Instructables
Picture of Make a Wi-Fi Extender
Plagued by unreliable Wi-Fi connectivity? Just found a cheap and relatively easy way to boost a wireless routers signal strength by creating a simple parabolic reflector dish to direct Wi-Fi signals to your intended receivers.

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Step 1: Gather Required Materials

Picture of Gather Required Materials
Materials Needed:

- Paper

- Foil

- Scissors

- Glue

- Template Parabolic Reflector Template

Step 2: Assemble Your Wi-Fi Extender

Picture of Assemble Your Wi-Fi Extender
Print out the template on a sheet of regular paper. You can actually scale the image to a larger sizewhile maintaining the relative dimensionsfor a stronger focus. First, cut out the template pieces, then use a glue stick to affix foil to the front of each piece. Use a knife to make cuts on the indicated slits and bend the reflector to fit the six tabs into the respective holes.

Step 3: Attach onto the Router

Picture of Attach onto the Router
Slide the booster over the existing antenna of your router and point it in the desired direction.
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signed up but wont let me download sas i am signed in help trying to get a wifi signal booster thats home made please help
Jacky P1 year ago
What if you don't have attena? Will it still work?
StalkerBear2 years ago
It works great!
Yesterday had 30kb per second, now it's more than 100 kbps.
And it's with antenna printed on A4 page both parts.
Thanks!!!!
love4pds2 years ago
I have kind of a strange question. We are converting a bus to a motor home. The bus is covered with smooth aluminum sheeting and you got me wondering if it would be a giant antenna or if the electric system would mess it up with interference? So if I were to use the bus would my electric system mess up my router if I test this? I dont totally understand all this but I do know that putting cat 5 near electric wires messes up signal so that is why I am asking this question.
Thanks in advance :}
I lived in a bluebird last month. We didn't have any interference from the bus while connecting to the wifi coming in from the nearby lodge and iphones worked fine as well. What are you using for your electrical system? I'm still working on mine.
LaughSing3 years ago
Sweet!
You just saved me a trip to Radio Shack, buying a cable splitter, and moving my cable modem and router. This gave the router the boost it needed to compensate for my new camera's body being beefier than the old one, interfering with the Eye-Fi card.

Maybe it ain't pretty, but it's off in the den. The other choice was putting the cable modem and router in the living room, which would be even uglier. So, yeah, it's beautiful. :)
amylove3 years ago
i just made these and the results were instant. i can now move my router anywhere in the house with a perfect connection!
cncnorman5 years ago
What a great idea. Can I ask what distance I can get with this? I work a half mile from my house and would love to be connected to he home system.
for distances this far you would want a clear line of sight between the two ends, and something more like this: http://urbanwireless.info/antennas/dish-with-biquad-feed
if you have a powerful router, and there is little interference it MIGHT work. If you live in the city, dont bother and if your router is a cheap one, dont bother.
Do you know if this works better then soda cans? I have that same router installed in my neighbors house (not right next door but 1 down) with 2 soda can reflectors on the antennas and another soda can reflector at my end hanging in my window. That's been my only internet connection for almost a year. sometimes I have to go over there and adjust the antennas or reset the router but you can't beat free internet. without the cans I had a very weak (and thus slow) connection and in bad weather (especially snow) I would lose it all together. I'm always looking for ways to improve it though.
yes the can-tennas are better, but require a bit more fiddling around: http://urbanwireless.info/antennas/waveguide-can-tenna
The key is to make sure the antenna is at the focal point.  The templates are supposed to take care of that.
infiniteshadow (author)  johnson_steve6 years ago
Well from my experience, i have found out that this method is the best way to extend your wifi reception, and best of all its free. So what do you have to lose?
sn00ze3 years ago
This site UrbanWireless.info has some good templates for making this reflectors.
Slowpoke4 years ago
Hi,

