Mike, it's quite possible that the guy with the active repeater (two antennas with an amplifier in between) wasn't using WiFi but was using cell phone.
Also, bear in mind that 'poaching' on someone else's WiFi and internet connection is less than cool and even illegal in some jurisdictions. Some have likened it to "If they didn't bother to lock the door, it's OK for me to walk inside the house and use the bathroom". Folks are very split on this and can get quite passionate about it.
OTOH, it's not at all unusual to find CGs with WiFi, or with other RVers with an internet connection that they openly share with fellow campers.
Here's another WiFi antenna made from a salvaged sat tv dish.
BTW, there are three good Yahoo groups, Internet by Data Card, Internet by Cell Phone and Internet by WiFi from which to glean lots of info regarding On The Road Internet.
Here's a quote from an Internet by WiFi post:
RE: [IBWiFi] Neighbor's Wifi and YAGI Antenna??
That's a good question. You don't mention distances, signal strengths (if
you've measured them), a "nice to know" is where the 15ft high mast will be
(roof, etc.). So, I'll give you a general shot in the dark answer as to
what I'd do in your shoes.
(Note - Any CAPITALIZATION is intended for those readers that might require
some additional emphasis on a particular point, prior to their sending an
e-mail with a contrary position.)
1) Measure the signal strength of your neighbors' signal in different areas
in which you could mount the antenna. Remember, there are things in your
home that can affect the reception - passively (i.e. water) and actively
oven; cordless phone). I'd be sure to have the active
devices in use when doing this.
2) It would be ideal if you were able to minimize the length of antenna
coax. You'll get significant loss there, certainly more than with USB. If
necessary, you could use an adapter to make the USB signal an Ethernet
signal, insert WiFi repeater or an Ethernet duplex switch (not a hub) and
run the CAT5 to your router, if that makes sense. Then you can situate the
LAN (as opposed to your YAGI WAN) antenna at the best location. ALL THINGS
BEING EQUAL, I'd run the CAT5 (depending upon the switch, you might have to
use a crossover configuration - the Auto MDIX - feature would eliminate this
concern). I think (I haven't had an opportunity to compare) you'll get less
noise and higher overall performance, assuming the switch is ok).
3) You might need to put a similar antenna etc. at your neighbors' house as
well. Since the signal is TYPICALLY good for @300 feet, don't be surprised
if you need something in addition to the Yagi. You might find a need to
place a repeater in the signal path. If that's impractical, another option
is to add signal amplifiers on both ends of the WAN.
4) At some point you'll need a router, even if you have a repeater
someplace in between you and your neighbors' antenna. I suggest a router,
as opposed to a bridge, because:
a) Some routers can be configured as bridges
They're often less expensive than bridges by the same
manufacturer (economies of scale)
c) Router allows you to configure settings for your own LAN
5) So you can take advantage of whatever proprietary "turbo, extended
range, etc.", purchase the same brand (AND SERIES - THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!)
The same brand, but different series, could have features that are
incompatible) features available in your neighbors' router. If unavailable,
even on eBay, etc. you may need to buy a matching router for the other end
THIS IS ESSENTIAL IF IT IS A RANGE EXTENDING FEATURE.
6) When choosing routers, switches, etc., it's important to pay attention
to the specs. How much buffer memory (You'll see specs with bit and with
bytes. There are 8 bits to a byte). Additionally, often (but not always),
you can use the number of ports AND the number VPN tunnels (realistically)
supported simultaneously to help you choose. Remember, if both your
daughters are running significant bandwidth, this can cause major
degradation of your LAN. So, IF you have a choice, don't cut corners.
Best of luck.
On Behalf Of Michael West
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:11 PM
Subject: [IBWiFi] Neighbor's Wifi and YAGI Antenna??
Hi new to the group and here is my question, my neighbor and I are good
friends and he said my wife and I are more than welcome to use his wifi
which he has with this setup. He gets internet by using wild blue dish
service then from his modem he goes into a basic Netgear router which
sends signal to another room for his wife's computer. We are about 1000
feet apart and have clear line of site to each other. I just bought a
20 element 20dbi gain yagi which I will put up on a mast about 15 feet
high, come into our house with LMR400 coax, then have a pigtail which
goes from N connector to mc and or rpsma connector. Ok what hardware do
I need on my end to hook the coax to so as to create a wireless
enviroment so my girls can get wifi with their laptops? A bridge,
router, repeater, access point or a combination of something? Hey
thanks for all responses and help. Mike