How does a WiFi antenna connect to a laptop?

Written by margo dill
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Some laptop users are not happy with the wireless range on their notebooks. Maybe they live in an apartment building with wireless service, but some of the rooms in their home get better reception than others. If you are at your favourite coffee shop, and your service seems to go in and out, then maybe a Wi-Fi antenna is the perfect choice for you to increase your signal strength. A Wi-Fi antenna can also help you easily connect to wireless networks in homes and businesses, as well as connect at your favourite hot spots. Some people may use them to create a neighbourhood network to play games with each other. Wi-Fi antennas also help you load websites and transfer files faster.

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How to Connect Wi-Fi Antennas to Laptops

To connect your Wi-Fi antenna to your laptop, you will most likely need a wireless card that has an external antenna connector. You will plug the wireless card (also known as a wireless PCMCIA card) into your computer. Then you will need a laptop adaptor cable. Attach the laptop adaptor cable to the wireless card. Then attach your Wi-Fi antenna to the cable, and you are all set to use your Wi-Fi antenna. Another way to attach it is to have a USB adaptor for a wireless antenna. Then you just need the USB adaptor and the antenna. You don't need the cable. You plug the USB adaptor into a USB slot in your computer and then attach your antenna to the adaptor.

Two Common Wi-Fi Antennas

One common Wi-Fi antenna is the Super Cantenna from Wireless Gardens, Inc. (see Resources). It is available online or from stores such as Radio Shack and CompUSA. Super Cantenna comes with a 3-foot cable, a dual tripod/pistol grip, universal mounting socket and weather-resistant coating. The Super Cantenna website has all the information you need for easy set-up, including a chart to show what the antenna is compatible with from desktop computers to laptops to routers.

Another common Wi-Fi antenna is the RadioLabs 5.5 dB Laptop Wi-Fi Antenna (see Resources). You can mount this antenna on the side of your laptop screen. It comes with a mount, cable with choice of connector, cable clips, double-sided tape, and Velcro. It does require an external jack on your computer to hook it up. You can use a wireless card for this as mentioned in Section 2. The Radiolabs site suggests which wireless card works well with their antenna.

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