Instructables

DIY WIFI Antenna Reception Booster

Instruction for your very own WIFI antenna reception booster, the design is a parabolic trough antenna ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabolic_trough ).

Simply download the PDF and cut out the template, a bit of 'pre-school' level assembling, aluminium foil and cotton glue all you need.

Note: The PDF is in A4 format, if you're printing in Letter format, remember to keep to the same aspect ratio, ideally use the 'fit to page' feature available on most printers. With that in mind, you should be able to scale up to a much larger version, on a A3 printer.

The image below shows the finished product.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Another example of a finished product.

Here's one done by a plucky 5 year old (Essential tools include a pair of safety scissors)

Step 2: Another example of a finished product.

This one is made from a skinny plastic folder, cut from the template of a printout
1-40 of 62Next »

Look this proposal , I am sure you will be able to find the right thing, there is a huge number of amplifiers http://www.wilsonamplifiers.com/

ChinaMike1 year ago
Well, this is all well and fine but...what the HECK do you DO WITH IT???? Just sit it in front of the laptop isn't going to do anything is it??? You have a cardboard cutout, you barely mention something about foil and some weird glue, and then NOTHING ELSE!

This is no help what so ever.
it is very simple, you cover it with aluminum foil and wear it on your head, use a 2 pieces of string and a bow knot and tie it under your chin if it is windy.
Very machismo and always get a lot of extra seat space in the subway.
And then Glue a cotton ball in each ear and duct tape them in place until the glue dries.
or look at the template and read where it says Hole for Aerial
Bayfielder3 years ago
I recommend using a good quality Tin-foil for any WiFi boosters like this one, the windsurfer, or anything similar.

If the foil rips easy, it's no good. I know that the thickness of the foil shouldn't affect it's reflection of the signal, but I observed my first attempts at making such boosters with the ones I used a heavy foil... too me it works better with a heavy foil. I think it's because cheap foil wrinkles up easy, and you need the foil smooth. I use shiny side towards the target (shiny side glued to the paper for most projects).

My very first attempt with the windsurfer made the signal worse (I blame a combo of cheap dollar store foil, and not getting the cuts and bends right). I made one with the foil on the inside and noticed you can tell if the arc is right if you shine a light on it and it all focuses evenly on the antenna. *You can print the design on bubble-jet/lazer transparency paper/plastic and it will turn out just as good (be it a nickel more in cost).
Here are picks of my humble wifi sharing setup. Be kind, it was a rush job. It is based on the same plans this instructible is. The noise floor around here is about -96dB, so the -73dB indicates a 23dB S/N ratio, which is respectable for a distance link. Without the parabola, the reading was in the mid to high 80s, so single digit S/N and very unreliable.
diy_parabolic_1.jpgdiy_parabolic_2.jpgdiy_parabolic_3.jpgdiy_parabolic_4.jpgdiy_parabolic_5.jpg
I used spray adhesive on stiff "cereal box" cardboard and stuck the foil the surface and smoothed it out. Then I cut out the panel with the foil on it after the adhesive cured a few minutes. I then mounted the entire apparatus inside a plastic bucket. The bucket sits upside down outside in the rain. I lose about 1dB because of the plastic bucket so am running 9-10dB gain typically.
Like this?
DSC00016.JPG
VE6WTF7 years ago
I will bet you anything if you hooked an antenna analizer to this the SWR would be horrible. And the gain is probly non existant? When you work with SHF it tends to be really lossy So just hooking it up would lose half your signal. other than that.. Two simpathy stars. VE6WTF
You need to take a chill. It is simply a single curvature parabolic reflector enhancing the directionality and gain of a monopole and to the degree that the surface of the parabola is accurate to the template, it will work great. Use stiff cardboard. At 2.4Ghz a wavelength is still fairly large, so any inaccuracies in the surface less than a 1/4 inch or so will have negligible effect on VSWR. The VSWR will be fine because 1) it uses the stock omni as the active element, and 2) as stated above, inaccuracies in the reflector surface, at this wavelength, would have to be pretty big to cause phase issues.

