Does your router have dead WiFi spots or lack in distance?
Using a better antenna can boost signal quality and is a cheap and easy solution.
Antennas can also be used with WiFi adapters that have a screw on antenna.
Most routers using a stock antenna have a range up to 300 feet. The same router with an external parabolic antenna in theory can go up to 20 miles.
The bowl shape of the parabola would have to be tuned to line of site and no obstructions in the way.
Of course, this is what a good antenna and signal can do in theory. In real life getting 20 miles from a router is all but impossible, but increasing a routers WiFi distance can be done.
WiFi Antenna Basics
Antennas are rated by dBi with larger dBi number being a larger antenna.
Small antenna that come with a router(usually 3-5 dBi) are good up close since the WiFi signal wave has not expanded yet.
As a radio wave travels away from its source the wave expands from its low peak to high peak.
To get a good signal an antenna must be large enough to capture both the high and low peak as it moves.
Will a Larger dBi Antenna Help You?
If you are looking to increase distance yes a larger dBi antenna will help.
A larger antenna will not help with obstructions such as walls or trees.
To get a better signal past obstructions WiFi boosters are a better option.
A wireless USB adapter with a good antenna would be best for a laptop or desktop computer.
Things To Check First
Some routers have a signal booster setting that can be increased. This can be checked by logging into the router and looking for a power increase setting.
Repositioning a router higher up and adjusting the antenna can also help in some cases.
Router Antenna Connector Types
The most common connector is called Male SMA followed by Male TNC. The only way to know for sure what type of connector your router anntena uses is to Google the model number and its specifications.
Alternatively, it can be unscrewed and examined in pictures for a match before buying one.
There are many good units available with some of our favorite picks below.
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon, here, or forums to be sure a unit is the right fit for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Our Picks for Best 2.4GHz and 5GHz Dual Band Antennas for WiFi
- Standard 9dBi Antenna 2.4GHz 5GHz
- Alfa APA-M25 dual band 2.4GHz/5GHz
- TP-Link 2.4GHz 24dBi Directional Parabolic
- Yagi Directional Antenna
TECHTOO 9dBi Omni WiFi Antenna with RP-SMA Connector for Wireless Network Router/USB Adapter/PCI PCIe Cards/IP Camera/Wireless Range Extender(2-Pack)
Many routers come with external antennas that can be replaced with larger screw-on units.
This is a low-cost solution that will give a small boost.
Most router antennas are 3-5 dBi but some are larger so be sure to check your router first.
Alfa APA-M25 Dual Band 2.4GHz/5GHz 10dBi high gain Directional Indoor Panel Antenna with RP-SMA Connector (Compare to Asus WL-ANT-157)
Rated at 10dBi for 2.4 GHz and 10 dBi for 5 GHz the Alfa APA-M25 is a good option over a stock router antenna.
It is a high gain directional unit that is a big boost over standard antennas.
Premiertek Outdoor 2.4GHz 24DBI Directional High-Gain N-Type Female Aluminum Die Cast Grid Parabolic Antenna (ANT-GRID-24DBI)
Rated at 24dBi this parabolic antenna is for someone looking for a serious WiFi signal increase.
Log Periodic Directional Yagi Antenna 15dbi Gain for 3G 4G LTE XLTE AWS IDEN PCS 698MHz-2700MHz Wide Band Full Band
Yagi Directional Antennas have been used for many years by WiFi professionals to get a better signal.
They work very well when pointed directly at the wireless signal source.
It’s worth pointing out that increase in gain comes with increase in directionality. You can’t get more energy out then you put in, so when you focus energy in a given direction you are reducing the energy focused (or received from) other directions.
The simpler co-linear antennas will give a radiation pattern that more and more resembles a squashed donut the longer and higher gain the antenna is. If your other station is outside the radiation pattern then it will see a weaker signal. This becomes relevant when choosing an antenna for general use in your house where your remote stations are walking around upstairs and downstairs (quite often in someone’s pocket or wherever they happen to sit down to use it).
The parabolic and plate antennae are great for point to point communication where the direction to the remote station is fixed. A parabolic antenna could be deployed at either or both ends of the link. For example RAYNET use this setup to provide WiFi access to the mountain tops of the Yorkshire Three Peaks to allow real time reporting of race progress in the annual fell race. The setup here is temporarily placed masts with plate antennae on the hill tops with a second link down into the valley to the base station. The distance is about 8 miles. Alignment is quite critical.
What about using extension cables on detachable antennas? Say going from a basement up one floor? So the router can stay in utility closet but the antennas placed on main floor and outside for backyard?
Running: Asus rt-n55u
ok, so i understand the antenna picking more signal strength on an incoming signal, but what about transmitting. My router still puts out the same wattage regardless of the gain of the antenna. How does this help me transmit farther?
It helps by concentrating the power that your router sends into a single direction. Standard antennas send it out in all directions(including up and down). The more dB gain the tighter the beam.
Hi, my house and cottage is 50 m apart. There is a direct line of site from my house’s outside wall to roof of cottage. I have a Netgear router which does not have srew on connectors for the antennae. Router is behind a wall inside the house. I need wifi inside the cottage. Any advice on equipment required to achieve that?
If you have mains power in the cottage which is fed from the house i.e on the same phase, then try ‘power link’ adapters. They work well for me. One of the pair of adapters is connected to your router via a network cable, and plugged into a spare wall socket, and the other of the pair is plugged into a socket in your cottage. TP link power line adapters can have the capability of transmitting via wifi (mines at 2.4 GHz) or can be connected via another network cable.
Advice: Use a WiFi tool like Wifi Manager to measure and record the “before” signal at several locations. Then measure after any antenna change. Not all routers behave predictably to higher-dBi antennae. “Beamforming” and other router features can muddle communications with non-stock configurations. THAT was a frustrating lesson for us.
using e ASUS RT-AC5300,e 8 stock antennas r quite short,but signal r strong. deciding if to change e antennas to 12dBi RP-SMA dual band type. will it help to boost signal further?
need advice. thanks
Hi, do you have the antenna part number or model # or the link where i can buy it from? this would be very help full. i have the RT AC 3100 and buying 9 db antennas from power supply did not work. Much appreciated