A dream come true for frequent travellers?
WiFi is wonderful for giving you intermittent, on-the-go access to the Internet. The fact that it has spread to blanket so much of the world, so quickly is worth celebrating. But WiFi has its limits, as anyone who has ever attended some sort of 'con' or trade show can attest. Hotel WiFi is often spotty too- you won't get a great connection on floor 5 if the router is on floor one.
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Unless you turn to SCIENCE! for help. Enter the Mini Yagi antenna. This strange piece of techno-wizardry uses two antennas to give you much greater reception. A direct line-of-sight is always preferable, but the Yagi's creators brag that it is capable of sharing a signal for as much as 3-to-5 miles distance.
This is a 1400 dBi antenna with a built-in USB WiFi adapter that handles 802.11-B and 802.11-G. The mini Yagi is 11.5" long, needs no battery and is supposedly "weatherproof". The makers, Innovative Device, promise a thirty day trial period. If you aren't happy with your buy at that point, you get a full refund- initial shipping included.
Innovative Device has an Ebay store. They sell the portable USB Yagi for $105, and well as larger antennas and other equipment for your sickest wardriving fantasies.
The Innovative Device website deserves a mention here, because it is quite possibly my favorite website of any company ever. ID asks- several times- for interested customers to contact them first and state their situation / needs. This way an expert with the tech can tell you if their antenna is the right product for the job, before you buy it.
The Yagi site is also full of shout-outs to other online retailers selling similar products. Here's my favorite:
"Please be aware that other sellers want to sell you similar product stating that they are stronger (we have seen as much as 32dBi). That RIDICULOUS. The seller who put this information don't even know what he is talking about, he give you a total value of the dbm (power) and dbi (front-back ratio) this is two completely different thing and this value is totally useless and unfair (but look good when someone try to fool you)."
This delightfully combative attitude shines through elsewhere. The ID eBay store has an excellent feedback rating, but there are always unsatisfied customers. The team behind the Yagi actually goes out and responds to bad feedback with their side of the story. I'm not sure if that is shady or heartening.
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Altogether, Innovative Device feels like a company made up of professional, dedicated engineers...and nobody else. Their site's layout is awful, they don't proofread and every "company" opinion expressed is done so in a blunt and painfully honest manner. I don't know what kind of future ID has, but I wish every other company in the industry acted the same way.