I recently purchased one of the GSKY high power WiFi adapters that connect to your computer via the USB port. These powerful WiFi adapters are marketed towards those who want to pick up WiFi at longer distances than is possible with a laptop’s built in wireless adapter.
The first thing I noticed was an abundance of signals that were simply not there before. In the location seen below, my internal WiFi adaper was only picking up one wireless network. Then I plugged the GSKY WiFi adapter in and began to pick up at least a couple dozen more wireless networks around the city. Below is a screen shot of some of the SSID’s I received. Since the model I purchased had a 7 dBi directional WiFi antenna attached, I could turn the small panel antenna (about the size of half deck of cards) in a different direction and pick up more networks.
If you notice, many of the WiFi networks use no encryption and are open for anyone to connect to. You should be careful when connecting to an open network, since your data transfer may not be secure. However, using free, open WiFi networks provided by cities, coffee shops, RV parks, etc, is one of the biggest reasons people buy high power WiFi adapters like the GSKY in this review.
In my field test and review of the GSKY 500 mW WiFi adapter with a 7 dB gain panel antenna I drove around my city and placed the adapter on the roof in several places with a view of the horizon. In one spot I was able to pick up the city free WiFi network at a distance of two miles. Many users of these high power WiFi USB adapters attach them with Velcro to the back of the laptop, as seen in the photo below. With a cable tie I shorten the USB extension cable and mount the GSKY WiFi adapter so that the panel antenna sticks up over the top of the laptop screen for maximum reception. While keeping the laptop stationary you can turn the mini WiFi panel antenna 360 degrees to find a signal.
At the end of the day I was very impressed with the performance of the GSKY high power WiFi adapter and panel antenna. This is a great combo and is much more effective than using the small omnidirectional antenna by as much as twice the range.
For around $20.00 you may be able to have free WiFi almost anywhere you go, without having to pay a cell phone company a high monthly fee. I’m not saying the GSKY is going to pick up wireless internet in the middle of nowhere, but if you travel in places where there are open networks, such as those provided by McDonalds restaurants, you can pick these open networks up from several hundred feet away by placing the GSKY on your dashboard or roof. I hope you found my review of the GSKY High Power WiFi adapter and panel antenna helpful. I haven’t had this much fun for only $19.99 in a long time.
Want the speed of wireless N, in addition to B and G? GSKY also makes wireless adapter that is twice as powerful as the one above, putting out 1000 milliwatts. It retails for around $39.00. Note, these are often sold as “2000 mw” WiFi adapters but they are talking about effected radiated power when the high gain antenna is used, not actual transmitter output. This antenna includes a handy suction cup window mounting bracket for your home or car. The 7 dB gain panel antenna is about seven bucks, for customers wishing to get even more range. They advertise this model as the “strongest on the market” and while there are other long range WiFi adapters that put out 1000 mW, none are this well designed or inexpensive. I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet but judging from the reviews of the GSKY wireless N high power adapter I see on Amazon, customers are happy with them.
For more on wireless internet reception boosters and long range WiFi gear see: How To Get Free WiFi