News

January 29, 2015

FCC: Hotels cannot block Wi-Fi

It is a question we get asked often by prospective buyers of Wi-Fi boosting equipment such as the Alfa R36 router.

What can I do if the hotel blocks me from sharing the Wi-Fi signal with other devices? Marriott had recently been fined in Tennessee for doing this, but still felt they were within their legal rights for doing so.

Recently they sought out clarification from the FCC, and received a clear response. This blocking practice is simply not allowed. You are well within your rights to use Wi-Fi boosters and repeaters to help extend a weak hotel Wi-Fi signal in your hotel room. If you are told otherwise, you can file a complaint with the FCC.

Read more here.

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June 16, 2012

Outdoor Wi-Fi Equipment

Rokland is your headquarters for outdoor Wi-Fi receivers and antennas. Whether you have a boat, an RV, or are looking for long range coverage over land, we have a solution for you. We carry a wide array of high powered outdoor Alfa USB adapters, cables, and of course outdoor antennas. If you are looking for a mobile item to take with you on a plane ride, see some of our portable options here.




Omni-drectional antenna solutions: Our 8 dBi and 15 dBi gain outdoor omni-directional antennas are both great options for any outdoor need. They concentrate gain in a 360 degree horizontal pattern and are ideal for picking up signals in any direction. Mobile craft like boats and RVs are ideal places for mounting an omni-directional antenna.

Directional antenna solutions: Our 10 dBi panel and 16 dBi yagi outdoor directional antennas concentrate gain all in the direction they are aimed. This helps penetrate obstacles and interference in that direction. While directional antennas can be used on boats and RVs, they are ideal for fixed location mounting. An example would be attempting to cover the long distance between a main building and an out building. The directional antenna can be mounted outside the out building and aimed toward the signal broadcasting from the main building.

Outdoor receivers and all-in-one solutions: Alfa Network Inc. makes a great outdoor Wi-Fi receiver series called Tube-U. With 802.11g and 802.11n models, the Tube-U line has an N-male connector and can be connected to any outdoor Wi-Fi antenna with an N-female connector. We have special kits which give you a Tube-U receiver and an 8 dBi omni or 10 dBi directional panel antenna.

Antenna extension cables: In most cases you will need an extension cable to run between your indoor Wi-Fi receiver like Alfa AWUS036H and your outdoor antenna. We carry antenna extension cables of different length and with different connector types. We also have pigtails and connectors. See our Cables & Pigtails section or contact us by visiting our Support page if you need assistance choosing the right cable or antenna.

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February 24, 2012

Alfa UBDo-nt8: 150 mbps outdoor Wi-Fi client + 12 dBi antenna

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...


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January 05, 2012

Top 5 Alfa Network indoor USB Wi-Fi adapters

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.

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December 01, 2011

Connection speed vs. throughput speed

One question we get via email quite often asks how come two different model Wi-Fi adapters with the same connection speed to the router (example: 150 mbps) have different Internet download speeds? It would seem if they both get a 150 mbps connection to the same router, and both have a 100% signal, that the data transfer rates should be identical.

This will not always be the case. Though they may be comparable, it is possible for one of the adapters to download or stream video faster with one particular router, but be slower with another. This type of speed is called 'througput speed' and this is the actual data transfer rate the adapter is getting to the Internet. Different Wi-Fi radios have different technology even though they may be the same standard (such as 802.11n). Therefore, while the connection speed to the router could be 150 mbps with both adapters, one may have a 25 mbps throughput speed to your ISP while the other may have 18 mbps. Transfers between the adapters and the router (such as a computer to computer file transfer) should be about the same with either device. But downloads from the Internet may be slower with one vs. the other.

So if both model Wi-Fi adapters you have get similar range, but model A gets faster throughput to your router than model B, does that mean you should toss model B? Not necessarily. Model A may be faster when connecting to your model router, but it could be slower when connecting to a different model router. An interesting experiment for those who have access to multiple adapters and routers is to do a througput speed test with each adapter to each of the different model routers and compare the rates. In some cases there may be a clear winner, while in other cases you may get a split decision.


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November 11, 2011

Our 802.11n Wi-Fi USB adapter for Apple Mac is now 10.7 Lion compatible!

Yes, our 802.11n Wi-Fi USB adapter for Apple Mac is now 10.7 Lion compatible! Effective immediately, all units shipping will have Lion install software on the enclosed CD-ROM. Customers who do not have a CD drive or who already own this adapter can download the Lion software in DMG format here.


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October 28, 2011

Now available- Alfa AIP-W411 low-cost 802.11n wireless router/access point

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 requirements demand.



