This is a topic that has received a LOT of coverage. If you look on the ‘Articles’ page of our website, you’ll see a listing of 23 articles about Wi-Fi and at least 7 of them discuss what you can do to make it work better. There are lots of factors in Wi-Fi, and you don’t have control over many of them. What you DO have control over is your own system, and the best thing you can own is a USB type of Wi-Fi adapter. You need a USB adapter if you know you’re near a Wi-Fi hotspot, but you see little or no signal at your computer. Or, there is enough signal to get connected, but the speed fluctuates and even drops you. If you plug in a USB type of adapter, you can position that adapter in the best location and, almost always, improve the quality of your connection.
What exactly is the product I’m recommending? Well, there are lots of them. I sometimes hear people refer to them as ‘boosters’, but they’re really not. They stand on their own, they don’t ‘boost’ another piece of equipment. Most people today use the Wi-Fi capability that is built in to their computer. What I’m saying is, ‘Turn the built-in feature OFF, and plug in a USB adapter to use instead. The table below shows some samples from the Web. Our current favorite is the Engenius because it is high-powered (200milliwats) and because you can attach an external antenna if you want even more. If you want me to show you how to turn off your built-in Wi-Fi, go to our website at www.geeksontour.com, see the section in the left sidebar for ‘Computer Training Videos’? Click on the ‘More ‘ section and you should see ‘Turn off your Internal Wi-Fi‘.
EnGenius ENG-EUB-362EXT Wireless LAN USB 2.0 Adapter
Wireless-G USB 2.0
|$73 at OnlineSupplyStore.com||$49 at BestBuy.com|
|WaveRV-G Adapter 802.11 B/G Outdoor mounted||Zyair G-202 USB 2.0 Adapter|
|$169.95 RadioLabs.com||$36.77 at Amazon.com|
There have been times when we have sold adapters ourselves, but it’s rare, the products and suppliers just change too frequently for our taste! You can find these online at the websites noted, or just go to any computer and networking supply store and ask for a USB Wireless Network Adapter. 802.11(b or g) is the technical specification that means Wi-Fi and 2.4 gigaherz is the Wi-Fi standard frequency. USB simply refers to the way it connects to your computer – thru a USB port.
Don’t be swayed by the claims of faster speeds – e.g. ‘B’s are 11mbps and ‘G’s are 54mbps – those speeds are only referring to ‘within the local network’ speeds. Once you start browsing the Internet, you will be limited to the Internet connection speed which will be less than 3mbps. When looking at detailed specifications, power and range are much more important than speed. Almost any USB adapter will be an improvement over your internal because you can position it to have the clearest line-of-sight to the Wi-Fi Hotspot’s Access point.
If you are close to the Hotspot’s access point, you shouldn’t need the USB adapter. Your built-in Wi-Fi will work fine if you’re within 150 feet or so and have no obstructions. If that’s not the case, and you’re having trouble, a USB wireless adapter will help.
If you’re coming to the FMCA convention in Redmond, please attend our ‘High Speed Internet on the Road’ seminar Monday 10am in Seminar 8 or Thursday at 8am in Seminar 4. We discuss this in detail. If not, you can download the seminar handout from our website (www.geeksontour.com) on the Wireless Internet page.