Best WiFi antenna 2022 • 6 WiFi antennas Reviews
Your home may suffer from a weak network connection. You aren’t the only one, and there are many things you can do to improve it. One of the most popular options is Wi-Fi antennas. Have you heard of them? If not, don’t worry—this article will give you all the information you need!
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What are Wi-Fi antennas?
Wi-Fi antennas are devices that, when connected to a USB port, act as a “funnel” for nearby Wi-Fi networks. In some cases, they can draw networks that are several meters away. In practice, a Wi-Fi antenna works like a repeater, but in the opposite way: instead of sending the signal further, it “attracts” it to a converging point.
The vast majority of Wi-Fi antennas come from USB adapters due to the universality of the product and easy installation, since only one computer or a set with a USB port is sufficient. However, they are not the only alternative out there.
What types of Wi-Fi antennas are there?
There are two types of antennas: omnidirectional and directional.
Omnidirectional antennas provide a 3,600 donut-shaped radiation pattern to provide the widest possible signal coverage in indoor and outdoor wireless applications. An analogy for the radiation pattern would be how an unshaded incandescent light bulb illuminates a room. Types of omnidirectional antennas include “rubber duck” antennas often found on access points and routers, omnidirectional antennas found outdoors, and antenna arrays used on cellular towers.
Directional antennas, as the name implies, focus the wireless signal in a specific direction, resulting in a limited area of coverage. An analogy for the radiation pattern would be how a vehicle headlight illuminates the road. Types of directional antennas include Yagi, parabolic grid, patch, and panel antennas.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Wi-Fi antennas
Wi-Fi antennas have been developed as an alternative to make the signal more stable and to prevent it from dropping out. With Wi-Fi repeaters, Wi-Fi extenders, and PLC adapters, they represent the forefront of technological devices that help us in our daily battle for internet connection. The following chart demonstrates the advantages and disadvantages of Wi-Fi antennas.
- Easy configuration and compatibility with multiple systems and equipment
- Light, compact designs that can be transported easily
- Very economical
- Warranties on returns and repairs
- No cables (only a USB port)
- Transmission speed depends on nearby networks
- Signal stability is not as consistent as other similar devices (i.e., Wi-Fi repeaters or PLC adapters)
- Drivers must be installed every time the equipment is changed
Shopping Criteria for Wi-Fi antennas
In the crusade to improve the connectivity of our homes or offices, Wi-Fi antennas can be useful, practical, and accessible allies. There are many models around, which may mean that you are not sure which to choose. For this reason, we have prepared this section that discusses the essential purchase criteria that you cannot ignore before buying the right Wi-Fi antenna for you.
- Transmission speed
- USB port version
- Dual-band operation
It may seem obvious, but there are many Wi-Fi antennas that are not compatible with all the operating systems or are only compatible with some of its versions. Before buying any model, be sure to read the product description on which computer equipment you can install the antennas and which routers you have.
The purpose of the Wi-Fi antennas is to “get closer” to the signal that is far from where you want it to be. Depending on where you live or work, you will need these antennas to have a sufficient range, so as not to run out of connection. While most models support large distances, it never hurts to check it before making any purchase.
Once we have established our stable Wi-Fi, thanks to the antennas, we will need high speeds to navigate without problems or interference. Although you will rely heavily on the existing signals that the antennas will pick up, check that the integrated transmission rate is at least 300 Mbps.
USB Port Version
The speed and quality of data transmission of Wi-Fi antennas depend heavily on the version of the USB ports you have. Today, it would not be advisable to purchase Wi-Fi antennas with USB ports of a version less than 3.0.
Without a doubt, a very important advantage of Wi-Fi antennas are that they work in double bands. This feature improves connectivity in terms of both power and range. This is not very common among the models currently available on the market. Therefore, if you find any, do not hesitate to purchase it.
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How are antennas installed?
The popularity of Wi-Fi antennas has been growing, in part, because they have an affordable price and are very easy to install. Many have a built-in plug-and-play system, which starts to work at a press of a button. Although some models may have specific instructions, they all normally follow more or less the same process.
Install drivers for Wi-Fi antennas. In general, they are on a CD that is included with purchase, but almost all manufacturers also provide a link to install them online. The controllers are the necessary software to configure the antennas in the computers.
Place the antennas in the USB port of the computer in the setup of your choice.
Search for available drivers on the computer. Be sure to also select the one that best suits your operating system.
Is the version of the USB port that the antenna has important?
Yes, it is very important. Currently, one of the most recent versions of the USB ports is the 3.0; the one that appears most frequently on Wi-Fi antennas. It is ten times faster than the 2.0 version and guarantees a more stable internet connection, a higher data rate, and virtually no interference or outages.
Is a Wi-Fi antenna the same as a Wi-Fi repeater or a PLC adapter?
Although these devices have a similar function, which is to guarantee a better internet connection and coverage in our surroundings, they do not work in the same way, nor do they show the same results.
Do Wi-Fi antennas only serve to be connected to laptops?
Absolutely. Although it is most common to install and use Wi-Fi antennas on laptops as this is a very practical application, it is not the only option to consider. The advantage of this type of antenna is that most work as a USB adapter. Therefore, they can be connected to any computer that has a compatible port.
For instance, they significantly improve the reception of the Wi-Fi signal on Smart TV. This is very useful if you use platforms like Netflix or if you stream a lot of videos. They also work on smart plugs, tablets, multifunction printers, and desktops.
What does it mean that Wi-Fi antennas work with dual band?
Today, the Wi-Fi we use is through the 2.4 GHz band. In general, one connection may have users, such as in buildings with multiple floors and offices. Here the level of congestion increases, and with it, interference and malfunction. A Wi-Fi antenna with dual-band is capable of transmitting through two bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
If you have a Wi-Fi antenna with both networks, you will get a better connection, benefiting from the widest coverage (2.4 GHz band) along with a lower saturation (5 GHz band).
A 5 GHz band has more power and less range.
A 4 GHz band has less power and more range.
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