While they may look like something straight out of an old spy movie, long range wifi antennas are actually cutting edge technology that can give your wireless network’s range coverage a serious boost.
Top 3 Long Range Antenna Picks
More on these antennas further below. The links above take you to Amazon...
They can be used to bridge networks, connect your computer to far away wifi hotspots or to project a wifi signal to a certain location.
There are a few different types of long range wifi antenna that all have different uses. Please read on to find out about them as well as to read about our top picks for long distance wifi antennas.
Main Types of Wifi Antenna
Unlike omnidirectional antennas (we'll come to them in a bit...), directional antennas focus their signal into a specific area. This can allow them to offer more distance coverage, although without offering as wide a coverage area.
Flat Panel Antennas
Flat panel antennas can be used to direct a broad wifi signal. They don’t have the same distance coverage of some of the more focused directional antennas on the list, but they do offer a wider angle of coverage (although not as wide as omnidirectional antennas). This is generally between 35 and 120 degrees and is perfect for directing a wifi signal down a corridor or into a specific section of a building.
Yagi antennas are again directional, and are used in medium distance wifi scenarios. They need to be placed in the correct direction to work properly. Yagi antennas look very similar to TV aerials.
This is another type of directional antenna. They look and work like the satellite dish you may use/have used for your TV. The wifi signal is reflected from the dish and onto the element at the middle of the dish.
As such, parabolic antennas offer the best range of all. They are usually used in point-to-point connections, so are ideal for bridging distant networks.
Directional vs Omni-directional Antennas
Omnidirectional Antennas give you 360-degree wifi coverage. Because of this, the range of coverage distance is relatively weak. However, they are awesome for coverage within a relatively small area. For example, within a home or office floor.
What they lack in total coverage distance they can reach they make up for by having a 360 degree coverage area within their range. The antennas you get with your everyday router are good examples of omnidirectional antennas and they are perfect for most short distance wifi networks.
Omni-directional antennas can also be known as 'Isotropic' or 'Rubber Duck'.
How to Get The Most Out of Omnidirectional Antennas
While omnidirectional antennas will not be able to reach as far as directional antennas, there are techniques you can use to increase their range as much as possible. These include:
- Setting your router up in as central a position as possible in relation to your wifi nodes.
- Increase your router's power if your router allows this function. Be careful with this though. Increasing too much can drown out other wifi hotspots in the area. There are wifi regulations that forbid overdoing this. Also, increasing the power can increase any noise, which can have a detrimental affect on your wireless signal.
- Remove interference by moving physical objects surrounding the router if possible. This can include mirrors, glass and metal surfaces. Also, objects containing water. Humans included! We are made up mostly of water. Water absorbs wifi and affects signal!
- Remove interference from other electrical devices such as bluetooth devices, microwaves and baby monitors. These can all have an impact on your wifi experience.
If you need to increase wifi coverage within your home, you should add a wifi extender, or even better bridge (via wires is easier) to another wifi access point, which should be located centrally within the area that requires coverage.
- How To Set Up A Wireless Router
- Daisy Chain 2 Routers Together
- What is Beamforming? Can It Extend Coverage?
- Best Wifi Extenders
When Should You Use a Long Range Antenna
There are plenty of examples for when you may need a long range range antenna. Here are some of them:
Connect a PC to Networks Far Away
Sometimes you need to connect to a network that is further away than usual. Buying a long range antenna that connects to your PC or Laptop could allow you to connect to one of these networks.
This could allow you to do anything from connecting to your home network from your garden, to connecting with a free wifi network from your house.
There are different types of long range antenna that can be used to connect to different devices. If you want to connect your PC or laptop to a far away network then the best option for you could be an antenna that plugs in, via USB, straight into your computer.
On the other hand, if you want to use your long distance antenna to connect to an access point, you need to make sure the antenna will connect to a router. Different antennas have different connector types, and so do routers, so check this out before committing to a purchase.
Bridge Two Distant Networks
Long range antennas allow you to connect two networks together over wifi so they can share resources including the internet and files. Using a long range antenna you can do this over a larger distance, which could allow you to get internet access in places such as a barn/outhouse or a camping site.
Focus Beamwidth To A Specific Area
Some long range wifi antennas allow you to focus wifi to a certain area. This can be useful if you want to send wifi to a particular direction so clients can pick up the wifi signal.
Think yagi & flat panel antennas here...
Top 3 Best Long Range Wifi Antennas
High Power USB-Yagi NextG-007GTi Plug and Play Directional Wifi Antenna
- Very simple setup, simply plug the antenna into your computer and install the drivers.
- Comes with a tripod to help you setup the direction.
- 2200mW signal strength makes it possible to connect to networks up to half a mile away in ideal conditions.
This is an incredibly easy to set up wifi antenna that will allow your computer or laptop to connect to wireless networks that are far away. It is perfect for people who are based far away from their router.
No support for Apple products sadly.
TP-Link TL-ANT2414A 2.4GHz 14dBi Outdoor Directional Antenna
- 14dBi means it's possible to connect to access points over a mile away (in perfect conditions).
- Can be used as a wireless bridge in your home network.
- Able to connect to a router if your router has an antenna port.
This is a great antenna that you can use to extend your outdoor or indoor network. It can be connected to your wireless router to extend your router’s reach.
TP-Link TL-ANT2424B 2.4GHz 24dBi Directional Grid Parabolic Antenna
- Comes with a mount for easy setup.
- Very powerful 24dBi for long range outdoor connections.
- Weatherproof means the outdoor setting won’t be a problem.
- Manufacturers claim that in the correct conditions range can be up to a massive 56km!
- Able to connect to most wireless devices with removable antennas.
This is a great device for those who need to connect to a wifi signal over a really long distance. It is hardy and can be used outdoors in most conditions.
In conclusion, these long range wireless routers each have slightly different uses and as such, the best one for you will depend on what you want to use it for.
If you want to connect your USB device (PC/laptop) to a far away network, then the Yagi Plug and Play antenna is the one for you as it will easily increase the signal strength on your laptop or computer.
If you want to extend your network range, or bridge, then the TP Link TL-ANT2414A directional flat panel antenna could be the way to go, as it can connect to your router and drastically extend the reach of your wifi network.
Finally, if you need to bridge over very long distances, then consider the TP Link Parabolic Antenna!
Hopefully, you have enjoyed our roundup of the best long range wifi antennas and what exactly they are. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions