Fast, Cheap, and Easy Wifi Cantenna

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Introduction: Fast, Cheap, and Easy Wifi Cantenna

This instructable is on how to make a wifi wave guide antenna for FREEEEE! (Assuming you already have a few things.) 

Step 1: Materials

Can (I just used a #10 can)
Knife
USB WIFI dongle
USB extension cord (my dongle came with one)
That's it.

Step 2: Cut

Cut a hole in the can towards the bottom (see picture) just big enough that you can force the female end of the USB extension cable in. I just stabbed mine with a pocketknife a few times. You don't want the cord to be able to move around at all. If you make the hole too big, just wrap the end of the cable that you sticking in the hole with duck tape until it's hard to fit in.

Step 3: Plug In

Plug the dongle into the extension cord and the extension cord into your computer.

Step 4: Enjoy Cats, Violence

It will take some aiming and maybe even a tripod but you should definitely  notice an increase in the bountifullness of your internets.
I went from 1-2 bars to 4 bars and I can play games with  no network lag. I am not even in the house, but in an outbuilding. Also I am using a crappy $5 wifi dongle. Hope this helps someone!

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    72 Comments

    It is said that this antenna is very powerful. But the important thing is that your wifi device is a quality chip.

    Would mounting to the top of my house make a big difference?
    Higher up, better??

    As, there is a school about block away from my house.
    My laptop the way it sits, does not pick it up!

    14 replies

    Line of sight will most def improve performance, if that's what you mean. Further away means less ability to travel through walls.

    You might be able to pick it up, I pick up a couple from around 200 yds away, but as for on your roof, usb cables aren't meant to go more than like 6 feet I think.

    USB's max is around 18 feet... thats why the longest USB cable is only 16 feet

    I have successfully coupled 2 - 16 footers and a 6 footer together from my laptop to an electronic flow monitor. worked fine.

    no doubt you can go longer.... just not if you want speed.... try 35 feet to a HDD and transfer a 2 gig file.... if you want any chance in keeping the 480 speeds you should use a repeater

    Not likely to work. USB works by the host (computer) polling devices on the bus. Responses from devices need to arrive back at the host within a certain length of time. At about 1 nanosecond per 9 inches of cable, exceeding the maximum cable length allowed by the USB specification even by a couple of feet is likely to cause communication over USB to fail.

    For USB 2.0 or earlier, the maximum length of a standard cable is 5 metres (16.4041995 ft). For 3.0 there's no exact number but we figure 3 metres (9.84251969 ft).

    You can get a USB cable much longer than that if you use active repeater extender cables. I got a 5 meter on off ebay which works with everything except external hard drives.

    Well you could do that but it's not really so much a single cable at that point anymore much like USB over CAT5(e) but you are correct that you could technically go beyond that point. :)

    So how can cat5 cables be hundreds of meters long but usb cables stop working after a few meters?

    USB cables work fine over hundreds of meters, but the communications scheme does not. The host polls devices on the bus and according to the standard they are expected to respond to the host within an allotted time. The electrical signal propagates along the cable at something close to the speed of light, about 1 nanosecond per 9 inches of length. Exceeding the maximum allowable cable length even by a couple of feet will delay the communications enough to cause timing errors, i.e., communications failure.

    Cat5 cables can only be 100 meters... you start losing signal due to interference and electrical resistance after that. Fiber cables are faster and can be much longer, but they're way more expensive.

    The "spec" for USB2 is 6 METRES! I'm currently using a wifi connection to my hotel with a 6m cable to put my USB adapter in a better position to receive the distant hotel AP (other end of the corridor)

    Might give this "cantenna" a try too though.

    probably, but wifi isnt usually that strong, and since so many schools have the wifi in the center, and have really thick walls, i say probably not.

    What if i used an old tv/ satelite dish and mounted the usb network adapter in the center of that?

    I happen to have a few laying around i could use for this exact purpose!

    1 reply

    I think that could work very well provided you point it in the right direction. A hot glue gun will come in handy. I plan on trying this exact thing. I might even mount it on a pole outside, which means extra work to waterproof it.

    Don't touch the can...six volts of electricity flows thru that USB dongle. It would be best if you insulate it

    1 reply

    This is an ancient ible, but 6 volts is not harmful to touch at all. idk how many amps, but since it is a usb dongle, probably very few. Nothing to worry about whatsoever...