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.

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September 29, 2011

Now available- Alfa AWUS036NHA high speed Wi-Fi receiver w/ Atheros Align® technology

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.

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September 16, 2011

Wireless Network Efficiency Tip #1

Have you noticed your home Wi-Fi network has slowed down? Do you sometimes get dropped connections or are unable to connect to your network altogether? When this happens, it is normal to think there is a problem with your wireless network adapter or on-board laptop Wi-Fi card. You might even decide to buy a brand new one, thinking your old Wi-Fi card is broken.

In fact, many Wi-Fi connectivity problems can be solved just by restarting your Wi-Fi router and cable or DSL broadband modems. Wi-Fi routers are a lot like computers- they have on-board software (similar to how your computer has a hard drive with an operating system). Just like computers, over time with a number of different connections and operations running, they can slow down and even freeze up. The easiest way to reset a wireless router is to unplug it, wait about 20 seconds, and plug it back in. This does not erase any of your settings such as your network password. We also advise doing the same thing with your broadband modem. Wireless routers can also break down over time. So if you are having connectivity issues with your Wi-Fi router, try resetting it first. If the problems continue, before deciding if it is necessary to buy a new Wi-Fi card or adapter, have a friend or family member come over with their laptop and try to connect to your network. If they also have problems, your Wi-Fi card could be just fine and it may be time to replace the router.

If you find the computer that is hard-wired (connected via Ethernet cable) to your router works without issue but multiple computers in your home have trouble connecting to it wirelessly, that could also indicate a need to reset the router, or a problem with the router.The Ethernet component of wireless routers is a different part of the router from the Wi-Fi AP (access point) built into the router. Sometimes a wired connection may work just fine but a wireless connection will not. This is where doing a reset can help- it restarts the internal AP in the router, the same way rebooting your PC from time to time unloads your computer's internal memory and makes your computer run smoother.

As always, we recommend contacting a Rokland associate for further guidance to troubleshoot any Wi-Fi networking issues you may be experiencing.

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September 09, 2011

Rokland n3 Mac OS Lion beta v2 posted today

We have posted version 2 of our Mac OS Lion beta package 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 but has not yet been introduced to any beta test groups for further testing. 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.

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September 07, 2011

If it works on a Mac, will it work on an iPhone or iPad?

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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August 26, 2011

Rokland n3 Mac OS Lion beta now available

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.

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August 25, 2011

New- an outdoor weather resistant case for Alfa AWUS036H, AWUS036NHR

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.



It features a USB cable hole on the bottom and an antenna/antenna extension cable hole on the top. Also included are eight screws- four wood screws designed to fasten the entire encasement to a surface area, and four smaller screws designed to keep the lid onto the case. This comes with 4 pieces of 5 lb test double-sided adhesive which allows you to fasten the container to an encasement without using the wood screws. This may be ideal for use on the outside of an RV or a boat. The 5 lb capacity of the adhesive is enough to hold any Wi-Fi adapter that will fit and antennas up to 9 dBi.

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August 19, 2011

Two new long range Wi-Fi equipment bundles available starting this week!

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 AWUS036H 1000mW USB + 16 dBi Yagi antenna + 5m LMR-200 extension cable

  • (1x) Alfa AWUS036H 1000mW long range wireless USB adapter, new in retail box with 5 dBi omni directional antenna, (1x) 16 dBi gain outdoor directional yagi antenna with 16 elements, and (1x) 16-foot LMR-200 shielded antenna extension cable to go between the Wi-Fi adapter and antenna. Individually these three items retail for $70.91, so save money with this special kit.

16 dBi gain Yagi antenna + 5m LMR-200 RP-SMA extension cable

  • Perfect for those who already have a long range Wi-Fi adapter with external RP-SMA antenna connector, this package deal includes (1x) 16 dBi gain outdoor directional yagi antenna with 16 elements, and (1x) 16-foot LMR-200 shielded antenna extension cable to go between your Wi-Fi adapter and the antenna.  LMR-200 shielding is industry recommended for low gain loss.



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July 03, 2011

Introducing Alfa Tube-U outdoor long range Wi-Fi receivers

One of the many new products we have on our web site this month is Alfa Network's new Tube-U series of long range outdoor Wi-Fi adapters. They are great for use on boats or RVs. There are two flavors- Tube-U(N), which is an 802.11n model, and Tube-U(G) which of course is an 802.11g model. Tube-U features a high-powered Wi-Fi receiver in weather proof casing, as well as a special shielded 16' USB cable designed to prevent against signal loss. It also comes with mounting ties and features an N-male antenna connector. Check out this video:


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