Increase those wifi bars as inexpensively as you can!

article #1410, updated 297 days ago

I live in a rather congested wifi neighborhood, there are strong active wifi signals in every house in front and back and next door etcetera. Our wireless routers have all sat next to the exterior wall through which the Cox coax comes through, and for about ten years, through three different wireless router upgrades, I relied on an aluminum flashing sheet placed between the wall and the wireless router, to keep everything as good as possible. Just one room away, line-of-sight through a double doorway without doors, I’d get 3-4 bars only without that sheet. This occurred even though I would check and usually change wifi channels every 3-6 months! The wireless-only Roku is in that room next door, so problems are easy to spot.

Anyway, about a year and a half ago it was wireless-router-buying time again (it has been historically a matter of frustration factor…), and I bought one of these off of eBay:

Initially it was simply a nice, reasonably well-behaved, one-notch improvement over the previous, like all of my previous upgrades. It’s recommendable, but not the purpose of this article. I got four solid bars to the next room over despite the neighborhood, using the flashing, which is what I expected. Still only 2-3 to the bedroom to my sweet wife’s tablet, and worse upstairs. And then I remembered something. Some years before I had bought this pair:

which are standard +9 Dbi wifi antennas, for $20. I had bought them and then realized my router of the time did not have removables. They fit this one. I bought one more, a +12 DBi, to make it three. The originals were the usual stubbies about six inches long, these are more like fourteen.

Five bars in line of sight. Four bars steady everywhere else in the house, including upstairs, and just outside. No flashing anymore. And I haven’t had cause to check wifi environment at all since the better antennas went in.

Wifi devices that have removable antennas, use a very standard connector for those antennas. There are rare exceptions, but the standard is very widespread, especially for indoor models. I will not be buying wireless routers without removable antennas ever again if I have any say in it, and we’ll see if I ever need to replace these antennas!