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Re: [LUG] extend pick up range on hotel wireless set up


On 27/01/14 18:57, Eion MacDonald wrote:
> Dear Folk, 20140127
> I use a motel in London frequently (close to my daughter's home in an
> area where we used to live) which has safe parking.
> The motel has free (unencrypted!) wifi in bar, reception and adjoining pub.
> Using a 'newish' laptop Dell E6530 on last trip rather than my more
> ancient laptop, I found I could get a 'reasonable reception' for evening
> check of emails in a room close to reception, which had never occurred
> before and motel has not changed its wifi set up in 7 years (b,g standard).
> This begs the question, is receiving set up important for distance
> reception? Would an investment in (at say less than GBP 50) get a
> wireless dongle with good pick up?
> Motel is down market and GBP£50 would be equivalent of one night's extra
> fee in nearby "hotel" with room reception.
> Any thoughts?
> Thanks in advance.
> Data: Windows 7 Pro (OpenSUSE in Virtual Drive with VM), DELL  E6530, i7
> 3520 2-core 22nm , 4GB RAM, Intel 4000 graphics, Intel PROset Wifi
> Intel Centrino Advanced N-6205 device

God yes, the antenna on your receiving side makes all of the difference:
modern laptops with decent chipsets and even internal antennas have
massively improved range over old gear, often by an amazing amount. The
crappy built-in wifi on my crappy netbook can see 2 or 3 wifi networks
from my desk here, as soon as I plug in a couple of extra USB dongles or
just grab the girlfriend's MacBook, that jumps up to ~20 immediately. I
inherited and modified a Buffalo* directional antenna with a pigtail for
wardriving/wifi pentesting and the same netbook thus equipped can easily
sniff networks from over a mile away, reliably.

If you don't mind getting a bit hands on, you can go absolutely crazy on
this: build a 'cantenna', get an Atheros chipset based
USB/PCMCIA/whatever dongle, crack the protective plastic covering off it
and build a pigtail lead to connect them together. I won't link to any
resources, the internet is literally full of cantenna build information.

Now, obviously, you're going to get arrested if you start lurking around
London motels with gigantic diy antennas hanging off a laptop so you
could buy any off-the-shelf much smaller directional antenna (the ones
I've seen look similar to a ballpoint pen) and connect that to your
modded stick instead.

The easier, less-likely-to-get-you-arrested but more expensive option
would be to just shell out cash for something like this:


No idea if it would fit into your £50 budget though - presumably not.


*This isn't the exact model, but it's one like this:

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