Liv JonesLive fast, love hard, travel till it hurts.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Upgrading Router Antennas with TP-LINK TL-ANT2408CL

So recently I've taken on a project to boost Wi Fi here at headquarters. Using a TP-LINK 840ND with detachable antennas as a repeater (running DD-WRT), I picked up a couple of new TP-Link branded 8 dBi antennas off Amazon for a few dollars. They have pretty good reviews but the question is would they actually improve the WiFi?

The first thing you have to understand is that by increasing the dBi, you're actually changing the way the signal is received and transmitted. Increasing antenna dBi may increase horizontal signals while diminishing vertical signals. Therefore, in a multi-story home, replacing the antennas may not be as beneficial. However, in my case (a single level home) it did increase the signal strength by about 5%. For under $20, you can upgrade your home router with detachable antennas simply by unscrewing the factory 5 dBi antennas and tossing on a pair of these.

As you can see, the OE antenna was producing about 13% quality when I tested them side-by-side, with a -83 signal. One minute later, with two of the TP-Link replacement antennas in place this increased substantially.


The results meant the signal increased to -78 with 19% quality.

Oddly, while the factory antennas preferred a toed-out alignment, the replacement antennas seem to love the straight-up alignment (they're physically about twice the size). It helps to use some sort of signal tool to determine the best placement, but overall, for around $15, I've made a significant improvement in the networks reliability and speed.

What does this mean for you? If you're suffering WiFi issues (like the signal not reaching certain rooms or your yard) then these are a super easy upgrade that anyone can do. All you need to do is make sure is that your router has detachable antennas. If not, pick up a router on Amazon for about $30. I chose the TP-LINK 841ND (There's a D version for detachable, and a non-detachable version, so be careful), and a pair of TP-Link's 8 dBi antennas for about $7.50 a piece.