I tell you what. Why don't you, in true HAM fashion, *prove* the VSWR is horrible. Don't just take potshots from the cheap-seats.

I'm using one right now to share wifi to a neighbor 50 yards away and get a very predictable 9-10db gain. Without the antenna their daughter gets no wifi on her iPhone. With the antenna directed at their side window, she gets solid signal all through the house except for the corners at the far end with lots of walls/structure in between.

This design is no different than a dish, just single curvature instead of dual; which matches fine to the axis of the monopole/omni. Sure it could be tweaked up but if constructed decently it appears to give me a decent 9-10dB gain, with very low error rate and few packet resends so the VSWR can't be an issue.

Former USAF radio repair technician
do you have a 2.6 ghz antenna analyzer... That is about a 5K us piece of equipment. Since, the Canadian ham test don't seem to cover much, Yes I have your countries test questions. An increased receive signal can be adjusted for maximum transmit gain... Hmmm... As dad and grandpa....
binnie VE6WTF7 years ago
being a regular silicon chip reader, looking at some of their 'wifi antennas' for the zig bee is basically this a peice of plastic to hold some cardobard wrapped in alfoil. the dimentions of an antenna do matter down to the mm (um 16ths of inches for you americans i think i think 1/16 is accually 2 mm but who gives)
jamesj3501 year ago
I have a D-Link DSL-2650u router. It sits about 11.5 meters from my SONY laptop.

I use Ubuntu 10.04 op system, and it tells me the normal signal strength is about 75%.

Having nothing else to do, I decided to copy this template and put the booster thing together. I had little hope it would do much at all. Now understand, I took my time and put it together neatly. When I attached the thing to the router the percentage jumped to 92%.

I moved things around , pointed the diy antenna booster in different directions and watched as the signal strength changed.

75% to 92 % is a nice healthy gain, and I am very happy with it.
LamEra1 year ago
Hi guys, I`m no "techi" at all but just tried the option as found at the link below.... instant free wifi internet from the hospital across the road!
http://www.imod.co.za/2007/12/14/building-a-wifi-booster-diy-style/
mcutee2 years ago
I have tried to make it.but not very productive for me.May be i have done something wrong with shape.is it so?
This is Cooll stuf... Can you make 360 Degrees.. parabolic... If you can please teach me.. Meanwhile.. I would build this parabolic with a huge size... Its must be pretty fun (Sorry bad english, cos I'am Indonesian Not a Colony of england)
VE6WTF7 years ago
I bet you anything that the SWR is unbelieveable! And when you are working with 2.4ghz, it can be very lossy, Leave it to the proffesionals <-- In any case. The gain you would get from this would be horrible. Its a good idea, Its just not practicle
VE6WTF
It is Hams like you that ruin our hobby... Leave it to the professionals?
Are You, Dad and Grandpa the Professionals... How about Me, I am a US Extra Class and have an 2 Electrical Engineering Degrees? You need to study the facts about SWR.. I know you are a kid, but you need to adjust your attitude, study antennas and electronics..
Quit buying your equipment build some... and leave the experimenters alone. They are doing what you are not, and since you are a ham, shame on you... If I ever hear your callsign, I probably will not answer you!

Dont discourage someone for trying OK buddy, I've worked with plenty of engineers who couldn't troubleshoot there way out of a paper bag!!!!!
Good day...
You are a ham and you know what a SWR is. Good for you.

I can't vouch for THIS design, but others that are similar in nature work quite well.

http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template/

I've used the following design at home, on both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz wifi access points with great success. Informal measurements showed a forward gain of between 5 to 10 db over the AP's antenna alone. My manufacturing method involved styrofoam, card stock, spray adhesive and aluminum foil. Measurements and cuts were made very carefully. I created my design so I could adjust the focus for the best forward gain possible. My measurement was simply Netstumbler running on a laptop 10 meters from the antenna. Rejection from the rear was in excess of 15 db for me. The pattern in front is fairly wide, so accurate aiming is not required as long as you are within a reasonable 20 or 30 degrees from your target.

