CF-30 CF-31 WIFI Thread

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by Tishers, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Tishers

    Tishers Notebook Consultant

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    One of the things that has really improved the Toughbook performance for me was to use a different wireless antenna for the 802.11 a/b/g/n adapter. The two top edge antennas under the black plastic trim of the lid are "OK" for sitting in a hotel room but not too good for grabbing a connection from the parking lot of the nearest McDonalds or Starbucks. I installed two "Taoglas" antennas under the black plastic side trim of the lid (where the coax cables run). In a semi controlled environment I went from 12 visible AP's to 34 visible AP's with the better antennas.

    The Taoglas antennas are available in a variety of frequencies/ bands. For LTE, 802.11 in 2.4/5.8, WiMAX 3.65 in either a single antenna patch per coax to multiple antennas combined in one strip. They cost $10-$25 each and you just need to find a spot to install them.

    Normally on a laptop I would put them inside of the machine because the plastic case would allow the antenna to radiate. This works unless they use an EMI coating (the silver or black spray on the inside of the plastic) or if the laptop case is metallic; like the Toughbooks being made of magnesium alloy. In that instance you need them outside of the enclosure, like under those plastic caps on the top edge of the display or hidden under the side strips/bumpers on the display or under the plastic strip between the keyboard and the hinge (like where the bluetooth antenna is installed near the left hinge).

    Most laptop antennas are designed by people who are not RF engineers. Using a properly designed antenna can make a tremendous difference in wireless connectivity, either with WWLAN (LTE) or WiFi (802.11).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2016
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  2. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    Do you know the part number of those Taoglas 802.11 antennas?
    I am very interested in doing that mod to my CF31.
     
  3. Tishers

    Tishers Notebook Consultant

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  4. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    fantastic.
    I assume you had to solder the longer coax onto them.
     
  5. Tishers

    Tishers Notebook Consultant

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    Yes, that is correct, you need to solder a longer pigtail on to the antenna. The U.FL cable is too short and really limits your options. The antenna can be unsoldered right from the antenna
     
  6. Tishers

    Tishers Notebook Consultant

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    Yes, that is correct, you need to solder a longer pigtail on to the antenna. The U.FL cable is too short and really limits your options. The antenna can be unsoldered right from the antenna
     
  7. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    I ordered 6 of them. 2 in the 31 for sure.
    I am always hotrodding the wifi.
    Currently the my 31 has a Azurewave AW-CE123H that I installed. I am planning on going back to the Intel 7260ac with a pair of the Taoglas antennas. I do a bunch of the McDonalds and turnpike rest stop parking lot wifi.
    The Intel seems to work better with the distance.

    For your CF30, the Ubiquiti SR71E is a really great high power card. Full height so it won't work in a CF31.
     
  8. Tishers

    Tishers Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the suggestion on the SR71E. I bought two of them a couple of weeks ago and could never get them to work in the CF-30. The drivers from Ubiqiti just do not work for Windows 7 (32 bit). I tried the Atheros drivers and that did not work either. While I am a hardware genius and can hack anything with a soldering iron I am pretty much a dunce when it comes to program manipulation and code (I have a mental block against it; like any discussion involving sports like football or basketball).

    One of the advantages of the antenna replacement is known as "reciprocity" in wireless communications systems. Increasing the power of just your transmitter does not give you a better two-way communications link as you will still be "deaf" to the far end, their power does not go up.

    Improving your antenna gives you a double-boost, the gain of the antenna helps your transmitter performance and your receiver performance. The "RF Link Budget" is reciprocal (what is good for the receiver, is also good for the transmitter on antennas).
     
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  9. CWB32

    CWB32 Need parts for my flying saucer.

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    one problem with wireless installations is that it is sometimes forgotten that "desense happens' in a strong field .
    another problem is a good wireless setup on one end but the rf output is high enough to extend the range but receiving the peanut-whistle signal from a laptop renders it useless .
    i have seen those "diversity" tranceiver units ... some are actually worse than a single antenna type .
    an improvement (off the top of my head) would be a flat phased array built from the taoglas units (or similar types) .

    i don't believe there is any other improvement with the current power levels of boards in the laptops .
    i suppose one could build a phased array that has the typical pattern for commercial broadcast fm ; a torus or "doughnut" .
    but this may not be very effective because of the fact that the source of the received signal may often be overhead (roughly speaking) .
    so much for eliminating omnidirectional "cloud warmer" designs .

    a flat antenna array that is blind to the rear and very myopic to the sides could be beneficial in obtaining a decent bidirectional signal path/link :
    reducing interference (unwanted signals , qrm and grunge) is accomplished by the flat panel design .
    improving the erp and thus the amount of signal that "makes it back" to the wireless node .
    the flat phased array can be compact enough to slip into a small carry case .
    a small tripod can hold the array .
     
  10. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    I agree that the transmitter (router)and receiver (laptop) must both have good power and signals. A great transmitter is useless with a poor receiver. Yes I know wifi is bi-directional. I am simplifying.
    My thoughts are that probably most of the time the laptop(receiver) is the weak link. So if I can put in a high power card and better antenna I am doing my part to improve things. I do not want to blame the transmitter for poor connections and walk away.
    I had a high power card in my CF29. With my Cantenna I could transmit and receive 1/2 mile away to a standard router in a semi congested area. It was a very noticeable improvement over a stock "low power" card.
     
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