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How To Boost A WiFi Signal around The Drilling Rig Location

See Also: How To Eliminate Your Rig Intercom Costs At Bottom Of Page


One thing that has caused me considerable frustration is getting a good WiFi signal on the rig site. Today most every rig, whether it is a small land rig or offshore semi submersible, has a satellite internet connection. Ideally this connection is shared between trailers or offices by a hard wired LAN cable.

 In other cases, such as when  the MWD - Directional drillers or mudloggers  trailers or skid units are located at the far end of the location they will hook up a wireless router in the company man or toolpusher's office and try and pick up the connection wirelessly. Wireless routers were not made to be super long range. One special problem that oilfield trailers and skid units pose is that they are often made with steel walls that reflect radio signals such as cell phone and wifi.


I found the best solution was to use a high gain wireless adapter on my laptop, along with putting an external antenna on the router that I am using, such as in the toolpusher or company man's office. Long range USB wireless adapters for your laptop cost about $20 to $40, depending on how much output power they feature.  In the case of a desktop computer, you can connect a high gain wifi antenna to the wifi adapter that is in the PCI card slot in the back and mount that antenna outside the trailer. The only problem with that is that most desktops already use all of the available card slots. That's why I like to use the USB long range WiFi adapters for both laptops and desktops.

You can purchase a long range Wifi adapter that uses an available USB port. This solves the problem for both desktops and laptops. These most often come with a jack that you connect an antenna to. In most cases the 8" "rubber duck" antenna that comes with them will work for a couple hundred yards, even through metal walls. If you still have problems you can add the external antenna outside of the skid unit or trailer. 


You will want to place the router that is in the company man's or toolpusher's office as high as possible and near a window if one is available.

I have been able to pick up Wifi signals from as far away as two miles when traveling. When traveling or staying in an RV park I use the long range Wifi adapter sold below connected to an antenna outside of my vehicle. While I do have a cellular aircard from Verizon I find that I can find a much higher speed internet connection when I am near a town where there are open networks connected to cable or DSL. There are typically many open connections in a given area. It is not illegal to connect to an open wireless connection, yet you don't want to abuse someone's system by downloading large files and slowing their system down.

Always use caution when connecting to an unsecured network since some may belong to computer hackers that may steal your info.

When on the rig site always enable WEP encryption since there is much sensitive information that could be stolen over a wifi network, especially on a "tight hole" or well that is in a speculative area where "spies" from other companies try to find out if your well has struck oil or gas.

There are also some very good rugged outdoor USB type WiFi antenna - boosters , which can be left mounted outside on an RV or trailer.. These work very well placed or mounted on the outside of crew quarters, company man trailers and mudlogging units and give clear wireless reception from a router located far away.  Below are some USB type high gain WiFi adapters which will work on any computer with a USB port.


For more serious long range WiFi connections, up to ten miles or more see the following article on WiFi Panel antennas and high power WiFi adapters:


See also: How To Establish A Very Long Range Wireless Internet Connection

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