The best laptop antenna boosters

Written by joe murray
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The best laptop antenna boosters
Logon anywhere with a laptop Wi-Fi booster. (altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Wi-Fi antenna boosters provide a relatively inexpensive and practical alternative to paying for cell phone carriers' subscription programs. In urban areas where free Wi-Fi hot spots are fast becoming ubiquitous, a £13 booster might double or even triple the range of a laptop's Wi-Fi capability. For truly stellar performance that increases range by a factor of 10 or more, however, a slightly larger investment is in order.

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The EUB-362 EXT - High-Power Long Range Wireless G USB Adapter

For about the cost of two and a half months on the Sprint or AT&T networks, a laptop user deploying the EnGenius Tech EUB-362 EXT can sit across the street from McDonalds and pick up the Wi-Fi as well as those sitting inside. With its 200mW power output, the EUB-362 EXT possesses the sensitivity to bring in extremely weak Wi-Fi signals. The EUB-362 EXT operates on the B, G and Super-G bandwidths which are among the most popular with free hot spot providers. The unit is compatible with all Windows operating systems.

The WiFiStation--World's Longest Range USB Wi-Fi Client

Ubiquiti's claim that the Wi-Fi Station is in fact the world's longest range USB Wi-Fi client deserves further examination, and for around £65 laptop users can investigate for themselves. The spec sheet published by Ubiquiti claims the product has a minimum range extension of 100 yards and signal enhancement of up to 6 dB. The unit comes in two configurations, both with simple "plug-n-play" designations and will operate with all Windows operating systems with speeds reaching up to 150 MBps.

Wave N--High Power USB 802.11N Wifi Adapter

Radio Labs is a producer of Wi-Fi related gear and, according to Steve Mallard of Bright Hub, "one of the leading suppliers of wireless adaptors for laptops." The company's Wave N--Long Range 802.11N Wi-Fi adaptor boasts up to 15 times the power of a standard laptop Wi-Fi card. With the full range of Wi-Fi frequencies built into its USB 2.0 powered chassis, the Wave N claims to reach speeds of 300 mBps with a full 500mw of power. Radio labs offers this top of their line unit for just under £97, as of 2010.

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