Wifi Antennas

Discussion in 'Home Networking' started by gargoyle60, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. gargoyle60

    gargoyle60 Guest

    I need some advice please?

    I have a wired router with an attached Wireless Access Point (ZyXEL WAP3205).
    The WAP is centrally located in a hallway cupboard at a height of approx. 6 feet. It has two of the
    short standard rubber-duck antennas.

    I am having some trouble with signal quality inside my home, which is solid brick construction. I
    have 4 IP cameras, two of which send a clear signal but the other two struggle to maintain good
    signal strength (probably due to the number walls through/around which their signals have to travel
    in order to reach the WAP).

    To overcome this problem I was intending to purchase a higher gain antenna, such as 7dbi or even
    10dbi - see here
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/170929276954?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

    However, where is it best to place the antenna - on the WAP or on the cameras? I had assumed on the
    WAP but would appreciate confirmation.
    Also, if on the WAP then should I replace both of the short rubber-duck antennas with larger ones?
     
    gargoyle60, Aug 11, 2013
    #1
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  2. gargoyle60

    Rob Morley Guest

    I'd first try replacing the antennae on the cameras that exhibit low
    signal strength. There again, at a cost of £1.25 each delivered from
    HK, why not stick a 10dBi twig on everything that will take one?
    (Answer: extending the range of your WAP may make you more hackable.)
     
    Rob Morley, Aug 11, 2013
    #2
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  3. gargoyle60

    gargoyle60 Guest

    Thanks for the reply. I have seen the HK twigs and might opt for them.
     
    gargoyle60, Aug 11, 2013
    #3
  4. Without boring you with why, the fact is that so-called "High gain
    antennas", unless deliberately directional, are pure snake oil.

    Can you add another AP to illuminate the rest of the house?
     
    Anthony R. Gold, Aug 11, 2013
    #4
  5. gargoyle60

    Rob Morley Guest

    I thought the basic ones were more directional normal to their axis
    than shorter ones? Otherwise how about those cheap dish antennas for
    his cameras?
     
    Rob Morley, Aug 12, 2013
    #5
  6. gargoyle60

    gargoyle60 Guest

    That is the other option I am considering, but wouldn't that also risk exposing my netowrk to
    external hackers?
    As it is I can see as many as seven wifi networks belonging to my neighbours, I'd rather not add
    mine to that publically exposed list.
     
    gargoyle60, Aug 12, 2013
    #6
  7. gargoyle60

    Rob Morley Guest

    You can stop it from appearing in the list by switching off the SSID
    Broadcast option. That doesn't make you invisible to a real hacker,
    but it makes you less obvious to the hoi polloi.
     
    Rob Morley, Aug 12, 2013
    #7
  8. gargoyle60

    gargoyle60 Guest

    Yes, done that.
     
    gargoyle60, Aug 12, 2013
    #8
  9. Did you read the link in the OP? It was for a "Very powerful omnidirectional
    indoor antenna" with 10 dBi of gain. Under Roman Catholic church rules
    anyone who can make just two of those miracles would qualify for sainthood!

    A perfect loss-free omnidirectional antenna will have 0 dBi of gain. A real
    one at the end of a length of coax would be doing well to achieve -3 dBi.

    Yes, adding gain from directivity, i.e. from reducing the gain in other
    directions, is possible but it's not too practical to install or to aim for
    an antenna intended to illuminate the interior areas of a home.
     
    Anthony R. Gold, Aug 12, 2013
    #9
  10. gargoyle60

    Rob Morley Guest

    I see what you mean. :)
    But ... but ... Pringles. :)
     
    Rob Morley, Aug 12, 2013
    #10
  11. gargoyle60

    Stephen Guest

    More to the point a couple of dB extra gain may not be enough 0 so it
    may make sense to look at something different?

    How about using power over Ethernet for the camera so the power + a
    connection go down the feed, and pick up Cat 5 Ethernet.

    If these are security cameras it seems sensible to make them less
    interference prone anyway, and connect by Cat5 back to the router?

    either hook the cable up directly, use powerline networking, or use a
    bridge placed so there are fewer walls in the way?
     
    Stephen, Aug 12, 2013
    #11
  12. gargoyle60

    Stephen Guest

    but if you really want to be paranoid - turn off the wifi and cable
    everything......
     
    Stephen, Aug 12, 2013
    #12
  13. gargoyle60

    gargoyle60 Guest

    paranoid ? moi?

    :)
     
    gargoyle60, Aug 13, 2013
    #13
  14. gargoyle60

    Daniel James Guest

    I believe it is possible to make a cantenna out of the packaging of
    less disgusting foodstuffs ... or maybe even one of the tubes used to
    sell tennis balls.

    Cheers,
    Daniel.
     
    Daniel James, Aug 13, 2013
    #14
  15. gargoyle60

    Daniel James Guest

    If they can see your network they can attack it.

    If the network itself is secure, they will fail.

    What sort of exposure is it that worries you?

    Cheers,
    Daniel.
     
    Daniel James, Aug 13, 2013
    #15
  16. gargoyle60

    Rob Morley Guest

    The Pringles can is apparently a bit small to work well (~70mm bore when
    it should be at least 73mm), various others are suggested on some of the
    websites that cover the topic, but I'm inclined to get some 90mm
    aluminium tubing from eBay. I /like/ Pringles, I just don't let myself
    buy them very often.
     
    Rob Morley, Aug 13, 2013
    #16
  17. gargoyle60

    robert Guest

    I have usually found that changing the orientation of the normal aerials
    or the orientation of N type devices makes negligible difference to the
    signal strength in "difficult areas " of a house or building.
     
    robert, Aug 13, 2013
    #17
  18. By all means do that, but realise that to all intents and purposes it
    makes absolutly zero difference to anybody running a sniffer of any
    kind. Your network will be found irrespective of whether SSID is hidden
    or not.

    Hidding your SSID offers zero protection. The suggestion about wireing
    everthing is good. You should consider cable where possible or
    convenient. (You are running power to cameras after all, so POE could
    be an option)

    If I was interested in 'hackers' accessing my network I would be
    configuring and hard coding the list of accepted wireless addresses the
    WAP woud talk to. If I was interested in 'baddies' accessing my property
    I would consider how easy it would be for my camera system to be jammed.
     
    Fergus McMenemie, Aug 14, 2013
    #18
  19. Ditto! Spent ages messing around reorientating the supplied aerials. Sod
    all difference. If there is a brick wall with silver backed plaster
    board between you and the WAP, arial orientation makes no difference.
     
    Fergus McMenemie, Aug 14, 2013
    #19
  20. gargoyle60

    gargoyle60 Guest

    I'm not excessively worried, I realise that Reaver, etc. would crack the security eventually.

    I did have one of the devices hard-wired but due to the contruction and layout of my property
    running numerous cables to every single device isn't an option without drilling many holes through
    solid walls, etc. Hence wireless.

    To be honest, nothing in my home network is that sensitive anyway, so no big worries.
     
    gargoyle60, Aug 14, 2013
    #20
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