UPDATE: The Fontenna is not yet available in the Fon Shop, but is being offered in advance via promotional codes to specific Foneros. Read on for more details, and see technical specs added at the end:
Fon’s own signal range-booster, the “La Fontenna”, is being offered to Foneros in a handful of countries begining today. Promoted by Fon President Martin Varsavsky as a superior alternative to mesh network technology, this rectangular plastic enclosure has a cable 3 meters in length, and can be placed up high, or on a window for improved coverage.
We don’t have word from anyone who has recieved one yet, but what is likely inside is an etched-PCB antenna like this:
Varsavsky describes the range boost to be an additional several hundred feet, to almost 1.5 miles!
Some unanswered questions remain, about how much signal loss results from the long pigtail cable, and what radiation pattern this antenna will create. Varsavsky omits the fact that the resulting hotspot will be shaped more like a focused beam, and not a circular hotspot like the original omnidirectional antenna creates. In order to establish a wifi connection from 1.5 miles, one probably needs a similar high-gain antenna pointing directly back at the AP, and to be positioned somewhere along the beam itself.
As discussed in Fon’s English-language discussion board, if you purchased a La Fonera at full price and have attracted 3 or more other Foneros (Aliens ) to connect to it (or purchase through it ), you may have allready recieved an email from Fon with a promotional code good for a free Fontenna. Shipping is free in select countries.
Please give us your comments if you aquire one of these Fontennas, and tell us how well it performs for you!
Fon has built a web page describing the merits of the La Fontenna. Click below to read on:
Frequency Range: 2400 MHz 2500 MHz
Antenna gain-without cable: 7 dBi
Antenna gain-with cable: 6.5 dBi
VSWR 2.0: 1 Max.
Polarization: Linear, vertical
Impedance: 50 O
Temperature: -10 C to +55 C
Connector: R/P SMA PLUG
Cable: ULA168,L = 3M