Have you ever wondered how people can boost the range and signal strength of their WiFi connections? Most of the time, they use hardware that is capable of boosting radio signals, typically a form of antenna. The typical wireless access point is capable of broadcasting a signal up to 300 feet away in all directions. However, they are omni-directional, which means that the signal is the same in all directions, therefore weakening the overall signal strength. Adding a directional antenna, which focuses the signal at a particular area, can help increase the signal strength and distance. Boosting wireless LAN signals is a fairly easy task, but only if you know what to buy.
The main problem with wireless local area networks is that they have “dead spots,” areas that are outside the reach of the wireless network. This is common with large office buildings. To rectify this problem, companies have made devices known as extenders which can boost the signal strength and distance. They work by adding antennas to the original access point device, which are capable of transmitting a stronger signal. The larger the antenna, the more gain it has, which means that it can transmit a much stronger signal.
There are two types of antennas that can be added to a wireless access point: directional and omni-directional. An omni-directional antenna transmits in all directions, boosting wireless LAN signals equally in all areas within its sphere. Directional antennas, on the other hand, transmit the WiFi signal in only a single direction; however, said signal is much more powerful and can reach a larger distance than an omni-directional antenna.
How does one know whether to buy a directional or omni-directional antenna? This depends on whether a person needs a signal boost in a particular area or over an entire sector of a building. The typical office building can benefit more from an omni-directional extender if the access point is located in the middle. If the access point is at the side of a building, however, a directional extender would be more helpful, because the signal would spread out in the direction the antenna is pointed at.
Anybody can find a good extender for boosting wireless LAN signals at an electronics store or online. The thing to remember is the difference between a directional and an omni-directional extender. Directional antennas focus the signal in one direction, but has a stronger signal over a longer distance. Omni-directional antennas boost the signal strength over all directions equally, but has a shorter range than directional antennas.