If you are setting up a wireless home network, you should know that you can maximize your network's performance by replacing the WiFi antenna. While this is not necessary in the majority of cases, if you are having trouble getting access to the network throughout your home, or if you just can't strategically place your router or access point because no matter where you put it, the signal strength is weak in places, replacing the WiFi antenna may be the solution you've been looking for.
Built-In WiFi Antennas
Most access points and routers contain built-in omnidirectional antennas. These antennas send signals out equally well in all directions. This makes router or access point set up easy, since when it is placed in the center of the home, and wireless devices are located throughout the rooms, an omnidirectional antenna ensures that signals are sent to all corners of the house.
However, while the omnidirectional antenna built-in to your router or access point makes setup easy, it may not be the most effective antennas for your wireless home network. The built-in antenna may have trouble reaching all places in your house where network service is required.
Built-in omnidirectional antennas can have trouble sending signals for long distances because power must be expended in all directions. This means there is less power left over for long distance coverage.
To address this problem, some manufacturers sell external omnidirectional antennas that are significantly stronger than the built-in antennas. This increases the distance that the routers and access points can service. This will in turn increase network performance.
But there are also security concerns for wireless antennas that are too strong. The stronger your omnidirectional signal, the more likely it is to bleed outside the house, where signals can be snooped and exploited.
To deal with this concern, you can replace your omnidirectional antenna with a high gain directional antenna. This will send a strong signal in a particular direction of your choosing. Since the signal is focused, it can be better controlled by aiming it at the area of your home where wireless devices are located.
Many routers have an external antenna jack that allows you to connecting the new antenna. Consult the router product documentation for details.