How it Works: WiFi Antenna & Extender

Long range WiFi solutions: How to increase your coverage and get the most out of a connection.

There are 3 types of WiFi antenna extender systems:

  • Indoor Coverage.
  • Point to Point (Building to Building).
  • Indoor to Outdoor.

Long range WiFi antenna solutions offer a great way to expand your existing network or access one from far away.

This helps save money by not having to pay for a second internet line, increases convenience by using your current service, and the ability to use internet and apps in places where you couldn't before.

In order to create a long range WiFi network, a few considerations have to be address and overcome. For example:

  • Building material & walls

  • No obstructions, clear line of sight

  • The right type of equipment

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Point to Point (Building to Building) WiFi

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How it Works:

  • 1

    A signal source broadcasts signal from a distance.

  • 2

    The outside antenna, at a second building, points at the signal source.

  • 3

    Signal is pulled in and connected to a router.

  • 4

    Router broadcasts signal at the second location!

  • 5

    SUCCESS: Internet shared between 2 buildings up to 1 mile apart.

Pros:

  • Great for detached barns, garages, or workshops.
  • No need to spend money on a SECOND internet connection.
  • Can share internet with family and neighbors.

Cons:

  • Slightly slower speed, because it is dependent on WiFi source for two buildings.
  • Slightly more latency.

Share internet between 2 buildings up to 1 mile:

PiFi WiFi Repeater

Indoor to Outdoor WiFi

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How it Works:

  • 1

    An access point & antenna(s) are installed outside the home.

  • 2

    Ethernet cable connects the equipment to the router.

  • 3

    Signal is transmitted from the router to access point & outside antenna.

  • 4

    The antenna broadcasts signal outside.

  • 5

    SUCCESS: Internet shared inside a home to outside up to ½ mile.

Pros:

  • Get signal outside: farm, yard, pool, and other spots.
  • No need to spend money on a SECOND internet connection.
  • Can share internet with family and neighbors.

Cons:

  • Works best in open areas with clear line of sight to the antenna.
  • Slightly more latency.

Share internet from inside to outside up to 1/2 mile:

PiFi Outdoor WiFi Extender

Other Long Range WiFi Equipment:

Long Range WiFi Antennas

Antennas come in different shapes & sizes and can be confusing when determining which antenna is right for you. Luckily, we break it down in plain English.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Type of antenna: directional or omni-directional.
  • dBi (Gain): signal strength of the antenna.

Directional Vs Omni-Directional

Directional

Directional

Directional antennas work like a flashlight.

It has a smaller area of coverage, but reaches farther in the distance. Under best conditions, it can reach up to 8 miles. It’s important to note the farther the reach, the smaller the broadcasting pattern. So it’s a tradeoff with area coverage vs reach.

Directional antennas include yagi, cantennas, panels, and parabolic grids.

Omni-Directional

Omni-Directional

Omni-directional antennas work like a lamp.

It has a 360 degree coverage area, but has limited range. Under best conditions, it can reach up to 1 mile.

Omni-directional antennas are shaped like cylinders.

dBi (Gain)

dBi measures the potential strength and reach of the antenna. However more is not always better and the right antenna is dependent on your application.

Let’s dive into the pro’s and cons of antenna types and their specific gain figures.

Directional

  • Pro:

    • Great for when coverage is needed at a specific point or area.
  • Con:

    • The farther the reach, the more narrow the coverage as it pinpoints to a specific area.

Omni-directional

  • Pro:

    • Great for 360 degree area coverage
  • Con:

    • Less forward reach than a directional antenna.

With increased gain (dBi) on the antenna, the coverage area (beamwidth) is reduced. There’s also a third component that can modify these figures and that is the operating frequency or band. For this conversation we will stick to the WiFi bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz

So Which Antenna is Right for You?

It honestly depends on the situation. But in general: directional antennas are specialized to reach farther but cover less area. Omni antennas are general performers that cover more area but doesn't reach as far.

Everything depends on your situation such as distance from the signal source, obstructions, and areas where you need signal.

Long Range WiFi Cables & Connectors

Long Range WiFi cable connections include Ethernet cable and coaxial cable. Ethernet cable is generally used to connect devices, like a router to another router for example, while coaxial is used to connect the device to the antenna.

Ethernet cable can run up to 328 feet and experiences very little loss since it’s a digital cable.

Coaxial cable, depending on the type, can run up to 100 ft and experiences higher dB loss since it’s an analog cable. As a rule of thumb, you always want to go with the shortest cable length and thickest cable type possible.

Ethernet and coaxial cannot be interchanged and cannot be converted without a radio device/converter in between.

Ethernet Vs Coax

Ethernet Cable

Ethernet Cable: Connect network device to another network device.

Ethernet Cable Type

  • CAT5e: Reach up to 328 feet, max speed at 1 Gbps
  • CAT6: Reach up to 368, max speed at 10 Gbps

Coaxial Cable Type

Coaxial Cable; Connects network device to the antenna.

Coaxial Cable Type

  • L-195: Good
  • L-240: Better
  • L-400: Best

Cable Connector Type

  • N-Connectors
  • SMA- Connectors

FAQ

All our PiFi systems work on WiFi networks. So anything WiFi-related (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), we can help. 

Sure can. Here are reviews for the PiFi Long Range WiFi Repeater and for the PiFi Outdoor WiFi Extender.

 In-home WiFi extenders like Orbi, Ubiquiti, and Google WiFi isn't our speciality. We focus on long range WiFi.

Yes we do commercial installation. Contact us.

30 day better signal or money back guarantee. 2 years manufacturer warranty. We want you to get better signal, so we're happy to help.

Yes, we have a hotspot solution.

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