If you have purchased a new Wi-Fi repeater system, whether one from your local store or a more complex kit like the Alfa WiFi Camp Pro 2, you may have decided to give it a test run at home in the same room as your router.
You may have been surprised to see that at 100% signal and not much distance between your computer, router and your repeater, your speed through the repeater was slower than when directly connecting your PC to your home router's Wi-Fi signal. Isn't your booster system supposed to make everything faster or at least be the same?
Repeaters are designed to take a fair/weak Wi-Fi signal and rebroadcast it (repeat it) as a new Wi-Fi signal that will cover additional area where signal could not previously be received well. When you setup a repeater at close range to a router, you are detouring data packets through an unnecessary route. The best way to describe it comes from this post we saw on CNET forums:
PC to router = 1 request and 1 reply.
What exactly does this mean? Wi-Fi is a half duplex technology. This simply means data is sent then received (with an Ethernet cable connection, data is sent and received at the same time). When you use a repeater to extend coverage, you are creating a second half duplex signal that data must travel through, which slows down packet rates. When you set up your repeater where coverage is fair or weak, it will extend signal further to areas where you could not get signal, and you will go from having weak signal to having a stronger signal and faster data speeds. However at close range, the repeater cannot serve its purpose of extending coverage because coverage is already good, and actually will cause your speed to be slower.
Additionally, the FCC has power limits for WiFi products. Modern computers and cell phones use multiple antenna streams to communicate with your home router, and they split power among these streams, so they cannot pick up from very far away. But at close range, they are pretty fast. Our Alfa WiFi Camp Pro system uses one single band 2.4 Ghz antenna stream and we put all of the allowed FCC power on this antenna, to give you the further distance. So if you are at close distance, your PC's internal card will be faster because it has more streams. But the Camp Pro can connect better and stronger in areas where your internal card gets weak signal and is unable to maintain a connection. This is the goal of our product.
Bottom line- definitely test your repeaters like the Alfa Camp Pro 2 inside your home before going on the road to familiarize yourself with the setup process and ensure all hardware is working. But don't rely on close range speed tests to determine if the equipment is doing its job.
The reason this happens is because the driver switches between USB 2 and USB 3 modes as needed.
These devices are backward compatible with older networks that have speeds below 480 mbps, such as 802.11n 150 and 300 mbps networks. The default mode of these USB 3.0 devices according to diagnostics is USB 2.0. When you are not connected to any network, this is the mode that will be displayed. When you connect to an 802.11n network, or a 1T1R 802.11ac network, the adapter will stay in USB 2.0 mode because the max speed of 480 for USB 2.0 is more than your network connection rate.
But connect to an 802.11ac network above 480, such as an 867 mbps 802.11ac 5 GHz network, and then check diagnostics again. Now it shows USB 3.0 as the mode. The chipset uses smart switching to go into either mode depending on what type of network to which you are connected.
Now available is our video guide showing you step by step instructions for updating or changing the firmware version of your Alfa R36 router. Generally if your R36 router is working fine then you do not need to update the firmware. But if you need to change what adapters is supports (for example you own an R36 router used with your old AWUS036H adapter and you just bought the new AWUS036NHV and want to make your R36 compatible) then a firmware update could be necessary.
Incompatibility issues with Alfa AWUS036NHR v2 and Windows 8.1 appear to be over with the release of this updated Client UI/Driver release from Alfa Network, Inc. We have tested it to be stable. Previously Windows 8.1 use would result in a crash on plug-in of the AWUS036NHR adapter, or shortly after plug-in unless the Client Utility application was manually uninstalled via Control Panel first.
Many have asked us how they know if they have Windows 8.1. The short answer is unless you purposely upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 in the Windows app store, you have Windows 8. But to be sure, it is easy to check. On your Windows 8 home tile screen, pull up the search box and type "Control Panel". Inside Control Panel, click "System and Security" and then click "System". Look on that screen for "Windows Edition". If it says Windows 8, you have Windows 8. If it says Windows 8.1, you have Windows 8.1.
If you have problems with this driver update and need help, please click the Support menu option up top and contact our support department. Blog comments are not regularly reviewed by our staff.
Alfa AWUS036NHR v2, the newest long range WiFi USB adapter from Alfa Network Inc. is now in stock.
AWUS036NHR v2 features a redesigned interior that enhances quality and functionality. Use it to get much better Wi-Fi range on your desktop or laptop PC. No built-in Wi-Fi card is required, this is a standalone Wi-Fi receiver. Featuring a high end Realtek RTL8188RU chipset, Alfa AWUS036NHR has markedly improved receive sensitivity compared to its predecessor, model AWUS036NH. If you have been holding out on upgrading your 802.11g standard Wi-Fi adapter or your store-bought basic power 802.11n adapter isn't getting it done, now is the time to end the holdout. Alfa's AWUS036NHR combines the fast speed of 802.11n with long range reception for both 802.11g and 802.11n WiFi standards.
