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EtherDesigns Cantenna

Below is a simple illustration of width of the Cantenna signal. In most cases the 10″ Deluxe version would suit most people’s needs. However, in our testing we found the 5″ Mini-Tenna worked best when going through two walls, one being half brick.

The Belkin wireless router we’re using is mounted on the ceiling in the downstairs office with, both highlighted in red outline, one antenna in a vertical position, and the other horizontal. I discovered that having the two antennas set in opposite directions gave the best results, given the way the radio waves come off each one.

Raising the wireless router to its highest position also made a big difference. Because both rooms in the houses are ‘garden’ level, height is very important.

Another important point is to avoid having metal objects close, as these too can cause interference with the signal quality. This image is of the wireless router being installed on the ceiling air duct, which can cause performance issues. However, the router was placed on the side that gave the best results for reaching the house across the street. When placed on the other side of the duct, the signal was practically nil across the street. An ideal location for this router would be in the attic, where the signal has less interference.

But placement of the router in such a high location can thin your wallet a bit due to RJ45 cables being a bit on the expensive side. There are other methods to avoid this, like re-soldering the antennas on the wireless router (some wireless routers use connectors) that we have and running it to the attic. However, we’re right back to spending extra money on cabling. And we run into the problem of having to take the Belkin wireless router apart to solder the antenna cable to the internal board, etc., etc. Most wireless routers use connectors which would require going to your local electronics store and purchase the cable, adaptors, and tools needed.

The tricky part is running the cable to either the top of your house or in your attic without having any cable(s) showing and keeping the installation clean and hidden. But for practical uses, we’re going to keep it simple, as shown in the image above, and see where it leads us.

EtherDesigns themselves seem to be doing quite well with its product, too. Below is a little autobiographical history on the individual behind the product, and where it’s being used. I found the Afghanistan part quite interesting:

About Alan Rothberg & EtherDesigns

“Started working in computers in 1983 (the year after the 286 came out), fresh out of college. Begin working as a computer technician and eventually worked my way into network administration for several large facilities.

Spent the summer of ’99 at Stanford University in CA studying Ethernet wireless. While in CA, was exposed to WarDriving and started building antennas for 802.11b. Upon arriving back in NC, I was responsible for the design and deployment of one of the first college campus WLANs in NC. Currently work as a network consultant, specializing in wireless network design.

“Brush with Greatness” (as Dave Letterman puts it); while in school working as a laptop technician, I received a call from the Sound Engineer from Bon Jovi’s band.

They were playing in Charlotte that night, and the Toshiba laptop they used had some major problems. Because we were an ASP for Toshiba, I grabbed some parts and went onsite to where they were. It turned out to be a system board and I stayed and replaced it and got them going.

For that, I got to hang out backstage and meet everyone. I was also given four, front row seats and invited several friends for a great night of R-n-R! Finally, being a geek paid off, ha-ha!!”

Interesting projects being done with EtherDesigns cantennas

  • System design for some A-10 pilots in Afghanistan, so that wireless could be used back to their base
  • Castle in France has four cantennas installed. They couldn’t drill into the castle walls to run Cat5
  • Model rocketry group in the Midwest is using them for high altitude telemetry feedback
  • Community wireless project in Oregon (www.oofwan.org)
  • Several ISPs are using them in different locations
  • Several boaters use them for internet access at their dock, or while on the water

 


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