Extend your Wi-Fi reach while on the road

The portable Wi-Fire portable antenna from hField Technologies boosts your Wi-Fi range up to 1,000 feet.

Wi-Fire
The Wi-Fire wireless booster is about the size of a PDA. hField Technologies

Maybe we've seen too many spy movies, but when we first heard about the Wi-Fire, a portable Wi-Fi booster, we imagined some sort of collapsible parabolic antenna, maybe with an accompanying mini-tripod so it can sit next to you on your desk. In fact, the 3x4x3/8-inch directional antenna is rather boxy, and it attaches to your laptop's lid much like a Webcam. According to manufacturer hField Technologies, the Wi-Fire can connect to an 802.11b/g access point as far as 1,000 feet away, giving you the opportunity to roam beyond the range of your laptop's built-in wireless card. All you need is OS X or Windows XP (no Vista compatibility yet) and an available USB port.

At $79, the Wi-Fire could be a low-cost alternative for urban travelers who want more consistent connectivity but don't want to sign on for a cellular plan's monthly fees. Tell us: would you make room in your laptop bag for such a device?

About the author

    Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.

     

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