The Best Ways to Increase a Wireless Router for Outdoor Use

Written by dan stone
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  • Introduction

    The Best Ways to Increase a Wireless Router for Outdoor Use

    Wireless computer networks can be modified to work well outdoors as well as indoors. The trick to getting a wireless network to work over a longer range for outdoor use is to set up the actual network in such a way that the radio waves reach the outdoor areas you plan to use for Wi-Fi. Also, it is important to password-protect an outdoor Wi-Fi network because it is easier for uninvited guests to sneak in.

    Accomodate radio waves to maintain a long-range outdoor Wi-Fi network. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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    Improve Hardware Quality

    Higher-quality routers are often able to extend their Wi-Fi over a longer range than lower-quality, budget routers. The more modern the Wi-Fi standard, the better. For example, "G" standard wireless typically supports a longer range than "A" or "B" standard wireless and "N" standard typically supports a longer range than "G." However, there are high-powered routers from the previous generations that are designed to transmit and receive Wi-Fi over much longer distances than the typical 120ft. Wi-Fi network. Additionally, the computer that is connecting to the Wi-Fi network could also benefit from a wireless card upgrade to a card that has a superior antenna. Devices with superior antennas can pick up Wi-Fi signals in places that other antennas can't.

    A single omnidirectional antenna may not produce a large Wi-Fi range. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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    Use a Repeater

    Wireless routers have a limited range that can be extended by using a secondary wireless router or repeater. You can add a wireless repeater to the network or convert a second router into a repeater by configuring it to work as one to give the wireless network a second transmission/receiving point. You can position the repeater as close as possible to the outdoor area where you want to use Wi-Fi. The process to convert a router into a repeater varies by router model. The repeater will act like a second router as far as range is concerned.

    Routers can be repurposed as repeaters. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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    Position Near Window

    It's ideal to place a wireless router or repeater near as large of a window as possible to extend the network to the outdoors. The materials found in walls tend to block and distort radio waves while glass and other window materials tend to let a stronger radio signal through. Similar to how electricity works with the path of least resistance, the radio waves will move through a window with relative ease.

    Large glass windows are Wi-Fi friendly. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Use a High-Gain Antenna

    You can swap the default omnidirectional antenna on a router or repeater with a high-gain antenna to extend the Wi-Fi network's range drastically in a single direction. Typically, you use more electricity to extend a radio signal, but routers usually don't allow it. Most routers come with omnidirectional antennas that use all the electricity in the router to broadcast signals in all directions, dividing the strength of the signal evenly. High-gain antennas focus the same amount of signal strength in a single direction instead of in a sphere. To put it into perspective, imagine the same volume of the Wi-Fi's range in a sphere adjusted into a cone-shape extending from the antenna. You can maximise the distance and range by using multiple repeaters with high-gain antennas aimed out of windows.

    High-gain antennas use a signal that's more like a radio dish. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

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