View Full Version : Wi Fi Antennas and Boosters

Tony B
10-25-2013, 08:25 AM
Hi folks. I haven't been on here in a while. Still trying to get ready to take-off.

Has anyone here had any practical experience with Wi Fi antennas range extenders?
I have been using my Verizon Mobile Hotspot and the cost is killing me. The only time I ever used a 'foreign' source for internet has been at motels and in McDonalds. LaQuinta motel has a password and McDonalds doesn't. So my questions are:
1). How practical are these antennas and boosters? When in a civilized areas along river banks, is it relatively easy to get on Wi-Fi with these. I will be travelling the ICW from Texas to Alabama and then going inland to Ky.
2). I plan on spending up to about $300, will this be in the ball park?
3). What kind of places do you typically get your Wi Fi from when using your antenna/booster?
Thanks in advance

10-25-2013, 08:52 AM
Look over on www.boatered.com/forum. There are several threads about this very topic.

10-25-2013, 09:32 AM
I use this with pretty good results

Our marina has shared wi-fi with access points spread across the dock. None of them are close to our slip, so I use this device so we can get signal inside the cabin. I put mine on the flybridge under the canvas to get it up high. It works pretty well during the slow times but is not reliable when the dock is crowded. That is mostly because the marina's internet gets overloaded.

If you are out away from the crowds and can pick up an open wi-fi, this would be worth a try. You may be able to find one at your local Walmart.

10-25-2013, 10:39 AM
I am a network engineer by trade. Are you looking at trying to connect to someone's wifi from a distance or extend your own?

10-25-2013, 02:29 PM
I've got one of those $25 Chinese Ebay antennas and it does a good job for about a half mile if theres nothing in between. I use it in parking lots while my wife shops. Really "There ain't no free lunch".

10-28-2013, 06:28 PM
I am a network engineer by trade. Are you looking at trying to connect to someone's wifi from a distance or extend your own?

Yes! That is, I would like to be able to pick up our own Wi-Fi from our house about 50 feet from the dock, and if we ever really go somewhere, it would be ever so lovely to pick up somebody else's WiFi from marinas and others along the way. We have some sort of super antenna near the upstairs computer that does get the WiFi signal to most of our house, but it doesn't seem to help once we wander very far out in the back yard.

10-29-2013, 07:42 AM

The unit I mentioned is just what you need.

Got any updates on the boat?

10-29-2013, 06:07 PM
Chinese E-bay thing for $25? Sounds good! Got a link?

And yes, it's been quite a while since we updated the website. Got to add that to the list of things to do. Not that the results are all that impressive, but progress is being made, albeit at a snail's pace. We're still having fun with it.

11-01-2013, 07:08 PM

This one won't break the bank and should do what you require. Takes 10/15 days to get here from China


Tony B
11-08-2013, 06:28 AM
I am a network engineer by trade. Are you looking at trying to connect to someone's wifi from a distance or extend your own?

JT, I am looking at connecting to someone elses wi fi. I know in most cases it wont help because most are password protected. I just bought an Amped 8db Omni-directional antenna and a wireless router. The entire set-up cost me about $170 cable and all. I am picking up signals about 1/4 mile away and they fade in and out. Not anywhere near the advertised distance. For someone looking to pick up signals in their own marina, this would work great. Buying a directional antenna would be worlds better.
This whole thread came about because I am a live-aboard and in this marina, there is no wi fi available.
I currently have Verizon cell service and their mobile 'hot spot' to create my own wi fi for internet service. THE COST is KILLING ME!!!! - over $300/mo. phone bill for 2 phones and the mobile hotspot. We use an average of 12 to 14 GB data usage per month. Of the $300 + phone bill, about $150 or so is just for the wi fi. I don't pay the bills, the Admiral does so I don't remember the exact figure. Anyway, yesterday I wandered into Radio Shack and asked if they had anything better than the antenna/router set-up I just installed.

Sooooooooooo, back to my original question - what can I do to make my wi fi antenna set-up better?
Why does the router have 2 antenna's? on of which I removed and plugged in the Wi Fi antenna in it's place.
With the 2 antennas, I was told that it didn't matter which one I removed. Is this true?

Thanks in advance.
Turns out, they just introduced a new cell service. For $70/ month there is unlimited internet service with 'hot spot'. They use Cricket and Sprint towers. Of course, I had to buy a new phone to do this. So after my trade in on an older phone which I didn't use anymore. I walked out the door with a new phone and their new service for $170 including my first month's $70 service charge and my old phone swap. The unlimited data is for 10 GB data usage at full speed and anything over that at reduced speed. This will be a savings of around $80/ mo. for me. This is also a 'No Contract' deal. Yesterday afternoon, I shut down my Verizon 'hot spot' and am now working off the Radio Shack 'hot spot'. I see no difference in internet speed - YET. I will know more after I use up my 10GB data and go onto reduced speed. My normal monthly Verizon period ends on the 25th of the month.
If this works out well. I will drop my Verizon internet service (Buy-out at $140). I will still keep the Antenna set-up so when on the water, I might be able to get into someone elses wi fi.