Question

WIFI on the beach

Hello,
I have a condo just off the beach and my WIFI doesn't have the range to use it when on the beach. Its a clear site to the beach which is about 150 ft from my router in the condo. No walls between the router and beach but there is a glass door and glass wall. Any suggestions what would be best to extend the range? My current router is an "N" type.

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Answer
At the office

We consider past 100 feet as iffy with the standard gear. And any attempt with antennas are considered experimental and never to be talked about as if they will work.

If your router has antennas you can try the old method of a reflector. I wish folk would reveal exact models since I can't be sure this will apply. Tutorial follows.
https://www.comparitech.com/internet-providers/how-to-make-your-own-wifi-extender/

PS. For distance I find 2.4GHz wins.

Post was last edited on June 28, 2019 12:12 PM PDT

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WIFI extender

I am not at the location and can't remember the exact model. I am open to buying any new router that will extend my range if possible.

I assume with the wifi extenders mentioned that it would require a direct line of site?

Thanks

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I rarely see range improvements with new routers.

The old router has to be pretty bad to see an improvement. Why this is, is because FCC limits power and all routers tend to put out as much as they can legally.

To work around this and since you are directing it to the ocean, you would try those reflectors.

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stick with hotspot

if you have mobile service on the beach, it will most likely be better to stick with using your mobile hotspot.

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Link laptop to smartphone

Unfortunately, given 100 to 150 feet is the maximum Wifi range for routers, it is not possible to access Wifi routers beyond this distance with standard equipment. However, you can link your laptop or mobile device to a smartphone with a USB cable to access the smartphone's Internet connection. This is called tethering. It is the best solution to issues regarding accessing the Internet via Wifi from beyond range distances. Please verify your plan's data limits for your mobile phone before attempting to tether an Internet connection through a mobile phone.

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Cantenna

A variation on what R.Proffitt suggested is apparently some people get good results from using various cans as a wave guide antenna.

It would probably be a very tight beam. So, you would either have to sit in nearly exactly the same spot on the beach every time. Or, get a USB Wi-Fi dongle for your laptop and point it at your router. Or, maybe even both.

Also, keep in mind that any of these mods made to the router would likely interfere with other people wanting to use Wi-Fi elsewhere in the house. You might need to dedicate a separate router for beach use.

Or, depending on your cell data plan, you could use Wi-Fi tethering from your phone. That would probably be the simplest. My plan is by the GB, so spending much time surfing would probably run up my bill pretty quickly.

Finally, you could get yourself a long extension cord and a long Ethernet cable and locate your dedicated beach router much closer to you. If it's a private beach, then you probably don't have much traffic to worry about. If it's a public beach, then you could rig up a bright bucket or something to protect it. Configure it with a Guest login and let others on the beach log into it. Then, you'd have others keeping an eye on it for you while it's out there.

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Consider upgrading and repositioning your router

An 802.11n router is about a decade obsolete now. Wireless technology is greatly improved. Of course, most of the improvements involve throughput speed rather than range, but range has also improved, particularly up at the high end of the market.

You might wish to spring for a more modern 802.11ac multi-band router like the ASUS RT-AC88U or something in the Netgear Nighthawk series. Indeed, the ASUS RT-AC68U, which has been around for YEARS but still remains among the best performers, is available at a very reasonable price from many electronics retailers.

Also, try to position your router near the door to the balcony (I assume with a beachfront condo you have a balcony, right?), where you can temporarily move it outside to the beachfront edge of the balcony. That should help, particularly if your balcony is not behind iron railings, which would tend to screen any RF signal. If you do have iron railings you might try to position the router's antennae outside the railings.

(I got my Asus RT-AC68U back in 2013 and it is the best router I have ever had by such a wide margin that nothing else is even in sight of it. In its six years of service it has literally NEVER had to be rebooted, not even once, except when I updated the firmware.)

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