Wi-Fi – A Better Antenna will Get You a Better Connection

by Chris Guld, www.GeeksOnTour.com
We’ve said this time and time again, but it’s been a while and we have a lot of new readers. If you’re using a Wi-Fi hotspot and it’s not working so great, get an external Wi-Fi adapter. We have quite a collection of them over the years, but we recently bought a new one to go with our Windows 7 64 bit computer.  Here’s the one we purchased, a Hawking HWDN2:


There are lots of choices, just look for ‘Wireless Network Adapter.’  It will also say 802.11 somewhere in the description.  802.11b is the oldest technology, then comes g, and the latest and greatest is n.

Turn off your Internal Wi-Fi

It’s important to understand that these do not ‘boost’ the Wi-Fi adapter built in to your computer. They ‘replace’ it. You should turn off the internal adapter in your computer in order to properly use an external adapter.  See the Geeks on Tour ‘Show-Me-How’ video ‘Turn Off your Internal Wi-Fi.’

Improving our Wi-Fi Experience

When we parked at our current RV park, and tried to connect to the Wi-Fi, it took a while to make the connection and browsing was very slow. So we took our new Hawking Wi-Fi adapter out of the box, used the included CD to install the drivers, plugged the adapter into a USB port and turned off the wireless switch on the computer.

This time the connection happened a little faster, but, more importantly, the browsing was faster. Still not as good as our DSL at our home park, but better nonetheless. Wi-Fi is 2-way radio. Low-powered, 2-way radio.  The radio and antenna built in to your laptop computer is often not good enough for the distances and obstructions in an RV park. Plugging in an external adapter (radio and antenna are both inside) with a wire to your USB port allows you to move the adapter over to a window, or even outside a window so as to get an unobstructed line-of-sight to the source of the Wi-Fi – the Access Point. Unobstructed line-of-sight is the most important factor in a good Wi-Fi connection.  Notice, in the photo of our adapter above, that I have it pointed out a window.  Notice also that I have the metal mini-blinds raised above the adapter.  Those metal mini-blinds can make a big difference in your connection!

For other, past articles/videos on this topic:

The #1 Best way to Improve your Wi-Fi Connection
WiFire Long Range Adapter
Get the right Wi-Fi Adapter
54Mbps is Not better than 11Mbps
Wi-Fi for Beginners

Other Geeks on Tour Show-Me-How videos on this topic.

6 replies on “Wi-Fi – A Better Antenna will Get You a Better Connection”

    • David,
      We do use the Rogue Wave when we need it. Notice the dates on the previous comments. Well before we got the RW.

    • David,
      I’m curious that you’d comment on this older post. Did it just show up on your newsfeed? I’ve been shuffling some old articles around and I wonder if that makes them appear fresh on an RSS feed?

      • Yes Chris, I had half a dozen or more email notifications from you yesterday and didn’t bother to look at dates. They all appeared to be new posts.

  1. I looked at the Hawking antenna you refer to and found two — the HWDN2 and also the HWDN1. The only difference besides price seems to be 159n vs. 300 n. Can you explain what that means?

  2. Chris,
    Thanks so much for the service you provide. I read your articles often from the RV.net blog and have often benefited from your tips and info, as with this current post. Do you have a post that touches on antennas? I have a campground and provide free wifi. I have a land line in an RV space centrally located in my small 30 space park and a router installed off of DSL in that RV. It has served very well throughout the year but when I’m full during peak season, the large number of RV’s directly on the left and right of the router cause a break in the line of sight for the RV’s at those end sites. As a provider, can I install some kind of antenna on top of the RV with the router to heighten the reception by improving line of site? Does that make sense? What do I shop for? Appreciate advise. Thank you Teri

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