As we all know, the wi-fi hotspots at some truck stops have pretty poor signal strengths particularly if you are parked in the back of the lot. Well here is a possible solution to this problem; the Super Cantenna by Wireless Garden, Inc.
The Super Cantenna is a directional 2.4 Ghz wireless network antenna that can be connected to a wireless router, access point or network card as long as they have a removable antenna or an external antenna jack. Of course, most laptops do not have a removable antenna nor do they have an external antenna jack but there are several types of wireless network cards, including PC Cards or USB, that you can get and use with the Super Cantenna.
One reviewer (http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=2859) was able to access his home wireless network from 1.2 miles away. Now the range is going to depend on what is between you and the access point but any improvement is better than nothing.
The Super Cantenna retails for $39.99 from their web site (http://www.cantenna.com/). You may also need a wireless card to allow you to hook the Cantenna up to your laptop but they aren't that expensive either.
Here is some information that I found over at B&H Photo and Video
The Super Cantenna from Wireless Garden is a powerful directional antenna that is designed for use with 802.11b/g wireless networks. The antenna features a tight 30° signal pattern, allowing for much further range than traditional omnidirectional networking antennas. This allows you to connect to public hotspots or to eliminate dead spots in your home network.
• Targeted Long Range Signal
The Cantenna produces a targeted 30° signal that can be used to transmit and receive data over much longer distances than traditional omnidirectional wi-fi antennas. This is ideal for users who would like to connect to a public hotspot for Internet connectivity or create a shared network with neighbors.
• Eliminate Dead Spots
There are some areas of your home where traditional antennas will simply not reach. You can use the Cantenna to better target your wireless signal, eliminating dead spots and providing more complete wireless coverage for your home or home office.
• Better Than a Pringles Can
Many hobbyists have handcrafted antennas similar to the Cantenna using Pringles potato chip cans. The Cantenna takes that concept and applies careful engineering, for a much more practical antenna solution. Not only is the Cantenna fabricated from lab-tested materials, it includes a professional tripod and RF connectors for a hassle-free installation.
I haven't tried the Super Cantenna YET but you can bet I will. If you've tried one or if you end up trying one, let me know what you think.
Here are some links to some other reviews:
I got tired of the wifi so I went with the air card from Sprint. Now I can be online almost anyplace. As long as there is a cell tower in range I can surf the web. I can be at a shipper or receiver or anyplace in between and not worry about getting kicked off like happens allot at the truckstops wifi.
Comment By: Roadhzrd on Wed, Apr 30 2008 @ 7:57 PM [EST]
What kind of plan do you have with Sprint? I know that Verizon's "unlimited" plan really isn't unlimited. Once you reach 5GB transfer they downgrade the speed. If all you are doing is surfing and e-mail, 5GB isn't a problem, but if you do any videos or cam then that can eat away at 5GB pretty quickly. Me, I'm considering going with both. Use the air card when I can't get a wi-fi signal (I should say a reliable signal) and us the wi-fi for any data intensive stuff like sending a video message or something.
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Thu, May 01 2008 @ 12:19 PM [EST]
We have unlimited use and we do mainly use it for surfing and emails. It's handy for keeping track of the weather. I check radars when I know I'm heading toward possible bad weather. Some of the wifi sites at the truck stops will actually kick you off after using so much. Even though you paid for so many hrs or days. Even with just surfing the web you can get kicked off. Thats why I quit using the wifi. Most of the wifi's out on the road only have room for so many users so you will find you can't get on even though you have a good signal.
Comment By: Roadhzrd on Fri, May 02 2008 @ 2:43 PM [EST]