Improve Your Laptop’s Wifi With A Wifi Antenna Booster

Wifi Antenna Review

Wifi Antenna: My Mobile Office in Bangkok

Travel Gear

Need to stay connected on the road? Boost your computer’s wifi signal by 200+ yards using a cheap and powerful external wifi antenna.

As a full-time digital nomad who works from his computer around the world, strong wireless internet connections are critical to my lifestyle. While I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the availability of wifi in many countries, there are definitely times when I wished my MacBook’s wifi card was more powerful.

Like when I need to upload high-resolution photos or video for work projects.

Sometimes hostel, hotel, or cafe wifi connections can be weak or spotty depending on how close you are to the source.

Stronger Wifi Signals

I’ve discovered a fantastic solution to my relentless wifi addiction. You can buy a wifi range extender for your laptop, like the TP-Link N300 Wifi Antenna.

This ingenious little piece of computer equipment rocks. It increases my laptop’s WiFi signal strength 3 to 5 times — I’m able to locate many more open wireless networks than with my computer’s internal wireless card.

A folding directional antenna helps pick up the best signal and maximizes my chances for connecting to the internet in remote locations.

Eight Networks To Thirty Eight!

For example, I’m currently basing myself from Bangkok, Thailand to get work done. With my Macbook Pro’s internal wifi card I can pick up 8 different signals nearby. But with my external wifi antenna, I can see 38 networks. That’s a big difference!

What Are The Benefits?

There are 2 primary situations when having a wifi antenna helps greatly. The first is when I’m staying at a hotel, guesthouse, or hostel and the wifi signal doesn’t reach my room.

Maybe there’s only one router, and it’s in a public area. Connecting my external wifi antenna allows me to work from the comfort of my room with a powerful signal. The range seems to be a few hundred yards depending on how many walls/buildings are in between.

The other situation is when I find the perfect cafe to work at (ambience, coffee, prices, food, comfort), but their wifi connection sucks. However maybe there is a cafe down the street with a much better connection. Using my wifi antenna, I can connect to the 2nd cafe’s fast wifi, while working from the cafe I actually prefer.

It may not seem like much, but finding a decent workspace with good wifi is very important for my productivity when working on the road.

Wifi Antenna Booster

38 Available Networks!

WiFi Antenna Booster

The extended range of this external wifi card has saved my ass on quite a few occasions while traveling. Because the boosted wifi signal is so much stronger, I’m frequently using it even when my internal card sees some of the same connections.

A 20% network signal suddenly becomes a 99% signal after hooking up my TP-Link wifi antenna.

For convenience, I’ve used velcro to attach the wifi antenna to my laptop, so I can easily walk around with it. I also bought an ultra short USB cable for it to keep things tidy.

Setting Up Your Wifi Antenna

For Window’s users, setup for a TP-Link wifi antenna is pretty straightforward. It should already come with the proper drivers for plug & play installation.

But for Mac users, setup is a bit more complicated.

You need a special driver for it to work on your Apple. I use OSX 10.10 Yosemite, and it works for me after downloading and installing the driver found here. It’s the one called “TL-WN822N_V3_MacOS10.8″.

Mac OSX 10.10 Yosemite: Still having trouble? Try this download link.

Next, restart your computer and plug in your wifi antenna. Open the “Wireless Network Utility” program if it doesn’t open by itself. Check available networks and connect to one, you may need to enter a password twice at the bottom.

Save frequently used networks so you don’t need to input passwords each time. Do this under “Add To Profile”.

I hope you enjoy your new boosted wifi signal! ★

More Information

Product: TP-Link N300 Wifi Antenna
Cost: $19.99
Useful Notes: Not only is this wifi antenna cheap, it’s also surprisingly small & lightweight. You won’t need it all the time, but when you do, you’ll be very happy to have it. I sure am!

READ NEXT: Ultimate Travel Gear Guide

Have you ever wanted a stronger wifi connection?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

62 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I was wondering if this should work on an Acer Chromebook? I realize that I’ve already asked this question, however after I commented the first time, I noticed that my email address was wrong. This comment has the right email. Thank you!

  2. I read this and ordered on ebay. I use various downloads of appointment setting and they rely on speed and good reception regarding the “crackle” “breaking up on me” etc. So I hope this alleviates this problem there were so many variations and I bought exactly what this article said “TP-Link N300 Wifi Antenna.” and hope it’s not for the MAC and I hope the installation is simple. Thank’s for the hint. Will comment later on result.

    1. This works! I did not put the CD in the computer either! It worked great just taking out of box. Put the ears up. Plug into the laptop and GO! Definitely great. Thanks again!

  3. Hello: I was hoping you could clarify something. When I looked at the TP-Link product in your article, it was described as a USB Wifi adapter, not just an antenna. I already have a USB Wifi adapter, but I have problems using it b/c I cannot get my internal laptop Wifi card to “turn off” so that I can use the external USB Wifi adapter. So I’m looking for just an antenna, not a whole ‘nuther Wifi card. Could you please clarify the function of the device you described? (I’m using LinuxMint 17.) Thanks!!

      1. Quick update on this – it may just be the driver, but the card performs considerably worse than the built in airport card, for me. I can see five access points in my house, but with the TP Link, I can see two. It also does not support 5ghz networks.

