Some remote locations, such as KOA campsites and RV parks, offer free wireless access points, or “hotspots”. However, if you are not very close to such a hotspot, you might have great difficulty getting online. By following the advice outlined below, you will dramatically increase your chances of being able to get online during your next camping trip or woodland expedition.
Have the Right Equipment
Most notebook computers come with built-in wireless networking support. However, the built-in transmitter is often weak. In addition, the receiving antenna is usually very small and not as sensitive as it could be. Hooking up an external wireless client device can dramatically improve your chances of picking up a coherent signal out in the middle of nowhere.
You have a few options in the realm of wireless client devices. USB and PCMCIA cards are cheap and plentiful. You will see the best results if you choose one with high sensitivity and transmission power. However, the best performance comes from wireless bridges with their own external power supply. These are best attached to specialized external antennae attached via a coaxial cord.
When choosing an external antenna, you will have to decide between “directional” and “omnidirectional”. A directional antenna is an elongated device that is pointed directly at the access point one wishes to communicate with. This approach focuses energy in a narrow beam rather than dispersing it in all directions. However, you will need to know where the access point is to use it properly. An omnidirectional antenna does not need to be pointed in any particular direction. They sometimes work better when elevated, such as from a high tree branch.
Use the Right Configuration
Although most people are used to configuring their wireless network equipment for maximum performance, this can have a negative impact on long-distance communication. In order to achieve the most stable connection, try setting your wireless adapter or bridge to transmit using 802.11b at a low data speed, such as 1 megabit per second.
Image Credit: woodleywonderworks
Peter Wendt is a writer from Austin, Texas. He enjoys outdoor activities, but can’t stand it when he can’t bring his laptop with him for long periods of time. That’s why he chooses this provider when he needs to make a wifi hotspot.