We've been getting a few emails from potential customers asking how the Alfa 500mw adapter would work with 9 and 12 dBi gain antennas being advertised on some web sites, primarily eBay, for about $5.00 shipped direct from China.
We sell on our web site, and on eBay, an 8 dBi antenna manufactured by Alfa. Alfa does not make a 9 dBi model. The 8 dbi antenna from Alfa has performed very well and received great reviews from customers.
A while back we picked up a few of each type of the aftermarket antennas from various sellers, to take a look at how they compared to the Alfa 8 dBi antenna that we sell. All of the 12 dBi units we purchased were the same size and looked the same as the 9 dBi units we purchased. Additionally, while some of them performed okay, some performed worse than the factory 2 dBi antenna. Similar reports have appeared on some product review web sites. All in all, the 8 dBi antenna made by Alfa performed the best. If you have $5 to spend you can always buy an aftermarket unit from China yourself to do a comparison test, but we did read in some review forums that some customers who had purchased from other places with an aftermarket antenna did not seem to get any better range vs. their internal wifi adapter. They suggested despite other positive reviews of the Alfa adapter that maybe the Alfa adapter was not all it was cracked up to be. More than likely it is the antenna that is the problem.
If you're curious to find out, go ahead and buy an 8 dbi antenna from us that comes from Alfa and give it a whirl. If you do not find it boosts the performance compared to your aftermarket antenna, you can return it to us and we'll mail you a free Alfa carrying case for your trouble (limit 1 case per customer, offer expires 5/31/2009).