14 Replies Latest reply: Jun 30, 2008 1:46 PM by noosphereious
YOGA O Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi - thanks in advance for any help on this topic. Also sorry if this post gets a bit long...

As previously noted we live on a sailboat, so many terrestrial based solutions do not work for us.

This fall we will be traveling to the Caribbean where Wi-Fi access may be our best method for connecting to the internet. Last winter we were in the Bahamas and had a Windows laptop. We were able to easily connect to Wi-Fi with a large external antenna (8db) and a long mini-coax cable connected into a Wi-Fi antenna base (Engenius or Alpha) which then connected into the laptop's USB.

Now that I have the MBP and a Time Capsule there does not seem to be any way to use the external antenna. The TC will only connect to a WAN via the Ethernet port.

So two questions (for now):

1 - Is there any way to attach an external antenna to either the MBP or the TC?
2 - Is there a way to convert the USB Wi-Fi antenna to an ethernet connection and "fool" the Time Capsule into thinking it is connected to a cable modem?

Thanks,
YOGA O

Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.3), Apple Time Capsule (500G)
  • 1. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    Jan Hedlund Level 6 Level 6 (8,960 points)
    Yoga O,

    Could a wireless Ethernet bridge (such as the D-Link DWL-G820 or DWL-G810) with a connector for an external antenna possibly be of interest here? Normally, this unit is used for computers that do not have wireless capabilities at all. The connection is made to the Ethernet port of the computer. The wireless Ethernet bridge does typically not require special drivers of any kind, and can thus be used under almost any operating system.

    One option would be to connect the wireless Ethernet bridge (which is then receiving signals from an external network) directly to the laptop computer. Alternatively, it ought to be possible to connect the bridge to the WAN Ethernet port of a router (base station), in which case several laptops could connect to an (other) internal wireless network.

    Jan
  • 2. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    YOGA O Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Jan,

    Thanks that is helpful and may ultimately be the solution. Unfortunately it would require another item to plug in and find a footprint for and on a boat both are at a premium (not to mention add'l $$$)   :(

    Oh well...
  • 3. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    dchao99 Level 4 Level 4 (2,040 points)
    Check with EnGenius, and make sure they don't already have a OS X driver for your USB adapter.

    If you have the EUB-3701 EXT, it has OS X driver support already.
  • 4. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    Jan Hedlund Level 6 Level 6 (8,960 points)
    Hi YOGA O,

    As suggested by dchao99, you could of course check whether Mac driver software is available for your existing USB adapter. If so, there might be a possibility for use with the MacBook Pro.

    Regarding the wireless Ethernet bridge, consider a connection to the WAN Ethernet port of a router (base station) experimental. It is probably better to begin with a direct connection to the Ethernet port of a single laptop computer. There are wireless Ethernet bridge devices from other suppliers, too. Not all units have external antennas; if they have, check the type of connector (some kind of adapter may be needed). Try to keep the antenna cable as short as possible (it is better to use a longer Ethernet cable).

    Jan
  • 5. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    dchao99 Level 4 Level 4 (2,040 points)
    Try to keep the antenna cable as short as possible (it is better to use a longer Ethernet cable

    As long as you work within the specs of these cables, it really doesn't make any differences.
  • 6. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    Jan Hedlund Level 6 Level 6 (8,960 points)
    That is not quite correct. Every extra inch means a certain additional cable loss.

    Jan
  • 7. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    dchao99 Level 4 Level 4 (2,040 points)
    I agree that there are loss to signal going down the coax cable, but coax cable does have very low signal loss characteristics.

    Anyway OP might not want to deal with Power over Ethernet (PoE), and the cost of an outdoor installation.
  • 8. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    Jan Hedlund Level 6 Level 6 (8,960 points)
    but coax cable does have very low signal loss characteristics


    Not at these high frequencies. Depending upon the exact type of coaxial cable used, it is entirely possibly to eliminate the total antenna gain already at relatively short cable lengths.

    Jan
  • 9. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    YOGA O Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks, yes the EnGenius (and Alfa) have OS-X drivers that I have loaded, but after doing so, I get no difference in performance or an indication that I can use anything other than the Airport.

    So far, for something advertised as being intuitive and easy to use, my Apple products are not meeting my expectations, hmmm...
  • 10. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    dchao99 Level 4 Level 4 (2,040 points)
    Networking is complex. I think the TC is geared toward the 90% main stream, which the requirements are simple. And it is never designed to be used outside a building or house.

    I wouldn't bring the TC on the boat, given there is a hard disk inside as well. And look for a dedicated outdoor solution for use on the boat.
  • 11. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    graphics-guru Level 2 Level 2 (200 points)
    A quick Google search reveals as least one firm which modifies the TC with an external antenna for greater range:
    <http://www.quickertek.com/products/timecapsuletriband.php>

    I have no affiliation with this company and suspect there are other modifying TC's as well given its popularity. Have fun on the boat.
  • 12. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    YOGA O Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I am going to mark this one as answered, but it is a disappointing one. If I were keeping score, I would have to say that this one goes to Windows since I know I could use a Windows based solution and achieve the functionality I am looking for.

    Windows 1, Apple 0

    Thanks to everyone who replied.
  • 13. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    noosphereious Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    google it . . .

    These guys have many solutions

    http://www.quickertek.com/

    there are many other options . . .
  • 14. Re: Wi-Fi External Antenna
    noosphereious Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Oh I forgot . . . fix the scores:

    Apple 1
    Windows -1 (just for the fun of it)
    Linux 1.2
    Plan9 2 (seriously, why arnt I be using it? . . . drivers)