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Whilst strictly not radio ham question, it does fall in to the RF area so hopefully this is not too far off topic...

I have BT broadband account which entitles me to use BT-WIFI hotspots. The trouble is the nearest one is not too far away but just far enough away to be on the weak side and thus intermittent and slow.

Is it possible to amplify the received and transmitted signal enough so that it is usable?

I know there are WIFI extenders on the market but these seem to be for properties where there are weak signals within the property itself; I need to get the signal in to the property in the first place or at least boost it. Once I get the signal to the property I plan on a wired connection anyway...

Thanks

Edit for clarity: Thanks for your responses guys.

As some of you guessed, I am indeed in the UK and therefore have various regulatory bodies to contend with so I was hoping for something purpose built off the shelf as I thought that this would take care of any legal issues that may arise.

It is frustrating in that I must be close enough to get a weak signal in the first place although this is slow and sometimes intermittent, but not 'just not close enough' on the borderline...

I guess the amplified reception is not so much an issue as this wouldn't effect anyone else but an amplified transmission would be.

I agree with the 'off-topic' comments, however this is one of those questions which could fall in to the realms of a few topics, so appreciate your replies.

Many thanks

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  • $\begingroup$ This belongs on another Stack Exchange site. Can someone tell us which one is the best for this? $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Jun 1 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ I think it needs more focus to be on-topic anywhere. The obvious answer is already in the question (wifi extenders) so I'm not really sure what is being asked. Is this asking if there's some device that extends wifi that isn't called a wifi extender? Is it asking why wifi extenders have a limited range? Is it asking about BT-WIFI hotspots? $\endgroup$ Jun 1 at 20:07
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It Is quite possibly illegal. Actually amplifying your router or extender wireless signal to extend its reach runs the risk of being illegal in many countries. Any wireless device sold in a country with such laws must be approved in accordance with the local legislation. In the USA it is the FCC.

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  • $\begingroup$ Correct in that this depends on the country or legal jurisdiction. But the OP didn't mention anything about selling stuff that requires legal type approval. $\endgroup$
    – hotpaw2
    May 31 at 6:20
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    $\begingroup$ Why the obsession about selling? I don’t know about the US, but in the UK if you use something that is out of (type-approved) spec, you are using it illegally $\endgroup$
    – Scott Earle
    May 31 at 14:54
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Depends on what you already tried. If nothing, and you have a notebook, then the first step would be getting a cheap USB wifi dongle with a short 1/4 dipole antenna. This is 100% legal (unless you buy an uncertified third country cheap knock-off with a lot of interference...) and this alone makes quite a difference compared to the built in wifi adapter. And you can play with polarization and antenna orientation.

Second step would be building your own wifi router ad place it somewhere the signal is better (top floor, window, whatever). Under Linux, you can often even reuse the same adapter by creating a virtual AP (but then you are limiting to the same channel , mode and bitrate). This is also 100% legal if you keep within allowed transmitting power and allocated channels.

EDIT: To bring the answer on topic, note that as a licensed HAM you are allowed to transmit using more output power (sometimes significantly so), and you can also transmit on e.g. 2.3 GHz (depends on your jurisdiction), it can help if there is a lot of unlicensed noise on 2.4 GHz (some off the shelf wifi adapters can be persuaded to broadcast on this band). Of course, there are other regulations applied - e.g. no encryption. And the other side would have to cooperate.

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This question is off-topic, but it's an easy one to answer. (See below for why it's off-topic.)

This is probably illegal. All WiFi devices are type-approved. In the US this approval is by the FCC and the equipment will have the FCC logo on it; in the EU, devices will have a CE mark. In the UK post-Brexit I have no idea what the current situation is, but Ofcom is the body concerned with EMC (electromagnetic compatibility - read "how to mitigate potential interference") and the like.

In short, you can use WiFi equipment out of the box, exactly as you bought it. Connecting amplifiers or non-approved antennas is a definite no-no. You can get "range-extenders" (which sort of act as WiFi repeaters), but the same applies to those.

People have in the past used a "cantenna", such as a 2.4GHz dipole mounted in a Pringles tube (other crisped potato snacks are also available), as these are lined internally with aluminium. Technically still probably illegal, though.

If you are out in the wilds, then it will probably not affect anyone, but if you are in a city you can unknowingly cause all sorts of unintentional interference.

This question is off-topic because it is not one about amateur radio, or the technology of radio. It is a question about regulations. It is technically possible to do, but the regulations do not allow it. If it were legal, we could provide "technology of radio" solutions, but the regulations do not allow it. And since the regulations are not to do with amateur radio, the question is off-topic. I answered it and will leave it here, because similar questions do come up from time to time.

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  • $\begingroup$ In the U.S., if it's WiFi in one of the Part 15 ISM band, there's a fairly wide latitude in what a radio experimenter can do without any license, including transmit, as long as it stays in band, and under 36 dBm EIRP (but possibly more). Ripping apart a router (thus no longer type approved) might be considered experimentation (but IANAL). Type approval means you can no longer sell the mess you create. $\endgroup$
    – hotpaw2
    May 31 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ The user said they have BT broadband (British Telecom), so I kind of assumed the UK ... $\endgroup$
    – Scott Earle
    May 31 at 7:30
  • $\begingroup$ It appears that in the UK, one can purchase OpenWRT WiFi routers that allow you to install your own custom OS and software. Maybe Similar ISM band usages as well. Might need to check with a local radio law specialist (barrister?) $\endgroup$
    – hotpaw2
    May 31 at 8:02
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    $\begingroup$ You can buy those anywhere. Doesn’t make them legal $\endgroup$
    – Scott Earle
    May 31 at 14:47

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