If you’re a fan of Alfa’s AWUS036NHA USB network adapter, you’ve probably considered picking up an Alfa APA-M04 7dBi directional panel antenna. Although the APA-M04 costs under $8, you’re better off using your hard-earned money to polish your least favorite pair of shoes. I have to admit that I didn’t research this antenna before I bought it. In all honesty, I got caught up in the excitement of ordering an Alfa AWUS036NHA and, when coupled with free shipping, I couldn’t resist spending the extra $8.
When compared against the 5dBi dipole antenna that comes with the Alfa AWUS036NHA, the 7dBi antenna failed to prove itself a worthy contender. To make this comparison, I tested each antenna by performing a 60-second airodump scan in a controlled environment. The test yielded results indicating that the 7dBi antenna is hardly an upgrade. See for yourself.
5dBi Antenna Scan Results:
7dBi Antenna Scan Results:
You probably felt like you were looking at two scans performed by the same antenna. I felt the same way. You may have noticed that the 7dBi antenna’s results reflect a slightly higher signal rating. Although true, the question is whether or not the small increase in performance is worth $8 +shipping?