pulling in public WiFi

March 23, 2009 at 17:57:32
Specs: Windows XP
We are on the fringe of a public WiF inet. Using the built-in WiFi antenna in our laptops, the signal is unusable. We would like to get a high-gain antenna to pull in the signal, and feed it with low-loss cable to a wireless router or similar device so we can access it wirelessly. Is this possible to do? If so, does anyone have a recommendation on what router to use and how to hook it up? BTW, we are capable of hacking into a router to connect the antenna. Finally, we're all 802.11g equipped here. How much would this setup degrade our data throughput speed? I'm a greenhorn here, so pardon me if I used incorrect terminology. Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

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#1
March 24, 2009 at 07:26:55
Before I get into your questions, I have one question for you. Considering how inexpensive highspeed wireless is these days, why don't you just get your own???

What you're proposing, even though it's a public WiFi hotspot, is bordering on unethical. The equipment you'll need to use the hotsport signal will cost you $$$ and you could put that toward your own highspeed connection instead of cheating off someone elses you know.

Having said that......

We would like to get a high-gain antenna to pull in the signal, and feed it with low-loss cable to a wireless router or similar device so we can access it wirelessly. Is this possible to do?

Yes, it is.

If so, does anyone have a recommendation on what router to use and how to hook it up?

You're putting the cart before the horse. First, you need an antenna to plug into the router.....right? As for router recommendations, I like the Linksys WRT54GL as it has a Linux based firmware and there are several 3'd party firmwares you can install on them. I prefer Tomato, but I've heard others mention they liked the DDRT verions.

BTW, we are capable of hacking into a router to connect the antenna.

If this is someone elses router, that would not only be unethical, it would also be illegal. This should not be necessary in any case.

If you're talking about the wireless router you plan on buying then you don't need to "hack into it" do you.

Finally, we're all 802.11g equipped here. How much would this setup degrade our data throughput speed?

This would depend mostly on the antenna you purchased. Bear in mind that wireless is not the best media and is known for latency and lag issues. If you're planning on gaming, I wouldn't waste my time as your gaming experience would suck.


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#2
March 24, 2009 at 20:22:11
Thanks for the reply! "We" are employees, and the possibility that the powers-that-be would allow us to have our own system is slim-to-none. There are only three of us on shift at a time.

We are looking to stealthily install a 14dbi panel antenna and a wireless router. We would feed the WiFi signal from the antenna to the wireless router, which would make it available to us wirelessly on our laptops. The wireless router would be acting like a repeater.

Based on what we've already read, we're leaning toward purchasing the WRT54G. Being new to this game, we're looking for some validation from someone more knowledgable.

Though we had stronger privately-owned WiFi sources within our range, we decided to go with the public WiFi source to minimize any ethical issues. Using a privately-owned source without the owner's permission smells a lot like theft of service to me.


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#3
May 14, 2009 at 12:00:11
you could buy a pepwave surf from ebay and follow the included instructions to set up for use with any provider and it also has a built in wifi connection. just put it in a window and set it up. be careful when ordering it some dont have the access point feature. its about 55 to 80 dollars. its basically a repeater unit

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Related Solutions

#4
May 14, 2009 at 12:33:44
google cantenna. You can make your own high gain antenna out of parts around your house or purchase one already built.

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