Aspire One external antenna

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External antennas on netbooks are notorious, from EEE PCs to the Panasonic CF-R1, but this is the first on an Acer Aspire One we’ve seen. [xRazorwirex] sent in his external antenna hack for the 802.11n capable D150, with the intention of increasing performance, but he says he can’t attest to any change. Unfortunately the lock slot had to be removed, but a small price to pay for a big increase in connectivity. The process seems simple enough, and could probably be done within a half an hour. Now that there is an external link why not build a Cantenna, hop in the car, and HeatMap the neighborhood!

Comments

  1. Glen says:

    I put one in my Aspire one ages ago. But i didn’t want a R-SMA sticking out the side of the case snagging stuff so i used an MCX connector which was small enough to epoxy into the shoulder of the hinge and sits flush with the body

  2. strider_mt2k says:

    funny i remember SMA stuff as seeming so small originally! lol

    Very nice work.

  3. Matthew says:

    “…but he says he can’t attest to any change.”

    “…but a small price to pay for a big increase in connectivity.”

    So which is it? No change or a big change? :p

  4. jake says:

    I think the article meant he cant attest to a change in speed or range. But the increased connectors, like more variable antennas that COULD provide that change… ;)

  5. xrazorwirex says:

    I should probably clarify that I got serious performance from going to .11N 2.0 – I just wasn’t too scientific about my approach and so I upgraded from G to N (and I had a compatible N router which I blogged about in the series ‘Hacks – XSpan Mod’) and upgraded the antenna at the same time, so I don’t know how much of my performance increase is attributed to the antenna and how much is attributed to my card (Atheros AR5008). I may roll back to my G card and do some performance benchmarks in Omni-Peek for the sake of information collection. I also don’t know if only upgrading one antenna makes much of a difference, as it still uses 2 (if G then 1) of the original antenna. If anyone knows more about this I am all ears. I would like to find out if maybe one antenna is dedicated to discovery or something like that and use that as my external antenna.

    I took it out with a D-Link ANT24-0700 which has a magnetic remote base, and driving around town I snuff out some serious packet-age running Omni-Peek and had I see far more networks than I ever did before.

    Maybe tonight I’ll use Ekahau and heatmap my town.. sounds fun.

  6. xrazorwirex says:

    I’m also going to combat the awkwardness of the antenna jutting out the side with a small right angle adapter. I planned this in advance when I ordered everything but I got a standard SMA right angle instead of an rp-sma so I have to wait for the right one to ship from china (which for whatever reason takes considerably longer to ship from than hong kong).

    I mocked it up and it works very well – the right angle sticks out just a bit less than the power cable does, and the antenna can fold neatly behind the monitor over the battery when not in use.

  7. Dave says:

    Cantennas have plenty of uses, but… I’d think a plain old dipole would be better for heatmapping considering that the canntena is directional and the GPS receiver is not.

  8. Dave says:

    Speaking of cantennas I made one awhile back but found it to not be so useful since it had to be connected to my laptop with the above posted connector. I found a way to make my canntena much more useful by directly soldering the cantenna to a dd-wrt modded fonera router. Now I have a “wireless” cantenna. I can connect to my cantenna with my laptop’s internal wifi. The cantenna essentially works as a repeater. So instead of connecting the cantenna with wire I can access it from 300ft away. The dd-wrt firmware also allows you to crank up the wattage if necessary.

  9. clint says:

    damn I should have put my mod up here months ago, would have made it on hackaday. I put my’n lower in the case to the front so I did not have to kill the lock area, used the same sma though

  10. xrazorwirex says:

    pretty much the whole right side of the d150 is up for grabs – there’s plenty of storage space inside and wall space for mounting things.

    I’m surprised the d150 isn’t getting as much attention from hackers as its little sibling ‘A series’ does.

    I’d like to see what other people have done / any good ideas for further hacks on specifically the d150. I’m strongly considering a GPS module mod.

  11. Dave says:

    Internal GPS would be cool. The only thing with a GPS mod is the whole antenna view of the sky deal.

  12. xrazorwirex says:

    Yeah, I read about that on the link provided to the EEE mod. The guy had a serious issue with stability.

    I’d mount the antenna superficially – drill a hole through the back of the monitor bezel and mount it on the back – maybe fabricate a hinge so I can ‘aim’ it a bit. I’m not sure if maybe the problem was the way he cut things down and such or if it really was just the shielding / antenna position; because those tiny gps boxes in cars work pretty well with their internal antenna….

    I’m also really bummed that there’s only one PCI slot on the D150; I want to add that broadcom HD accelerator to my netbook but I don’t want to sac the wifi card – maybe stack a 2nd pci slot and find a way to switch between the 2 on the fly.. without blowing things up…

  13. MrDoom says:

    Anyone know a good supplier of SMA pigtails? They seem to run in the $15 range from what I was seeing.

  14. xrazorwirex says:

    I just bought a batch of 4 from inside the states priced at $9 for a set of 2 w/ free shipping, so about $4.50 a pop – but they are long:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=110370940543

  15. Great thanks!

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