Question How to boost a WiFI hotspot signal to a laptop that can't really be moved closer to the WiFi hotspot source?

dekw04

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Oct 6, 2017
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Hi everyone.

Is there any way to boost a WiFi hotspot signal to a laptop that can't really be moved closer to the WiFi hotspot source?

I have Optimum Internet which gives me access to any Optimum WiFi hotspot for free.

At the place where I am currently I have a laptop that picks up a local Optimum WiFi hotpspot which allows me to take advantage of much higher Internet speeds (compared to using my phone as a hotspot). The issue though is that the Optimum WiFi hotspot signal is weak for me currently. Furthermore, I can't seem to find a better location to put my laptop to increase the signal strength. If I move my laptop out of position even a few inches I lose the signal completely. It seems as though I have to keep my laptop in this particular spot just to use the Optimum WiFi hotspot at all. I've also tried many other locations in the building, but this one just seems to work the best.

As such, I'm looking for a (preferably easy) way for me to greatly boost the WiFi hotspot signal that my laptop currently receives.

I believe if I could just focus the WiFi signal somehow (like how a magnifying glass may be used to focus sunlight to make it more intense) and/or use some kind of external antenna (connected to my laptop via USB maybe) that I could boost this WiFi hotspot.

My problem though is that I don't know how and I don't know what will actually work which I why I'm making this post to ask everyone here.

Is there some kind of (preferably easy to use) device that I could buy that I could just plug into my laptop that would boost my WiFi signal? Like a USB high-gain antenna or something that would work in tandem with my laptop's built-in WiFi card? What are my options realistically? What do I need to do to greatly increase this WiFi hotspot signal to my laptop given everything I've written?

I'm looking for an effective, reasonably simple solution that will actually work that I could act on immediately.

With that said, is there anyway to boost a WiFi hotspot signal to a laptop that can't really be moved closer to the WiFi hotspot source?

Thank you.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Is this a WIFI source that is from outside your location? If so then I recommend using an outdoor wireless bridge with the network brought in on an ethernet cable. If you then want WIFI, you can add a WIFI access point or a router configured as a WIFI access point.
 

dekw04

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Oct 6, 2017
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You could try a USB dongle with a USB extender. Then you could move the dongle around and see if you get better reception. I have a PC in my living room like this. The dongle is way up by the ceiling.
Thanks for your reply. Would I have to disable my computer's internal WiFi card to use a USB WiFi dongle with a USB extension cable or can both function at the same time?
 

dekw04

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Oct 6, 2017
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Is this a WIFI source that is from outside your location? If so then I recommend using an outdoor wireless bridge with the network brought in on an ethernet cable. If you then want WIFI, you can add a WIFI access point or a router configured as a WIFI access point.
Thank you for your response. Yes, it's a WIFI source that is from outside my location. I'm not sure how I would get an ethernet cable to go from outside to inside this building as I think that would require opening a window. Since it's winter, it would make the building very cold. I'm not sure if there's something sold that can be put in a window that can allow a cable to pass outside without losing the window's insulating properties.
 

dekw04

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Oct 6, 2017
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1st: Is the laptop´s BIOS and wi-fi driver up to date?

you could use your smartphone as a wi-fi bridge or any wi-fi extender/repeater on the market.
These would be placed so that the repeater would have a good wi-fi connection and would connect your laptop to this extended network range.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONLMiMYCnhw
Thank you for your answer. I have a Netgear EX3700 wi-fi range extender. So far I've used it to extend the range of the Optimum hotspot signal via my laptop's "Mobile Hotspot" feature. It extends the existing signal (which is relatively weak which is why I want to boost its strength).

"These would be placed so that the repeater would have a good wi-fi connection and would connect your laptop to this extended network range."

So far I connect my laptop to the Optimum Wi-Fi hotspot and then connect to the Netgear Wi-Fi range extender. To do what you said, it seems that I would have to reverse the order by first connecting the Netgear extender to the Optimum Wi-Fi hotspot and then extending the signal to my laptop. I'm not sure how this would work since the Netgear extender requires a computer to set up. When I set up the Netgear extender, it gives me the option to choose to extend the signal or to use the extender as an "Access Point". Do I have to use the extender as an "Access Point" to do what you said?
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Thank you for your response. Yes, it's a WIFI source that is from outside my location. I'm not sure how I would get an ethernet cable to go from outside to inside this building as I think that would require opening a window. Since it's winter, it would make the building very cold. I'm not sure if there's something sold that can be put in a window that can allow a cable to pass outside without losing the window's insulating properties.
Not as good, but you can put a directional wireless bridge inside a window pointing outside. You really need to know the location of the WIFI source because the wireless bridge has a directional antenna. You would buy something like this -- https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-NanoStation-loco-M2-Wireless/dp/B00HXT8FFI
 

dekw04

Commendable
Oct 6, 2017
124
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Not as good, but you can put a directional wireless bridge inside a window pointing outside. You really need to know the location of the WIFI source because the wireless bridge has a directional antenna. You would buy something like this -- https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-NanoStation-loco-M2-Wireless/dp/B00HXT8FFI
Thanks again. Does it matter if it's a "wireless bridge" or not? The device you linked says it's an access point. I ask since I have a Netgear range extender (Model EX3700) that gives me the option to use it as extender or as an access point on the set up page. The extender that I have has two antennas that can be tilted.

"You really need to know the location of the WIFI source because the wireless bridge has a directional antenna. "
I think I know the location of the WIFI source. Optimum has a WIFI hotspot map that shows where the sources of different Optimum WIFI hotspots are. If I used the Netgear range extender as an access point and pointed the antennas in the direction of the WIFI source, would that work to boost (not extend) the signal?
 
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dekw04

Commendable
Oct 6, 2017
124
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1,690
1
You could try a USB dongle with a USB extender. Then you could move the dongle around and see if you get better reception. I have a PC in my living room like this. The dongle is way up by the ceiling.
I just had one more question. Do you know if the type of USB extension cable matters? Like, does it matter if you use a USB 3.0 cable compared to a USB 2.0 cable? I have a USB extension cable at hand, I just don't know if it's a USB 2.0 or a USB 3.0 cable. Would it be best to get a USB 3.0 cable for maximum speeds or does it not matter in this case?
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Thanks again. Does it matter if it's a "wireless bridge" or not? The device you linked says it's an access point. I ask since I have a Netgear range extender (Model EX3700) that gives me the option to use it as extender or as an access point on the set up page. The extender that I have has two antennas that can be tilted.

"You really need to know the location of the WIFI source because the wireless bridge has a directional antenna. "
I think I know the location of the WIFI source. Optimum has a WIFI hotspot map that shows where the sources of different Optimum WIFI hotspots are. If I used the Netgear range extender as an access point and pointed the antennas in the direction of the WIFI source, would that work to boost (not extend) the signal?
The Ubiquiti Loco will function as a wireless bridge. I have one (to play with) and I can successfully bridge it to my home WIFI.
I don't know if the EX3700 can do what you want.
 

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