Introduction: Dell Laptop WI-FI High Gain Antenna Mod, Increase Internal Network Cards Range and Signal !!!

Picture of Dell Laptop WI-FI High Gain Antenna Mod, Increase Internal Network Cards Range and Signal !!!

Hello, This is my first instructable. Today Im going to sho you how to significantly increase the range and signal power of your laptop for about 15$. I have a Dell E1505 but this can be easily adapted to other brands of laptops. Its very Easy and quick mod but you must be very careful not to hurt your laptop... cuz that would suck, and im not buying ya another one. So Here we go !

Specs on laptop are:
Dell - E1505 - 2.0ghz - 2gb - 100gb - Ati x1400 - 1680x1050 tbhg - 9 cell - Dell Wireless 1500 Draft 802.11n Wireless Mini-Card

Step 1: Things You Will Need

Picture of Things You Will Need

Things you need :

U.FL male to RP-SMA Pigtail Cable ( make to get RP-SMA Not SMA )
2.4GHz 10 dBi Gain Wireless WIFI Antenna ( any antenna will do )
Flat # 2 screew driver
Philips #2 screw driver
Small plyers
Needle nose plyers
Dremel with a strait cutting bit ( you could use a drill but dont push to hard )
Optional -1 Tool stealing always getin in the way lovable ferret :)

Link to cable and antenna I used from Ebay @ $10 - $15

Step 2: Disassembly

Picture of Disassembly

First step Remove Battery, power cord, upper cover, silly ferret, and keyboard from laptop. then remove stock antenna plugs from wireless card and then remove wireless card by pushing back the two clips that hold it in. Now take a quick look inside where you will be cutting to see how tight its gunna be. You sure dont have much room for error do ya.

Step 3: Reassembly

Picture of Reassembly

Then with a dremel or similar tool cut a small hole the same size as the two audio holes next to it and the same spacing( like three holes were meant to be there. Now feed the new cable up into the hole from the inside, and secure it with the nut on the outside.Tip: If you have some locktite use a dab to keep the nut from ever getting loose.Then reinstall the card and plug the U.FL side of your new cable into your wireless cards auxiliary antenna connector(thats the black one). you could use the main connector if you want don't think it matters much. I used auxiliary because i figured the main stock connector has a bigger anntena.
Now finally reassemble the laptop in reverse ( don't forget to reattach the key board cable like i did and have to do it all over ) then screw in your new antenna and find all the tools the ferret hid wile you weren't watching.

Step 4: Finnished Product

Picture of Finnished Product

Well hopefully every thing went ok and you can now screw in your choice of antenna. and go google somthing :) I think it came out prety clean looking dont you. Before I moded this I could only see one network ( mine ) now i can see @ 6 networks. in city I see @ 30 or more networks !!!

Step 5: Bouns to Be Continued........

Picture of Bouns to Be Continued........

Here is a little tase of how far you can go with this. This is a pic of my dell with the antenna mod and a 1watt 2.4ghz wifi amplifier @30db gain, moded to run off usb power with a 15db anntena !!!

Take a look at the signal after this they were off the screen !!! I was in my car in the middle of a townhouse parking lot.

If there is any interest I will do an instructable on how to mod the amp to work from usb power :)

Well if you liked my Instructable show some love and comment :P


BruceG1 (author)2015-09-22

Do not try this with a Dell Studio 1555 laptop. On te 1555, the WLAN card is in the middle of the computer in the back just under the touchpad, so the purchased pigtail won't reach the edge of the computer. It doesn't matter anyway, since there is no space anywhere to mount the pigtail jack in the case unless the USB port is removed from the upper right beside the power jack.

BruceG1 (author)BruceG12015-10-11

Actually, I looked carefully again and found a spot beside the camera card reader, and the pigtail I bought reached the WiFi card. Unfortunately, after the installation, my signal strength from the external antenna connected to the aux. port on the card was almost exactly the same as the signal from the main internal antenna. To make sure I was using the external antenna, I disconnected the white (main) wire and configured the hardware manager to use the aux. antenna. Maybe I need a better WiFi card.

AhamedB2 (author)BruceG12016-08-05

I think problem might not even on WiFi card; as we are referencing them as 'Primary' / 'Aux' antenna is not what we thinking. Can you remember, almost all internal card come with 'BlueTooth' capability? I did find various android device having 3 separate antenna + connector + pigtail cable for WiFi + GPS + GSM/WCDMA/EDGE etc. On laptop/netbook environment all most all I opend I found having to connectors occupied and they are working together with their different roll; One is TX and Other is RX ( One connector is dedicated to scan/receive signal and comparing with other for noise reduction and other solely used for RF power transmitting away. And as both of connector share same 'Ground Plate' scenario become more complicated as you might introducing total new kind of environment where both antenna fighting each other or even your attached antenna is not for WiFi range at all! Try changing few other available antena around before go for final dicission... Good Luck

charles.king.391082 made it! (author)2015-06-06

I was able to do this to my Asus G71GX gaming laptop. Only thing was in order to get to the spot I wanted my antenna, I had to fully disassemble the laptop. But it was fun.

peter6961 (author)2015-03-16

I would love to do this mod with usb booster to my inspiration 1525 as it can not connectv to o my network 20m's away! my samsung 10.1 can go 40m's hahaha it will be acting as a server in my outside garage.
cant wait for the updates!

