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Networking & wireless forum: Deployed... how can I get better wifi signal?

by: usaf_ff51 May 18, 2010 4:39 AM PDT

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Deployed... how can I get better wifi signal?

by usaf_ff51 - 5/18/10 4:39 AM

I'm currently deployed to Southwest Asia and am "living" in a CHU (containerized housing unit) for the next 4 months. For those of you not familiar with CHUs, they are basically metal and wood trailer-type dorms. Therefore, the issue with my unreliable wifi signal. The current location that I am at is actually the nicest in the AOR and has free wifi throughout. However, obviously the signal is better and worse in certain areas and at certain times. It is particularly hard to receive in the CHUs.

I have a Gateway laptop with an internal G wireless and am accessing the G wifi, but would like to increase my signal. So as not to have to sit out in the 110*+ temperatures to talk to my wife. I have spent the past few hours reading over all sorts of solutions:

1) I can not access the router or it's configurations. Therefore, I can not boost the signal from the origin or ask for it to be done. However, I do know where it is (although I'm thinking omni-directional is going to be best regardless).

2) I have no PCMIA card or slot for one, or an SMA point. Therefore, I am pretty much limited to USB or ethernet. Unless someone has a far more clever idea (please, no "wrap it in tin foil" jokes).

3) I am reasonable and realize that with technology it is usually very much "you get what you pay for" and am therefore not asking for any ridiculous $2 ideas like a lot of people do. However, I am enlisted and there by fairly strapped for budget. I'm thinking less than $40 hopefully.

4) Uncle Sam has given me the OK to string an antenna out the window or atop the roof, so long as it is not interfering or dangerous to anyone/anything. So, I am open to most any/all reasonable suggestions.

So, with all that being said, I would greatly appreciate any/all input on the topic. What USB or ethernet adapter/booster/extender/whatchamacallit is the best? Obviously this list will be limited due to my budget, but please give all suggestions, particularly if you have personal experience with a particular device.

Thank you all in advance,

Steven E. Richmond, SrA, USAF
Combined Air & Space Operations Center
Undisclosed Location, Southwest Asia

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