Now includes Windows 8 install software on CD
AWUS036NHR will work with any computer that has an available USB port and Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8. It ships with a Linux driver, but this driver comes with no warranty or support. Linux is a user supported operating system and at this time we do no have install guides for specific Linux installs. We recommend searching online using the chipset name RTL8188RU to find out if this is compatible with your Linux distro.
This works on Microsoft Surface Pro tablets running Windows 8 (requires driver download) but does NOT work with Windows Surface RT tablets or other tablets/laptops running Microsoft Surface RT, which looks like Windows 8 but is actually a locked down version of Windows that does not support 3rd party drivers.
Please note we post this link as an informational resource only and are not currently able to provide support for this open source information or for installing or using AWUS036NHA in Linux.
Update 10/31: Alfa Network, Inc, has posted this useful how-to on their blog.
R36 is a unique WiFi router from Alfa Network, Inc. which allows you to share a WiFi connection from your AWUS036NH or AWUS036NHR WiFi USB adapter. It is the only router on the market that allows the input to be a USB WiFi adapter (the USB WiFi adapter must be Alfa brand, and must be one of the compatible models listed). Using its repeater mode, you can receive a long range WiFi signal on the R36 and share it with other WiFi enabled devices like tablets, game consoles, and other computers.
If you have been in the market for an outdoor weather resistant Wi-Fi
client, the new UBDo-nt8 from Alfa Networks is an excellent choice. It
features a 150 mbps 802.11n wireless receiver built into an outdoor
weather resistant casing. It contains two mast-o ring mounting rings and
a 8 meter (~24 feet) USB cable with a special dual-Y USB connection end
that goes into your computer (features both a power/data connector and a
secondary power-only connector so that you can use 2 USB ports on your
computer to provide full power to the device without needing an external
power source for it). Read more...
New to Rokland is Alfa AHPE305. These 200 mbps powerline ethernet bridges offer fast throughput to your ISP, while leaving room for other devices to be plugged in at the outlet. Sleek and lightweight, AHPE305 is the perfect powerline bridge for home or travel.
Need help deciding which Wi-Fi adapter to get? We make it easy with our new feature that ranks indoor Alfa Network Wi-Fi USB adapters by both range and speed. When you are buying an Alfa adapter, you really can't go wrong either way as all Alfa models get good range and speed. But our new rankings show you the ones that get the best overall range and the best overall speed so you can decide which will be the best for your needs.
Our range rankings were created based on a test of which adapter could see the most networks in total. Our speed rankings were created first based on which adapter had the fastest overall connection speed to the router. For those adapters that had the same maximum connection speed, we sorted those based on which had the fastest overall throughput speed to our ISP based on a throughput test. Because this can vary based on ISP and router model, we also averaged in feedback from customers about which model had the fastest througput.
We did not include outdoor models from Alfa, these rankings are just for indoor models.
Every day from December 13th through the 24th we will have different daily deals as part of our "Twelve Days of Christmas" promotion. To see what items are on sale on a given day, just click here.
Note the coupon code at the top of that page- to save on the items displayed you will need to enter that coupon code during checkout.
If you are an owner of the ViewSonic® NexTV® VMP75 Full HD 1080p network media player, you might be happy to know you can increase the range of your Wi-Fi connection with the AWUS036NEH long range wireless USB adapter from Alfa Network.
Alfa's AWUS036NEH is a sleek yet compact 802.11n Wi-Fi USB adapter with an external RP-SMA antenna port. You can use it with the included 5 dBi gain antenna, or upgrade the antenna should you require even longer range. Note the above images are not to scale with each other, the AWUS036NEH is smaller in size vs. the VMP75.
This may just be the coolest product ever made by Alfa Network. Have you ever wanted to pick up a Wi-Fi signal from far away? Well of course, who hasn't. And Alfa has their AWUS036H 1000mW USB adapter for that very purpose. But have you ever wanted to have all of your Wi-Fi capable devices- like your iPhone, iPad, wireless printer, TiVo DVR, and laptop- all connect to a Wi-Fi signal far away? Perhaps you're living in an off-campus apartment and you already own an AWUS036H from Alfa. That lets your laptop easily pick up the campus Wi-Fi network, but it doesn't do any good for those other devices, putting you in quite a fix.
