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Wireless Adapter


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#1
bfly081

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Dear Geeks to Go,

At my apt, I have been able to pick up a few wireless signals, one of which is from the city's free wireless demonstration. See City of Grand Rapids Wireless Homepage for more information. In the last week, the strongest wireless signal disappeared (I think it might have been from a neighbor that moved), and I am now completely dependent on the city's wireless. The access point for the city's wireless is only a few blocks away--it seems like I should be able to pick it up at my apt, but it goes in and out and the signal strength is very low.

I currently use a Netgear 108 Mbps USB adapter . It works pretty well, though the signal has always been "low" according to the device (even when I was picking it up from next door), and when I plug it in, it always reminds me that I am connecting a "hi-speed device into a non-hi speed USB port".

So, my questions are:

1) Is there another similar device that I can purchase that will provide me with a greater range, so I can pick up the city's wireless signal?

2) What can I do to increase the overall signal strength?

3) Does the "non-hi speed USB port" have anything to do with the signal strength I can pick up? I don't really even know what this means... Should I be doing something about the fact that I don't have hi-speed USB ports?

Let me know...

Thanks,

Bfly
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#2
WinCrazy

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Hi bfly081. You didn't say whether your compter is a deskto or a portable. A portable computer really limits your options.

1) Is there another similar device that I can purchase that will provide me with a greater range, so I can pick up the city's wireless signal?


- Desktop A: Use a PCI wireless adapter card, preferably one that has an antenna at the end of a cable. This way the antenna can be positioned for optimal reception: LINKSYS WUSB54G

- Desktop B: Use a typical PCI wireless card and replace the antenna with a high gain directional antenna.
D-Link DWL-G510
D-Link DWL-M60AT Wireless Indoor Antenna

- Portable: Use a USB wireless adapter that is on the end of a USB cable. This way the antenna can be positioned for optimal reception:

2) What can I do to increase the overall signal strength?


Use a desktop antenna, preferable a high gain directional type.

3) Does the "non-hi speed USB port" have anything to do with the signal strength I can pick up? I don't really even know what this means... Should I be doing something about the fact that I don't have hi-speed USB ports?



No, this would only limit your speed, not the quality of reception. But since the reception is already poor, the data bottleneck is the poor signal.

- Desktop: Install a PCI USB 2.0 adapter card.
SYBA PCI USB 2.0 4+1 port controller card Model SD-V2-5U

- Portable: Install a PCMCIA (PC CARD) USB 2.0 adapter card.
SYBA SD-PCB-USB USB PCMCIA Card 2x USB 2.0

I would suggest working on boosting the signal to acceptable levels before getting a USB 2.0 (high speed) adapter.
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#3
warriorscot

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You can buy or fashion a new ariel to pick up the signal its possible to make your own ariel easily. But stealing your neighbours wifi is rude and theft, if i lived next to you i would have been mightily annoyed if i caught you(which i would) and your next neigbour might notice and rightfully be annoyed, stick with the free stuff and stop stealing.

You can make new ariels from anything pringle tins work surprisingly well, you could of course actually heavan forbid pay for your own internet.
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