Shadowxangel (author)2015-01-23

could you tell me if it would be possible to do this kinda mod on a dell inspirion 15r 3521??? ive wanted to do an antenna mod for better coverage

D33ZZ (author)2008-05-03

HI interested indeed of your usb wifi amp so it doesnt come already usb? but yes instructions would be great.

xxgemini (author)D33ZZ2008-05-04

Hey guys... Well I havent got around to do usb amp isble. So I just tell ya how in words. Its realy simple. The amp came with a wall wart power adaptor, but thats not to travel friendly. Usb plugs have @ 5.0v available to power things. You can pick up an amp from Ebay for @ $60.00. I used a 1watt amp. Then you need a usb plug, I just choped 12" off an old usb mouse. So in the usb plug red is positive and black is obviously negative. They are the 2 outer most pins. The 2 inner data ones we wont be using. Now open up the amp with the 2 screws, and very carefully remove the power plug jack. I used a dremel. there will be 3 solder points under the jack. If I remember correctly the far left is positive and the middle is negative. I just touched the wires to it for a second till the amp light came on to find the right pin. Now feed the usb cable through the hole where the power jack used to be and tie a knot so it wont get pulled out. Now solder the Red and Black Usb wires to the solder pads on the amp. Close her back up and shes ready to go :) I used it at BWI airport the other day and picked up like four pages of

mouse0079 (author)xxgemini2012-11-10

hi there, I've been planing on doing this to my " inspiron 1525 " but would like to know if a twin antenna set up would work better.

grimgroper (author)xxgemini2010-05-21

how much does this effect ur battery life? if it drains it quickly you might wanna look at this mod as well...

also would 2 antennas be beneficial? like the routers that have 2? 

Topcat2021 (author)xxgemini2010-02-10

That is a great modification that you have done. It was the inspiration for performing a similar mod to a dell inspiron 5150. The antenna mod works great.
I ordered a 1 watt broadband amp to use with the laptop and it also works great but I'm wondering about the specs on the amp that you used as the wall adapter is 6vdc @ 2000 ma, this power requirement far exceeds usb power. Can the amp be used at lower power? Right now I'm thinking about making an external battery pack with a charger for portability.
Wish me luck and again great work

jabra (author)xxgemini2008-07-17

I dont have any background in elec and comp field at all...I would need more help from you guys please tell me exactly model# of the amp you were using xxgemini so far I found one on ebay # 280246755001 Not so sure if this is the one you used. I wish we could have some pics from you very soon. Just wanna build an amp for my dell inspiron too. Thanks!

eks01 (author)2011-09-21

Is this possible to be put on mobile phones for Signal Boosting? I will be needing one when I go to remoted areas. Thank you.

ekral (author)2011-03-16

i have this same laptop an i buil it to wifi mod

this is the picture

superMacaroni (author)2010-12-24

"VIRUS" what a awesome name for a network.

rmonge (author)2010-08-09

How do you supply energy to the amplifier through USB cable?

njedmonds (author)2010-07-16

What does the end of the antenna look like?. I found a bunch on ebay that look like it but I need to know if the RP-SMA connector will fit in the end of it. Can you take a pic or something. Thanks

grimgroper (author)2010-05-21

 great instructable, iv always wanted to know if this was possible

this is me expressing my interest for the amplifier mod looks great!!

cj082108 (author)2010-05-19

PLZ DO AN INSTRUCTABLE FOR THIS TOO! UR FIRST ONE WAS GREAT! THANK YOU! I would totally appreciate it if you could email me when you have an instructable with a link to the page. thanks

biloxigrant (author)2009-12-20

I successfully completed the mod on my Compaq Presario.  However, I received no increase in signal compared to the factory setup.  At least now I have an external point to possibly hook up an amplifier.  

