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October 14, 2004

Freedom Antenna gives cell phone, Wi-Fi connections a little extra boost

Wireless communication is a wonderful thing. But we've all come to know and accept that our cordless connections aren't always crystal clear.

In fact, you may find yourself doing the "cordless dance" while making or taking a cell phone call: You lean to the left, then lean to the right, then slowly turn around until the fizzle in your ear stops. The cordless dance is a popular one and people can be seen doing it just about everywhere, from airports to zoos.

But for those who don't like to dance, there may be a solution. It's called the Freedom Antenna ($31.95) from ARC Wireless Solutions. It's a 6-inch-tall flat panel with a small cable that plugs into the antenna jack that most cell phones have.

While the range of Wi-Fi is about 300 feet, you may be able to either extend that or get a more solid (and possibly faster) connection using the Freedom Antenna. According to ARC, many Wi-Fi-enabled portable computers have some kind of antenna jack. If you had to add Wi-Fi via a plug-in add-on card, there's a good chance the card has an external antenna port. ARC also says that many notebooks with built-in Wi-Fi sport an antenna jack as well.

The Freedom Antenna comes with a pedestal so that you can easily stand it on your desktop. For the car, an included suction cup lets you firmly stick it on any available window space.

The Freedom Antenna requires no power to function. Just plug it in and get ready for a better connection. It works within a frequency range of 800 to 2500 MHz, which makes it compatible for use with a wide variety of cordless systems. But make sure that you also get the proper cell phone or Wi-Fi adaptor for your make and model device.

Knight Ridder/Tribune

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