        With the beta driver on the website, you also don’t get any wireless utilities so you can’t see signal strength, but I worked out if you use Pacifist and download the older driver, you can extract the .app utility file out of it and use it and it works fine with the newer driver – but they may have neglected to include it so people don’t realise how poorly it performs at the moment.

        Hopefully this improves rapidly soon, but right now, if you run el cap, hold off buying this card.

  4. I have a Windows-Based Acer-Brand laptop that is about 2 years old. It works very well.

    I travel almost once a month and rely on various weak Wi-Fi signals. You indicated that the antenna installed simply on a Windows computer. Is it truly plug-and-play? I won’t need to install anything on my laptop? Just plug in the antenna? I am not a computer whiz.

    Frank

  5. Hey thanks for this product suggestion. I am new following you and your blog. I have a macbook air and just decided to upgrade to El Capitan after holding out a while. Wish I would have paid closer attention to the comments. Does anyone have any new info on using this product with this OS?

  6. hi can not find that in any shops where i live but did find this one TP-Link Archer AC1200 Wireless USB Adapter T4UH would this one work just as well as the one you where talking about

  7. Would the Encore Wireless N300 USB Adapter work? I want this because it provides up to 300Mbps. But I’m not sure if it would work with my MacBook running OS X El Capitan.

  8. Hey Matthew,
    Great article. Moving back to Eastern Europe where I play hockey overseas (Czech/Poland) for a few months & usually struggle with weak wifi signals in places I stay (rooms/hotels).

    1. Know if there may be any restrictions over there, or should it work as is wherever you are located?
    2. Do you still believe this is the best wifi antenna booster for your laptop as of Nov 2015?
    Appreciate the guidance. Thanks!

  9. Hi,

    I got one of these and it works great. The only thing is that I believed I could attach it to the back of my laptop as per your picture. How did you do it?

    Thanks

  10. It works in El capitan for me if I disable System Integrity Protection. But then it seems to cause system crashes when my macbook goes into sleep mode on battery ?

  11. Hi all.
    I just installed 10.11 (El Capitan) on my Macbook Air. Now Wireless Network Utility won’t open… so my antenna doesn’t work. Anyone else have this problem? Better still, a solution?

  12. Hey bud!

    Got this based on your post and thought I’d add to the comments. It appears to me that they have removed all Mac drivers from their official download page. There’s only Linux and Windows there now (your first link). However, the second link you provided does seem to work. It installed fine on Yosemite. Don’t know how/where you got that second link but it was a life save. High five!

  13. Just bought today and installed on a 2009 MacBook Pro with Yosemite 10.10.4. Used the driver “Wlan_11n_USB_MacOS10.8_Driver_UI_2.0.1” worked right away, no problems and way faster than the built in WiFi.
    Thanks for this post, a true lifesaver.
    jack

  14. I just bought mine, any suggestion how to make it work on my yosemite mac? 10.10.4 ? the links here are not working, neither me finding the same driver. Thank you.

  15. I used a different USB to micro-USB cable, it was only $3 on Amazon. The only drawback is that it is not covered by Prime.

  16. Hi Matthew,
    Hi EveryBody,

    okay,

    the TPLink wifi antenna may work great.

    but it is only ONE laptop wifi antenna.

    what about OTHER laptop wifi antennas ???

    i want to read comments about OTHER mobile wifi antennas.

    Please Reply,

    Thanks from Dee

  17. I’d just like to say thanks for writing this article and sharing the tip.My laptop has weak signal at public spots so I will buy this item.

  18. What about linux users?

    Anything for them?

    Preferably plug and play so as to avoid command line installs of drivers.

  19. I have REALTECH RTL8188EE 802.11bgn WiFi adapter that came installed on my HP laptop – the OS is Windows 8.1.

    I’m not very tech savvy and I’m wondering if this device can be used in conjunction with the REALTECH adapter that is on the laptop now or does it replace it.

    Would I need to uninstall REALTECH and install this device along with Yosemite 10.10.3?

    Sorry for being dense. Thanks

  20. Hi Matthew: I purchased the TPLink, but when I try to install the driver the installer does not allow me to do the “standard” nor the “custum” installations… all the checkbox are grey as well as the “install” button.
    I am using Yosemite 10.10.3 and am installing the driver for 10.8 (as suggested). Any idea? ever happened to anybody else?
    Thank you !!

  21. Hi Matthew,

    I was wondering what version of Yosemite you are running? I am currently using a BearExtender product but if I upgrade to Yosemite 10.10.2 or later it will no longer work. Hope your recommendation will replace my BearExtender! Thanks for the great information!

  22. I was really skeptical on this device and honestly didn’t think it would really work at all. BOY was I shocked! I was only getting 1 bar on a excellent day on my laptop. After installing the device I’m getting 4 and sometimes 5 bars! I’ve never been able to look at videos while on my laptop at my current location, I was able to download a movie quickly after installing the device. It was a “breeze” to install and only took 3-4 minutes. If you had doubts before on this device, I promise you this is incredible! I’m “stoked” , can you tell?

  23. And thanks for the tip! Recently I have stayed in hostels where I don’t have Wifi in my room and it’s really hard to work in the common area while people play beer pong!

  24. I live in Costa Rica and use a data card in my computer which gives me internet using cell phone signals. But I live in a remote area and the cell phone reception is weak..any ideas to boost the reception on the data card?

  25. Just be careful about which networks you connect to. I had someone hack into my computer while using a cafe wifi connection over there.

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