swf gettng started faq

How do I begin?

Start here by going through our general FAQ. By learning some basic language and concepts about long range WiFi, you will easily navigate our store and find what you need to make your WiFi kit work right out of the box.

What is the range of WiFi?

WiFi range cannot be answered in a simple definite answer. The truth is that WiFi range depends on MANY variables including; distance, obstructions, antenna power and environmental interference. Exact range varies from person to person.

How do I know what to buy?

First you have to understand that a WiFi signal works very similar to a sound wave. The best way to understand this is to picture a conversation between you and a friend. You (the router) wants to send information to your friend (the computer). While you and your friend are close in distance, the information is sent easily and clearly. But now picture you’re trying to have the same conversation inside a park and you’re both at opposite ends, you will have to speak louder in order to be heard. The same holds true when speaking between walls, the thicker the walls the louder you have to speak to pass information.  

What are the main components?

The WiFi world loves to interchange words and their actual definitions. To follow along with us you’ll need to understand a few basic definitions:

USB Adapter – Connects VIA a USB port to any computer or laptop ONLY. Allows for ONE user to receive (listen) for WiFi signals at a greater distance. Higher power means more range. Power is represented in milliwatts (MW) such as; 1000mW or 1 Watt.

Router/Access Point – This Device is the source of internet for end users. This may not always be the case but 9/10 times this component is transmitting WiFi or passing it through LAN. It is not technically the case when some APs (access points) act as a bridge to relay signals.

Antenna – The antenna component is what determines the direction and shape of the signal path. Its’ sole purpose is to help the device it is connected too. Whether that be the router or USB adapter, it helps to shape the reception or transmission of the device. Nothing else. The antenna is ONLY powered once connected to a device.

Cable –  The cable almost always applies to coaxial cable used to connect the USB adapter or router to the antenna. The only time in which a cable is not referred to as a coax component, is when using APs or a USB cable. In this scenario the signal is not RF and actually data. 

What is a WiFi Booster?

This term is the most widely misused word in the wireless world. People apply this term to receivers and transmitters. Know that this term is not technical in any sense and should be ignored when looking at this learning center in detail.

How can I identify what I need?

Now that you understand the major components and their actual definitions, you need to identify what is the correct side of the WiFi system to work on. There exists only TWO possibilities where one falls into, you can either want to receive a signal or transmit more signal. Don’t get confused with concepts and theories. For example if you want to receive more signal on your laptop inside your home, your much better off increasing the transmission strength of your access point VS increasing the reception of your laptop. Two very different routes to an end solution with varying degrees of difficulties.  

What is Line of Sight (LOS)?

Line of sight is one of the largest factors in a successful long range WiFi connection. Remember the point made earlier about the number of walls between you and a friend? Obstructions like other houses, buildings or trees greatly reduce your chances of success. You will have to either send the signal above the obstructions, use cable to get through them or if the situation allows, use ultra strong equipement. The latter being the most difficult to accomplish.

What does GHz, dBi and 802.11 mean?

These important terms explain power and language in which your WiFi connection operates..

GHz – The main point to take away from this; WiFi works primarily on the 2.4GHz band with some newer applications operating on 5Ghz. 99% of all widely used equipment is tuned to the 2.4GHz frequency unless stated otherwise.

dBi – This rating refers the antenna’s ability to transmit signal. Key takeaway: The higher the dBi rating, the more range achievable in the WiFi system.

802.11 –  This refers to the wireless protocols used in the connection. Key takeaway: 802.11b/g are more common but also slower speeds. 802.11n is becoming more popular and allows for much faster speeds. The fastest of all is 802.11a and ac but this protocol only works on 5GHz.l

OK, I think I'm getting it... Now What?

Check out the tabs up top to see where to go next. =)

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