Downloaded the PDF from urbanwireless.info, printed them out to scale & did the contact adhesive bit onto card (180gsm - metric (grams per square metre) - Rather thick card).  Stuck the whole thing together (two of them) with the aid of hot melt glue ( the glue version of duct tape but not as strong but just as handy)...This all took about 15 minutes. As a professional RF engineer I hate to say it....It worked AND it worked bl**dy well. Too simple. I recommend this technique to everyone mucking around this stuff...Okay, it's not as good as the correct antennas but, hell, it can get you out of a tight spot without costing the usual arm & a leg until you can get back to the job with the pro' antennas. Thanks for posting this. Very, very useful. And many thanks to sn00ze for the link to urbanwireless.info.
sn00ze Slowpoke3 years ago
cheers Slowpoke! if you really want to throw your signal some serious distance check out the can-tenna (pringle can antenna): http://urbanwireless.info/antennas/waveguide-can-tenna/ or even better (but more complex), a Parabolic TV / sat dish antenna: http://urbanwireless.info/antennas/dish-with-biquad-feed
basenne5 years ago
this is simply amazing. I have no idea how you / whoever came up with this strange design, but it has caused my wife's computer to go from barely being able to keep a minimal signal to having full bars. It has also taken my son's computer from not being able to find the network to having full bars. In addition, the xbox 360 went from 1 bar to 5!!! thank you soooo much. But just a question... I'm using dd-wrt to use 2 linksys wrt54g's as a wds. Would adding these "antenna" things help with the connection between the two routers?
Dr.Bill basenne4 years ago
Could be.
I know that I am not the person you were talking to, but most likely, yes. These will help anything that is sending something wireless.
Dr.Bill4 years ago
Go see........www.ham-radio.com/k6sti/wifiyagi.htm
gives you everything you need to know.
Electrical length, SWR, all of it.
kd5fcy4 years ago
Has anybody tried measuring the SWR post-mod to make sure this won't shorten the life of the router? I love the idea of a DIY directional from omnidirectional antenna, I just don't want 1/2 my transmissions being redirected back into the antenna if I can help it.
haque4 years ago
@gavox.. try this
http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/Ez-10/
Nice! Three bars to five bars :D
gavox4 years ago
I have a thing called a "Livebox" (european stuff) anyhow it doesn't have any kind of antenna, so is there a way of still directing the signal?
infiniteshadow (author)  gavox4 years ago
You can try to place a foil covered card behind the device and see if that helps.
Thanks! done that, kinda works...........slightly....................a bit...........
thewizard424 years ago
Signal went from poor to poor D:
maxredeye4 years ago
I gave it a go and made one with some plastic packaging and a can of lager, didnt really boost my network signal but i did see twice as many of my neighbours networks.
http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/4282/antenna.png
j091596as4 years ago

Another it works comment.  I made it out of Vinyl folder material, put it on the netgear router, and ba-bing, my signal strength was up.   I was considering running cat5 before I tried this out...

would this work on usb modem?cause i have this usb broadband that i use for my laptop but the signal is weak and often times don't have signal...so i want to know if the parabolic antenna will work on that and how am i going to position the usb?thanks in advance!
NT866 years ago
i have a netgear router with the antennas built in, but is it possible to do this on the PC's antenna?
should be as long as the PC ones are for broadcasting, but if they are for RECEIVING signal, it will only make it worse as it only redirects, and deflects signal
Both antennas receive and transmit signal, and the reflector works for both purposes.
infiniteshadow (author)  NT865 years ago
Yup. Just apply the foil to the back and adjust. :D
freerunnin16 years ago
sooo the signals just rebound off the reflective surface into in intended direction?
they don't just bounce off, what happens is... when the wifi signal radiates outward it runs into the impermeable walls which reflect it to a point. That point becomes increasingly stronger due to the fact that it not longer has to cover that once non-used area. The problem with this is, the waves that are focusing might just so happen to be on trough/crest which would cause a canceling effect. Which in turn would be less helpful. But you mind as well try it the materials are pretty much free.
On the reception, it basically "focuses" the signal onto a single point.  It works like any satellite dish.

On the transmission, it catches nearly half of the signal that's shooting out in all directions, and points it toward one direction.  It's like the reflector behind an automobile headlight.


theonlysong5 years ago
i have a linsys range plus router ...the kind that doesn't have an actual antenna on it... anyone know if there is a way to boost a signal from something like that?
vista095 years ago
Works awesome.... 2 bars to full 5 bars! Thanks! 
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