DracoGT (author)2009-10-06

I have a question, can you remove this antenna and still get reception? if so, is it better or equal to the original built in antenna? Thanks for the help, Jeff

Oroka (author)2009-09-28

I added a U.FL jack to my Inspiron 1720. Drill one hole, plug it into the wireless card, reassemble the computer. Tada. I am quite interested in your wifi amplifier though!

trt125 (author)2009-09-26

I have a d link airplus DWL-630 and it has no places to plug in an antenna, Would an antenna even work in conjunction with the card by plugging it into a usb port, if so what kind. What else could I do please help

p0g068 (author)2009-09-19

dude yus a bad a. ss thank you for the Instructable ( got me some tools and a antenna)

BobTec (author)2009-09-11

Just a thought, why hack the amp power plug. might be easier to take the male plug off the power supply and put it at the end of the usb cable you use. Think?

billb (author)2008-12-05

I have a Mac Mini and the WiFi reception is very poor. I opened it up and found the WiFi card. It had two connectors for antennas. One of the connectors was used by the Mac and it used the horizontal metal top of the Mac as its antenna (it doesn't work well). I wanted to add a second antenna of high gain so I could use my home router located in another room. The problem is,no one I spoke to in electronics shops that sold antennas could identify the little connectors used by the WiFi card. Your instructable identified it as a "U.FL Connector". Where did you get the MALE U.FL CONNECTOR, and the super thin shielded coaxial cable. And lastly how did you connect it all together using the Reverse Polarity-SMA connector. Thanks in advance for doing all of the heavy lifting and making my (web surfing) life easier.

xxgemini (author)billb2008-12-06

thanks bill, glad i could help.... those u.fl connectors are all over eBay, this one should do if its long enough for your application. . yeah you want to buy it pre-made those small connectors are not fun to put together. hope that helps ~ Will

A good source for U.FL to RP-SMA pigtails:

billb (author)xxgemini2008-12-06

Thanks for your super quick response. You've helped more than you could know. I'll have to get the camera out and make an instructable when I drill into the Mac Mini. Thanks again.

ReCreate (author)2009-09-07

Ok, Maybe you overdid it a little in the last step >_< Brilliant, I have a similar laptop, i may do that something ;)

Tobiastdog (author)2009-09-03

who makes the amp and about how much should I expect to pay?

sp3a12uk (author)2009-08-19

Hey Xxgemini thanks for the guide. I followed in your steps and gave you credit. Thank you again.

jeuno (author)2009-08-07

Who is the manufacturer of your amplifier?

Ratfinkracing (author)2008-10-04

Very neat how do those USB antenna's work? i understand there's power but how does it draw in signal? through the data side of the usb?

ellisgeek (author)Ratfinkracing2009-07-03

um the usb is for power

jeuno (author)ellisgeek2009-08-07

There are some usb devices that claim to extend the signal. I think that is what he is talking about. Not the particular amps power source.

myckro (author)2009-07-30

more than a comment a question... how far does it really work, cuz my house is only like 400m from school and I wanted to know id I could use something like this... of course I would have to setup an aces point on the roof... would it work?

throbscottle (author)2009-07-05

It would be interesting to see if this can be made using a mc type connector rather than the rp-sma type - I imagine it would be neater. The reason I mention it is because there are more mc to n type pigtails out there for connecting to the home made can-antenna I haven't made yet.... (I'm just doing my research at the moment :-) )

adan.e90 (author)2009-05-10

you are the maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan

nevarDeath (author)2009-04-26

This is wonderful! I'm putting this dell 1390 card in my Acer Aspire One and wasn't sure what connectors and stuff I needed for the external antenna. Thank you so much!

edwardbuck (author)2009-04-13

Hello, I read this several months ago, but I have never been able to get this mod to work. I thought maybe I had a bad antenna or cable, so I purchased another of each, but still no luck. I have tried two different high gain antennas and two different U.FL to RP-SMA cables, but I don't get any better signal than with my builtin antenna. Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong? I have a Dell Vostro 1700 with Dell 1390 WLAN card. If I disconnect the high-gain antenna from the pigtail, I get no signal, so it appears that it is making connection, but if I get one bar with my internal antenna, I still only get one bar with the high-gain antenna. Thanks.

FullyInvolvedScientist (author)2008-09-25

Great Instructable right down to the ferret! I have a dell XPS and am not sure where it could come out on the side. I'll have to crack open and look. Does anyone out there know where to get laptop internal diagrams? Once again great Instructable!

I know you posted awhile ago but I usually go to for manuals/diagrams.. Give that a try it may help.

if you go to dell's website and go to support. and type in your service # off the bottom of the laptop. then download the manuals.... its in one of them. step by step with pictures!

null_x86 (author)2009-03-10

can you post a link to where the amp is from?

Gradius (author)null_x862009-04-05
Gradius (author)2009-04-04

What's the BOOSTER model? Are you sure is 1W? USB2 can handle just 150mA, with Battery Charging Specification it can go until 1.5A (low speed) and 900mA (high speed), but even so, I found it risky to use USB to power up the booster.

Gradius (author)Gradius2009-04-04

I found this model: WZ-2301A It's the same?

Kikurimu (author)2008-11-03

Thanks a lot for this instructable, I have and Inspiron 1420 and had to modify your instructions a little to get the connectors in a good spot (also took a bit more force since I had to drill through metal). But it was still a great guide. Thank you.

xxgemini (author)Kikurimu2008-12-06

thanks for the comment, glad it worked... how is reception now ?.... are u using an amplifier ?

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