what if I want to use it at a different location that doesn't use a linksys? Then I'm screwed... Not just that, but it has a negative effect on the speed on the "other side" of the extender.... I don't want to screw up anyones speeds... (not like they'll be using 54mbps on the internet...)

    Any opinions? What would you do? Just get the extender? Or, just save and get a better card that I can attach an external antenna?

    Oooh! I just had another idea. Maybe I can just make my own "wifi extender"? Two wifi cards and a small shuttle PC. Expensive, but it would work anywhere and with any APs... hmmm...

    http://www.calibex.com/serv/calibex1...ttle+barebones

    I have plenty of extra hardware to go inside... memory, hds, cdrom, etc.
    Hmm.. this could turn out to be an interesting project. And everyone keeps asking me what I want for x-mas... muhahaha muhahaha
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  2. #2
    Macht Nicht Aus moxnix's Avatar
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    Check this out phish: http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2....id=25608&fp=F#

    It is an a/b style card and the ones I have seen in the past do have an antenna connection on the end of the card. The antenna was in the nieghborhood of $19.95 also, but I don't see why any anteena of the same frequency wouldn't work, as long as the antenna plug in was the same.
    \"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!\"
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  3. #3
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
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    moxnix: holy sh17! thats pretty cheap... and would def do the job. but that might just be too easy for me... I like to make things way more complicated than they need to be. lol

    thanks mox! I should have never wasted the $$ on the card I have... though it has been useful. maybe I can pass it off to someone else who would have better use of it.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Spyrus's Avatar
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    Or return it to the store you got it from....

    On a side note that linksys wireless range expander is a piece. I have tried using them multiple times and they only work about 40% of the time and when I was able to get them to work I had to use external programs to make it even think about work (netstumbler and some various). And then when i did get them to work it didnt boost the signal enough for it to make me happy anyway.


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  5. #5
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    Hey Hey,

    This is a down and dirty sort of solution.. but my old cell phon e(Nokia 5125 (same as the 5160)) used to act as a great extender.. We would sit in the Student Centre (which didn't have wireless) but we weren't overly far from our IT building (which did have wireless).. if we put the cell phone against the wireless card, it would be enough of a boost that we could pick up the wireless and surf while in the SC.

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  6. #6
    Macht Nicht Aus moxnix's Avatar
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    I was wondering if anyone has seen anything that attaches to the end of a card that would increase the signal? I would think that anything attached would have to connect to the current antenna? Or, would the signal "jump" from one to another?
    if we put the cell phone against the wireless card, it would be enough of a boost that we could pick up the wireless and surf while in the SC.
    It soulds to me like the cellphone either acted like a reflector (unlikely shape for that),or the antenna was very effecient for extending the WI-FI.

    Kind of a neat experiment to try phish is to wrap a piece of wire around the end of your card and leave about 6-8 inches sticking up in the air. Hummmmm....might try that here with my wifes laptop also.


    Edit: Well I tried it on my wifes laptop, but I can't tell if there was much of an increase or not, but I didn't see any signal dropouts like I was seeing. She just has to place the bloody thing in the absolutely worst place in the house.....ie with the most walls and appliences to get through.
    \"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!\"
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  7. #7
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    Wrapping some wire around the card should make it a little better, as long as the cable isn't too long, then the opposite occurs and the signal gets weaker. Well not really weaker but the noise level rises making the receiver less sensititive and unable to extract signal from noise. Also wrapping copper around multiple times induces capacitance so only wrap it once or twice. For 19 buck though, a card with an external antenna is the sheet. In fact thanks Moxnix, couldn't pass that up 19 is good for a refurbished card. I have 5 open gateways in my own neighborhood all lacking access controls. One is for puplic access but the signal is extremely weak, time to play.
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