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Computer Guru's Help

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by esoxhunter, Jun 14, 2011.

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  1. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Well-Known Member

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    Computer Guru

    Recently I purchased a Verizon MIFI internet plan. (4-G). I spend the summer months at a campground in Wisconsin. I receive a weak signal due to where my location is. (My neighbor who is located approximately 200 yards away receives an excellent signal.) My question is can I utilize a "booster antenna" to enhance my signal? Verizon states they can supply a "Network enhancing" system to accomplish this. ($250 !!) I noted that there is an external antenna system that can boost my signal strength. Has anyone had any experience with this? I surely would like to find a more economical signal booster than the one Verizon offers. Thanks a lot. Ed
     
  2. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    You need a repeater, and I don't think that you are going to find a cheap solution.
     
  3. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    If the Mi-Fi device has a port for an external antenna, by all means try it. A decent antenna can usually be had for about $30, but not from Verizon. Check to see who manufactured the unit and get the specs from them. Several companies can supply cables with antennas and there is usually an improvement in signal. The terrain would also determine what decibel range you would need. Hills, Mountains, or tall buildings a lower db would apply. Higher db for flat terrain. Double check the manufacturer's recommendations, but I believe that's pretty much the way it works. I've also made an antenna out of a used Pringles can. Affix a cheap antenna inside the base of the tube and point it to the tower for the best signal. Also, does your neighbor have 4G or 3G. Different networks and different coverage. If you are on a 4G only, you may be limited in coverage. 3G seems to have wider coverage at the moment.
     
  4. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    The Verizon 4G is backwards compatible with 3G.

    Are there any other wireless radio signals bouncing around that may be concentrated in that particular area (baby monitors, cordless phones, etc)?

    Call Verizon and find out where the best tower is located there. Then find a window pointed in that direction and place your device there and see if you get a better signal. If that solves the problem, then good. If you don't get a better signal, you can build a reflector with a cardboard tube. You can use a pringles can if you have an omni antenna connection (then kind that connect to the side of the device and stick up), but larger tubing would be better if the antenna is internal to the mifi device(so you get a larger beam width). Cut a cardboard tube lengthwise on one side so you can open it up into a semi-circle. Cover the inside surface with glue stick, and then with aluminum foil, but make sure that you put it on very smoothly and covering all surfaces. The smoother the aluminum, the better the reflector. You can use aluminum tape if you have it, but it's kind of expensive (if you know a heating and air guy, you can get some from them). Or if you have aluminum or copper sheeting (or fine mesh), this is even better. If you know how to calculate the focal point on the inside of that semi-circle, then do that so you know where to place your wifi device. If you wanna do it quick and dirty, place your mifi in the middle of the reflector that you just made (set it on some books so that it faces the inside of the reflector) and then starting away from the reflector just move it towards it a little at a time until you get the strongest signal (you can check the bars on your device, or you can go into the Verizon management software on your computer and check the signal strength. When you find that, you can set your device and reflector up permanently (however you want so neither will get moved or knocked over). The best way to envision this set up is a trap house and the trap line, because the trap line would be the shape of the reflector that you make, and the trap house would be the location of your mifi device pointed at your reflector (although it will be a lot closer in).

    The pic below will give you an idea.



    [​IMG]


    Hope this helps. :)
     
  5. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot for the input. I did note that the Novatel MIFI device, I have has a hole in the side that appears that it could accept a cord. I was surfing the Web and found a cord along with a small antenna that might give me the needed "boost" in my signal. We stay at a campground that has 3 levels. We are on a permanent site on the 2nd level. If I take the MIFI device, (it is equipped with a battery), and walk toward the upper level; my signal increases from 1 bar to 3 to 4 bars in approximately 100 yards. So in reality I don't need a lot to have an acceptable signal. I'm not a genius when it comes to this technical stuff; so I have to keep it simple. I should mention that it is a 4G unit and not a 3G. Thanks again. Ed
     
  6. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    Make sure that the antenna that you buy is compatible with your particular device.
     
  7. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    Here are three sources for external antennas. Probably uses the TS-9 connector cable, so the cable and the antenna would need to be purchased together. Look up your model number and look at some of the info at the sites about antenna selection. Since you are dealing with hilly/mountainous terrain, see the recommendations regarding antenna selection.

    <a href="http://www.antennagear.net/servlet/StoreFront" target="_blank">Antenna Gear</a>

    <a href="http://www.alternativewireless.com/" target="_blank">Alternative Wireless</a>

    <a href="http://3gstore.com/index.php?main_page=index&zenid=uk8g4plloo194ofd8pcr1nvf14" target="_blank">3G Store</a>
     
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