Exit fix, enter R36. The R36 is a new USB-enabled wireless router from Alfa Network, Inc. that allows you to attach your AWUS036H Wi-Fi adapter from Alfa directly to the router itself. Then you can scan for and connect to far-away networks using the admin utility built into the R36. This creates a new local Wi-Fi signal right in your room so all of your Wi-Fi capable devices can pick it up. Think of the R36 as a normal Wi-Fi router, but instead of using a cable or broadband DSL modem as the Internet source, it uses the Wi-Fi signal detected by the AWUS036H as the Internet signal. The R36 then repeats this signal around you as a new signal. The base package does not include an AWUS036H Wi-Fi receiver, but we do have this special kit that includes both.
Alfa's R36 can also be used with Alfa receiver models AWUS036EW and Tube-U(G).
Rokland now carries AIP-W411 from Alfa Network, a 150 Mbps Wireless 802.11n
router designed specifically for small business, office and home
networking. With a built-in 4-port Ethernet switch, and an
RP-SMA antenna connector, AIP-W411 gives you everything you need at a fraction of the price of today's retail-shelf routers with similar features. You can connect the included 5 dBi gain
antenna to the router, or use a higher gain antenna you already own or
may plan to buy. Many of today's 802.11n routers do not have an external
antenna port which means you cannot upgrade the antenna if you range
AIP-W411 also features an on/off switch. For most routers, in order to power-cycle (soft reset) or turn the router off you have to directly unplug it, wait 30 seconds, and plug it back into the wall. Having the on/off switch is more convenient and allows you to quickly turn off the router so you can conserve power if you will be out of town of don't plan on using the router for an extended period of time.
Now in stock at Rokland- the Alfa AWUS036NHA, a high speed Wi-Fi USB adapter featuring the Atheros AR9271 chipset with Atheros Align® technology. AWUS036NHA offers better true throughput to your ISP compared to other Wi-Fi USB adapters. It is perfect for video streaming, large downloads, and online gaming.
More from the manufacturer:
"Atheros Align® technology leverages the 802.11n 1–stream specification to provide the optimal upgrade path from legacy 802.11 solutions. The single-stream feature enables a new class of Wi-Fi devices that deliver performance enhancements over the existing 802.11g technology, at comparable price points. Align® solutions are forward compatible to higher-performance, multi-stream, MIMO–based 802.11n, and are available in reference designs to serve the networking, PC and consumer electronics markets. The enhanced throughput of Align 1–stream solutions improves network efficiency by occupying the wireless channel for shorter periods than slower 11g devices – reducing congestion and increasing capacity for additional wireless devices."
Alfa AWUS036NHA is now in stock and available for immediate shipment. It comes with a 5 dBi gain external antenna, USB cable, and driver CD. It is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.
New from Alfa Network- a 5m (16 feet) "active repeater" USB extension cable. This is a special
type of cable that buffers power over the distance of the cable.
Standard USB extension cables- the kind you may find online or in office supply stores for a
few bucks- are "passive" cables that do not buffer the power signal and therefore lose power over the length of the cable. This means they cannot offer enough power for high consumption
devices, such as Alfa's line of long range Wi-Fi USB networking
adapters including AWUS036H, AWUS036NH, and AWUS036NHR. This also has
special shielding to insulate against power loss- you will notice out
of the package it is quite a bit thicker than standard USB cables.
This allows you to put your long range Wi-Fi USB adapter further away from your computer to help improve the range.
As Apple Inc. makes Macs, iPhones, and iPads, it is normal to wonder whether a wireless USB product that we advertise as Mac compatible will also work on an iPhone or iPad. The answer is no- for two reasons:
- Operating system- modern Macintosh computers run
Mac OS X, and our Mac compatible wireless products generally require at least
version 10.3 or 10.4 (also known as Panther and Tiger respectively). The iPhone
and iPad run a completely different operating system called “iPhone OS” and software for Mac OS X cannot be used on iPhone OS devices.
- USB port power- even if our manufacturers wrote iPhone OS compatible software for their products, it is unlikely any of our current products would ever work with iPhones or iPads because of the power limitations of the USB port option for iPhone/iPad. These devices do not have a USB port themselves, but they do have camera connection kits that have a USB port. However the ports on these emit a very low amount of power- 20 mA to be precise. Long range wireless receivers typically require 350-450 mA to function. A USB port on a standard desktop computer emits 500 mA. Apple has designed the USB port on the camera connection kit to work specifically for file transfer only- 20 mA is not even enough to power a digital camera, but of course digital cameras have their own power supplys to compensate.
Technology changes all the time, and it probably won't be long before these obstacles are overcome. But for now, unfortunately it is not possible to use a long range USB Wi-Fi adapter on an iPad or iPhone.
