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9dbi Antenna and other power issues


JF1980
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Just received my Mk V which I ordered with the additional 9dbi antennas.

To be honest I'm a very disappointed to find the power output on wlan0 is extremely poor in comparison to wlan1. Reading through forum posts it seems this is not an issue with my device but a flaw in the pineapple's design with wlan0 power being limited in hardware. Why they didn't just use the same chipset for wlan0 as they have for wlan1 I don't know..

Back to the query I have. I found that with the 9dbi antennas fitted I get a noticeable gain in power and sensitivity on wlan1 however wlan0 barely picks up anything - even sitting 10m from my AP it picks it up with a poor signal strength reading and fails to pick anything else. Performance on wlan0 is significantly better with the standard out-of-the-box antenna (although still nowhere near as good as wlan1). I have eliminated the possibility that one of the 9dbi antennas is faulty by swapping the two between wlan0/1 - result is the same.

My only thought is that the low power limitation of wlan0 means it doesn't have enough grunt to drive the 9dbi antenna? I'm not an RF expert but this is the only logical conclusion I can come to. If so that raises the question of why Hak5 are selling these for use with the Mk V.

As I said overall I'm very disappointed. I brought a MkV as it seemed like a great improvement to have two radios built in to one unit so no need for USB dongles etc. It seems like the reality is that actually to be useful I will need to use a USB dongle or an amplifier (so another power supply etc). Is this conclusion an accurate description of the current situation or have I overlooked something important / done something wrong?

Edited by JF1980
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Have you tried setting your region to something that allows further power to them (technically illegal in the US), but will max out power to the adapters and utilize all of the antenna.

ifconfig wlan0 down
iw reg set BO
iwconfig wlan0 txpower 30
ifconfig wlan0 up

that's the basic jist of it for any wlan adapter

even without changing region settings you can do the same thing minus the iw reg set BO (Bolivia just fyi) and do a txpower 20 set

Edited by deadlyhabit
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I'm almost certain that the txpower on wlan0 is hardware locked ( I might be wrong, it's been a while since I've tried on that interface) but i know for fact that you can up the txpower of wlan1 nicely :-)

And another note, country code BO has changed in its limitations, it can not do 30dBm. I'm not sure if the crda in 2.4 firmware has updated to reflect this change, but for now you can use country code BZ just incase.

Edited by DataHead
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To be honest I'm a very disappointed to find the power output on wlan0 is extremely poor in comparison to wlan1. Reading through forum posts it seems this is not an issue with my device but a flaw in the pineapple's design with wlan0 power being limited in hardware. Why they didn't just use the same chipset for wlan0 as they have for wlan1 I don't know..

If the pineapple didn't have the AR9331 it wouldn't have any radios capable of master (AP) mode.

Back to the query I have. I found that with the 9dbi antennas fitted I get a noticeable gain in power and sensitivity on wlan1 however wlan0 barely picks up anything - even sitting 10m from my AP it picks it up with a poor signal strength reading and fails to pick anything else. Performance on wlan0 is significantly better with the standard out-of-the-box antenna (although still nowhere near as good as wlan1). I have eliminated the possibility that one of the 9dbi antennas is faulty by swapping the two between wlan0/1 - result is the same.

This isn't normal, either the AR9331 is faulty(?) or whatever device you are using to connect to the Pineapple has a bad antenna.

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I'm almost certain that the txpower on wlan0 is hardware locked ( I might be wrong, it's been a while since I've tried on that interface) but i know for fact that you can up the txpower of wlan1 nicely :-)

And another note, country code BO has changed in its limitations, it can not do 30dBm. I'm not sure if the crda in 2.4 firmware has updated to reflect this change, but for now you can use country code BZ just incase.

Well it´s true that you can not set the Txpower of the wlan0 in more than the 18dBm...and i wonder why too. Does make sence to use the "long Range WIFI Booster Kit"? or it will be useless doe to the limitation?

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If the pineapple didn't have the AR9331 it wouldn't have any radios capable of master (AP) mode.

This isn't normal, either the AR9331 is faulty(?) or whatever device you are using to connect to the Pineapple has a bad antenna.

I'm pretty certain the other devices don't all have bad antennas. Like I said wlan0 actually picks up a lot more with the standard antenna connected and my laptop easily picks up all my devices and even several of my neighbours APs with a strong signal. This is bad news, shipping the pineapple to Europe already cost 50% the cost of the device itself so making a return will cost me double.

Very disappointing it seems like I would have been better off using a netbook with a couple of good usb wireless dongles.

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The sensitivity on wlan0's ar9331 chip is a lot higher. The range on wlan1's rtl8187 chip is higher. They have their pros and cons. But things to keep in mind.

Higher dbi antennas start to work differently. They will not be transmitting in a perfect 360 of all axis. Instead they start to narrow. Think of the 9dbi looking like this when it emits: >|< it spans out in kinda a sideways v. And once you hit 12dbi, the signal becomes more like a V shape, shooting up into the air ( so putting the 12dbi antenna upside down and up high from the ceiling will get you better WiFi results )

So when this becomes a factor from omnidirectional antennas, placement becomes more of an art lol, rather then just setting an antenna down any old place and forgetting about it. You will want to try a find a good height for it.

The antenna you use and where you place it, is going to be a key element if you are going to use higher dbi antennas. I do this with my 9dbi all the time, and it's a difference of 1ft in height that will show 20+ more networks, or get me a further broadcast range, depending

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That graphic sure beats the hell out of my ><v's lol

I used to have a better one that I used all the time on the old Netstumbler forums, but forgot to back it up before I killed off my dotmac account. I stole this one off some random website... :ph34r:

Edited by barry99705
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need some light on this... anybody?

If you use an amp, then it doesn't matter how powerful or pitiful the connected radio is. It's going to spit out the power of the amp. You can have a 5watt radio hooked to a 1watt amp, you you're only going to transmit at 1watt. Never been a fan of wifi amps. Most people don't know what the proper situation to use one is, so they just use them all the time. The pineapple really doesn't need it for it's intended purpose.

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If you use an amp, then it doesn't matter how powerful or pitiful the connected radio is. It's going to spit out the power of the amp. You can have a 5watt radio hooked to a 1watt amp, you you're only going to transmit at 1watt. Never been a fan of wifi amps. Most people don't know what the proper situation to use one is, so they just use them all the time. The pineapple really doesn't need it for it's intended purpose.

Great... thanks for the info barry99705 ;)

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If you use an amp, then it doesn't matter how powerful or pitiful the connected radio is. It's going to spit out the power of the amp. You can have a 5watt radio hooked to a 1watt amp, you you're only going to transmit at 1watt. Never been a fan of wifi amps. Most people don't know what the proper situation to use one is, so they just use them all the time. The pineapple really doesn't need it for it's intended purpose.

I don't follow. Why would somebody connect a 5W radio to a 1W amp - that would clearly be a waste of time (and could possibly blow/damage the amp too). I also don't understand why you say the pineapple doesn't need one given the weak wlan0 perhaps you could explain?

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