How to Make a WiFi Internet Antennaby Contributor
The best wi-fi Internet antenna to make is the parabolic antenna that boosts wi-fi signals by 12dB or more. These are made with a USB wi-fi adapter and any type of "dish" or parabola that boosts the signal to that adapter. Directionality of radio waves within the 2.4Ghz band is critical, so moving the antenna around to derive the best signal is recommended.
USB cable lengths suffer no loss of signal strength compared to coaxial cable. Also, DIY cantenna projects involving pigtail connections require more assembly and parts, and are not as portable as USB designs for making a wi-fi Internet antenna.
Purchase a USB WiFi adapter. Wireless G adapters can be found on eBay for $15-$16, at Staples for as little as $30 or at other stores for up to $100 for wireless N adapters.
Get a metal pie pan (or wire strainer) to serve as a reflective radio frequency surface.
Cut an opening in the center of your parabola. The opening should hold the adapter snuggly.
Insert the adapter into your parabola.
Connect a female-to-male USB cable to the wi-fi adapter.
Plug the male end of the USB cable into a USB port on your computer.
Follow the on-screen set-up instructions to set up your wi-fi reception.
Hang the wire antenna. The parabolic surface and the wi-fi adapter should face the direction of your nearest access point, so position the antenna for maximum signal strength. Radio frequencies are very directional. The antenna should increase your signal strength by 12 to 15db.
- If you have an old satellite dish lying around, try attaching the WiFi antenna to it for even greater signal boost due to the larger surface area of the dish.
- Easy WiFi Radar automates Windows XP and Windows Mobile connections. Run it, and it connects you for free to the internet automatically. Easy WiFi Radar will connect to open hotspots, showing the signal strength of access points as green, yellow or red dots. This works on Windows XP and Windows Mobile but not on Vista.