We now have a Mac OS Lion beta package available for users of the Rokland n3 long range 802.11n wireless USB adapter. This beta may also work with Alfa's AWUS036NH model. This beta package has been tested at our location on multiple Mac OS 10.7 Lion systems as well as a beta test group. Most users in the test group had no issues, but some did. Therefore we are not ready to call this a stable release. We are continuing to develop a stable Lion driver, and appreciate feedback from anyone who tries this beta package. At this time we are not able to provide technical support for use of the beta software though, but we will publish any known issues/fixes.
If you are in need of a long range outdoor Wi-Fi solution, before you consider a pricey $100+ outdoor receiver, why not simply put your indoor long range Wi-Fi adapter outdoors? Now you can use your Alfa AWUS036H, AWUS036NHR, or Rokland n3 wireless USB outdoors with our weather resistant case mount enclosure.
For those that need multiple items- such as a Wi-Fi adapter, outdoor antenna, and antenna extension cable, we are expanding our "Wi-Fi Bundles/Kits" category to include more discounted offerings. Our two new addtions this week are:
Alfa’s AWUS036NHR is Linux
compatible. It also works with Backtrack 5 (BT5), but is not plug and play. Driver
installation is needed (note: at this time it does not appear to be possible to
get AWUS036NHR into monitor mode AND have 802.11n capabilities at the same
time, see Alfa’s AWUS036NH or Rokland’s n3 for 802.11n and monitor
mode capability in Backtrack 5).
The following is a quick-install guide for Linux users. This should allow you to use your AWUS036NHR for Wi-Fi access in most recent Linux distributions running kernel 2.6.38, but as noted, monitor mode does not appear to be supported by this driver. Further down we have a link to a driver that is reported to allow you to use AWUS036NHR in monitor mode, but the corresponding web page notes the device will only have 802.11g functionality.
To install your Realtek RTL8188RU based AWUS036NHR in Linux, first download the driver here. The following steps were taken on an HP laptop running Backtrack 5, but the steps should be similar for other recent Linux distros.
*If you are not able to unzip the driver download file in Linux, you will need to download the file to a Windows computer to unzip and then copy the contents to your Linux computer via flash drive or another method.
1. When you have the files
extracted on your Linux machine, open a terminal window and navigate to the
location of the drivers.
2. Type ./install.sh to install the driver package
3. If installation completes successfully, then you can connect the Alfa adapter to the computer and open “Wicd Network Manager” from the Internet menu to connect to networks. Inside Wicd, click Preferences and change the network device to the AWUS036NHR adapter. If you are not sure of the device name, in a terminal window type “iwconfig” without quotes and it will list it there. Commonly the device will be called wlan0, wlan1, or wlan2 depending on whether you have other wireless cards installed on the computer.
4. If you receive a makefile error about “no rule to make target modules”, you may need to prepare kernel headers. As root, at the command line run these commands (you will need to have Internet access on the computer already):
cp -rf include/generated/* include/linux/
5. Upon completion, repeat step number 2 above to complete driver installation. Then connect the adapter to the computer and proceed to step 3.
There is a driver called urtwn which specifies compatibility with RTL8188RU chipset-based devices, and allows for them to be put into monitor mode. The documentation for the driver explains that 802.11n functionality is not supported, so RTL8188RU devices will only operate in B/G mode. Rokland has not yet tried to use this driver with AWUS036NHR and is not able to offer installation assistance or support. You can visit this site for download information and more details:
Just a quick note to let people know that Alfa's AWUS036H long range 1000mW USB Wi-Fi adapter has tested plug and play in Backtrack 5. This means that no messy Linux driver installation was needed to use the device to hook up with our office AP and go online. We have not done any advanced testing with any programs included in BT5, but as the RTL8187L Linux driver it uses has been around for some time there is no reason to think it will not work with the same programs it works with in BT3 or BT4.
If you snoozed on our pre-order deal, grab your AWUS036NHR now for just $34.97 with FREE SHIPPING within the US!
Alfa's AWUS036NHR is the long-awaited successor to their popular AWUS036NH long range 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter. What's different? Even...longer...range...to both N and G access points! Based on the sensitive Realtek RTL8188RU chipset, AWUS036NHR gives you the fast speeds of 802.11n and stronger signals than most existing 802.11n Wi-Fi products. Not convinced? Check out this range comparison test vs. Alfa's AWUS036NH model:
Alfa Network's newest 802.11n long range Wi-Fi USB adapter, model AWUS036NHR, launches next week. To see how it compares to Alfa's current long range N model, AWUS036NH, check out this video:
Then you can pre-order AWUS036NHR directly from our web site and save 10% by using coupon code "AWUS036NHR" during checkout.