Connect to wifi outside window shutters
April 16, 2016 6:57 AM   Subscribe

Can I receive a wifi signal without sitting right next to open windows?

I have free municipal wifi available to me outside my apartment. However, in order to connect, I have to open my windows and sit with my computer right by them, as there's no signal inside.

Is there a product that can receive a wifi connection and bring it inside? For example, I'm thinking of some kind of cable/device that would function even through the closed window.

Any suggestions would be great. Thanks.

(Bonus points for a cell phone signal too, but that's probably another question).
posted by amxr to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's many USB WiFi adapters that have significantly better antennae than what's built into your computer. Sometimes they're directional, which means you have to be careful aiming them, but that might be enough to get you online without much fuss.

Some also take antennae connected via a cable, so you could mount the antennae outside and run the cable in like how cable TV is sometimes brought in.
posted by Candleman at 7:32 AM on April 16, 2016

You can get a WiFi bridge with better antennae than your laptop and mount it right in your window - it will have no problem connecting. This will rebroadcast the signal either as the same network or as your own network that connects to municipal WiFi (better for security). You can buy a dedicated device for the purpose or use a router that has the capability (possibly with the DD-WRT firmware). Then you can also use the network for WiFi on your phone or any other devices.
posted by ssg at 7:42 AM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Terrific: thanks.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations as to products or manufacturers.
posted by amxr at 9:01 AM on April 16, 2016

The only routers I have specific experiences with are the Asus models using DD-WRT firmware, which does take a little work to get set up, but is pretty solid running. I'm sure there are easier options to set up, but I can't recommend anything in particular.
posted by ssg at 9:16 AM on April 16, 2016

I use devices from Ubiquiti Networks to do this sort of thing, specifically the nanostation line:
They're commonly used by wireless ISPs as the client-side device.

You'd probably want the "locoM2" model (low-cost/simple antenna on the 2.4ghz band). You configure it with an IP address via the wired ethernet port then set it in client mode and it will bridge or route the wired to the wireless. You'll need a moderate amount of experience with wifi and networking devices to make this work (or a friend) in order to configure it correctly.
posted by frontmn23 at 11:02 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Great: thanks all!
posted by amxr at 4:42 AM on April 17, 2016

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