Positioning was much more critical at 5GHz, naturally.

I used this design with the stock, as well as the 7 db replacement antenna - whose design I do not know.

My real life measurements were made with signal strength reported by my wifi nic to netstumbler. I also see more access points and have more reliable connections than without the reflector. And um, how many folks just happen to have SWR meters, field strength meters or other devices to measure at 2.4 and 5 GHz?

I can tell you in all cases the forward gain and rear rejection were impressive. and FREE. remember the word - FREE.

I was a ham once too.

http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template/
Dr.Bill3 years ago
Not parabolic. Its an arc.
Corrugator Supercilii (author)  Dr.Bill3 years ago
Rubbish, it is both parabolic and an arc...
If you say so.............
It is definantly a parabola.
Yeah. Parabolic arc, IIRC.
gordie875 years ago
also google wifi windsurfer. thats the one i went by... Ez-12
I made the windsurfer using cardboard from a cereal box and wrapped both sides in aluminum foil. I measured 11 dB forward gain using a BVS Yellowjacket WLAN Analyzer.
sway3 years ago
Hi All, I have looked through the comments on this "instructable" and many others like it. I actually tried to make a goofy little sattelite dish type addition for my laptop adapter. It didn't help at all. I was hoping other instructables members could help me out. I need to reach my nwtwork from about 150 feet away from the router. The router is in a bldg with stone walls. I can't mess with the router because the boss will freak so I have to work from the reception point.
I purchased an engenius adapter/antenna which helped very slightly but was unreliable.
Someone else suggested I Get an "N" adapter. I purchased a Hawking HiGain wireless N usb adapter.
I haven't tested it yet but I would still like to hear any suggestions you guys could offer to improve this signal.
Corrugator Supercilii (author)  sway3 years ago
Only if the router in your building does 802.11 N, would it help for you get any benefit out of your purchase. using 'N' definitely improve things.

If you want distance, first thing to try is to get line of sight to the router, maybe move the router to a windows bay.

Next, get yourself a directional antenna, this ought to improve reception. Option a) spend some money on company's account. Option b) Cantanna

http://www.southafrica.info/about/science/cantenna2107.htm
I appreciate your help but touching the router even to raise it a few inches will get me in trouble. (if anyone notices or I forget to put it back exactly as it was)

I'll see if the cantenna helps.

Thanks
k6sti3 years ago
Simple Wi-Fi Yagi: http://ham-radio.com/k6sti/wifiyagi.htm
mbalun4 years ago
this is soo NOT parabolic, its a part of a circle....
so if i am in a room far away from my router and i have the booster right by my dsi to connect to internet it would give me a great signal? would it give me great signal if im outside 300 ft from my router?
c24don4 years ago
My laptop already has a built in wireless adapter.  If I use a home made antenna using a usb wireless adapter is there any problem having the (2) wireless adapters plugged in at the same time??  Are they both working at once?  Is there any chance of hardware conflict or damage to the computer?  Thanks in advance for your advice/assistance!!
hock3ydud34 years ago
how would i connect this to my wireless pci antenna? it's attached directly to the wireless card without any extension cord
tausuitee5 years ago
It is wonderful to find this sort of information on the web. I am a ham operator but I have been out of the loop for about 10 years. I am anxious to build my signal booster. There is a tower near my house but to pay for service would cost 60 bucks a month and since I get service upstairs for free I thought that there must be a way to get it down stairs. I'll try this and let you all know how it goes. Thanks for the info
hms10185 years ago
sorry go on
hms10185 years ago
I'm wit ninjapants where does my wifi goon here 2 boost it???????????
gordie875 years ago
This dose work, you wouldnt think so. but it is verry hard to direct it. once you get the right angle its great. just dont move it from there :P. Im using one on my router, and it has to go through 4 walls and a fridge. It increased my signal by 50% great stuff for cardboard and tin foil!! also try using a right angled one. I found that works well also.
1-40 of 62Next »
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!