USB WIFI adapter high power long range

01 Feb 2014
Posted by Laptop Junction

After several years of using the 500 mW Alfa USB WIFI Adapter for long-range WIFI networking, the N-mode network version is tested. Read about how the 2000 mW AWUS036NH USB WIFI adapter performs.

WIFI  N-mode USB adapter - WLAN

The AWUS036NH USB WIFI from Alfa Network with 2000 mW transmission power;

USB WIFI Adapter 802.11 b/g/n ALFA AWUS036NH

The housing is identical to the 500 mW a/b/g mode AWUS036H USB WIFI adapter variant.

At the end of this article you find a link how to connect to weak WIFI signals with this USB adapter.

Ralink RT3070L Chip

Inside the AWUS036NH adapter is the one-chip Ralink RT3070L b/g/n network transceiver;

Ralink RT3070L USB WIFI Adapter 802.11 b/g/n

The chip manufacturer Ralink is now part of Mediatek.

WIFI signal strength - N-mode versus G-mode

The AWUS036NH in N-mode (2000 mW) is compared to the AWUS036 in G-mode (500 mW) with NetSurveyor;

WIFI signal strength comparison - WIFI N-mode versus G-mode

The distance to the WIFI access point "tritonii5" is 75 meters with line of sight.
In this test only the USB WIFI adapter is swapped and the connection captured with NetSurveyor.

Signal strength for the WIFI access point "tritonii5" (-51 dBm) is 1 dBm weaker for the N-mode version compared to the G-mode Alfa WIFI USB adapter (-50dBm).

Although the received signal strength is weaker, the N-mode adapter is much faster with a 135 Mbps connection compared to a 50Mbps connection for the G-mode version.

Comparison - AWUS036H versus AWUS036NH

For far away WIFI access points, the G-mode AWUS036H (500 mW) will have a bit more chance to establish a connection than the more power full AWUS036NH (2000 mW). 

When closer to a N-mode WIFI access point it's better to use the AWUS036NH.

The 2000 mW seems to be more brochure talk - the real difference is speed.


Tools and more information

Tools & information used in this article;

Netsurveyor in listed in the Software section

AWUS036H (500 mW) information

Connecting to weak WIFI access points

How to stay connected to weak WIFI access points.

A few price references;