Wi-Fire Long-range WiFi Adapter
hField Technologies www.hfield.com
Do you sometimes have connectivity issues using Wi-Fi hotspots in campgrounds?
WiFi is low-power, two-way radio. Just as with any other radio, a better antenna will give you a better connection. Wi-Fi technology was designed for small offices, home offices and coffee shops. Campgrounds and RV parks present difficult challenges for connecting with many obstructions and reflective surfaces.
The Wi-Fire Long-range WiFi adapter is a better radio and antenna than what is built-in to your computer. With it, you can connect reliably from a much greater distance.
Installation Video: (be patient, it can take a minute for the Play button to appear)
The unit combines a high powered Wi-Fi radio with a high gain directional antenna in a four ounce package which can be mounted on a laptop or LCD screen or just set on a table or shelf. A 4’ retractable USB cable connects to both older 1.1 and newer 2.0 ports. It is compatible with 802.11 b and g protocols in the 2.4GHz frequency range (standard Wi-Fi). WEP, WPA and WPA2 security are supported.
Support for Windows XP or Vista and Mac OS X are included on the supplied installation CD. Also on the CD is a Window’s Connection Manager program. Support for Linux is available on the website.
I have been using the Wi-Fire adapter for a week in the RV park where we are staying. I tested the Wi-Fire at several distances from the access points. Our site is 200 feet from the tower. I get excellent signal with the Wi-Fire and good signal with my built-in. Browsing experience is about the same with either adapter inside my RV. I see 3 more APs using the Wi-Fire. Testing again at 330 feet, I can still connect with my built-in, but browsing is slower. With the Wi-Fire, signal is good and browsing is fast. In the far corner of the park 460 feet from the tower, I could still connect with my built-in, but browsing was much better with the Wi-Fire. Outside the RV park at over 500 feet, I couldn’t stay connected with my built-in and the Wi-Fire connected and browsing was acceptable.
The included Connection Manager software is good and does not interfere with Windows configuration utility, in fact, it works with it.
Not all WiFi hotspots are the same. When you connect using WiFi, you are not connecting directly to the Internet. You are connecting to an access point which is connected to the Internet. If you are close to access point, your built-in Wi-Fi will work just fine. As you put distance and obstructions between you and the access point, you need a better device to connect reliably. This is where the Wi-Fire Long-range WiFi adapter excels.
The mount is a bit clunky and the antenna fell off a couple of times while I was aiming it. Because the antenna is so directional, it takes more time to get the best signal. The retractable USB cable is easily tangled.
The Wi-Fire adapter is a good affordable solution for better connections at WiFi hotspots.