# WIFI Antenna Hack!

Turn your standard WIFI antenna into one just like the \$30 range extender antennas for about 5 cents! Follow these easy steps, and then check out the video if you need extra clarification. Digg if you like my very first Instructable.

## Step 1: Remove the top of your stock WIFI antenna.

A small flat jeweler's screwdriver works great!
 1-40 of 264 Next »
HackingT24 days ago
inf3ct3d R3x1 year ago

db stands for decibel

so if you have a 10 db to start out with and add 5 db you end up with almost 1,000

.if you have a three db gain then it doubles what you start out with so 10 db+3 db gain=100 db add 3 more and you get 1,000 db with a 6 db gain so its a littol less than 1,000 b/c the gain is 5 db

hope that helps

KK4YTT

Eddie

4 months ago
The decibel (dB) is a dimensionless unit, used for quantifying the ratio between two values, such as signal-to-noise ratio or gain/loss of a circuit or antenna.

You need to refresh your electrical engineering course because your calculations are incorrect. Values in decibels are adding, not multiplying the way you do. You don't start with dB, you must have a real electrical value to begin with, dB shows only a ratio of gain or loss, it is not a value to start with. If you have a value of 100 mW which is pretty much what Wi-Fi routers transmit adding 3 dB means doubling the power to 200 mW. Adding 10 dB to 100 mW increases the power for 10 times which makes it 1000 mW.

If you want to express power levels with decibels then you need to use dBm (usually stands for power in dBmW but it is used sometimes for dBmV as well) thus:

0 dBm = 1 mW, 10 dBm = 10 mW, 20 dBm = 100 mW, 30 dBm = 1000 mW

73 de Z35DM

hamamam7 months ago

this is amazing topic and I appreciate your effort .I got a
professional wifi antenna from chines store with very cheap price and
high gain , that is it : http://link.cashat.pro/158m5me

NeilF18 months ago

Omni-directional antennas have 0 dBi, by definition. 5 dBi means the beam narrows. However, MIMO (802.11n) handles the worst aspects of propagation: the bouncing around due to radio wave reflections off of walls and such. This antenna trick is only useful if you don't use 802.11n, or in rare circumstances. Still, I like the straw trick.

ccarpio21 year ago

What About for a laptop?

9 months ago

WiFi adapters built into laptops are different. Unless you buy an external wireless adapter, 99.9% of all modern laptops have wifi adapters that come in the form of tiny (approximately) 1 inch x 1 inch circuit board that attaches to the motherboard of the laptop via a set of small gauge wires. There are used for data being relayed between the motherboard and the wifi adapter, Data is processed locally on the laptop and then hands the data to the adapter, which then encapsulates it in the form of packets that will be sent through the air through radio waves.

You'll notice that your computer does not have a visible antenna. This is because the antenna is built into edges of the plastic casing around your computer screen. Unless you know what you are looking for, it just looks like an ordinary set of wires. The only way that this method shown in the instructable will work is if you have a USB wireless adapter with a visible antenna. I say "visible" because a majority of adapters do not have an antenna sticking out of it. In my experience, most wifi adapters that I have worked with that have an antenna are the ones that advertise high gain, which is a not-so-fancy way of saying that it can transmit and receive at a greater distance than their flash drive sized counterparts. If you have bad reception everywhere you go, I would recommend finding out if there is any warranty and contacting the company, since that would indicate a faulty internal wireless adapter. If your connectivity is good in some areas and bad at others, you might want to try a external wifi (and also disable the internal adapter in the laptop). Regardless, always check with the manufacturer first.

If you computer is relatively new, I would recommend not opening to see for yourself as this will almost always result in you forfeiting any manufacturer warranty remaining on the computer. I need to add this part, since this site is all about making, repairing, tinkering, etc. I am an IT tech, so I know my way around computer components, but regardless, I do not open up computers that I think may have a faulty component and are still under warranty. This is because a manufacturer is not going to care how much you know about computers. As soon you open a computer, they will no longer support the product you purchased, even if it is a faulty component that just died and would normally be replaced by a manufacturer under "normal" circumstances. Not all companies are like this, but it is better to consult the company that manufactures your computer before open it up.

Justin_Bailey1 year ago
Hi babblin I just took some copper red wire and soldered it on to my wifi antenna after stripping the antenna wire and added on 11 inches of wire on it and it worked like a chrm without the coil thanks!!!
milejo1 year ago
Hi babblin I'm hacking my two netgear extender antenna. I'm reading your instruction but it 's not clear the total lenght of antenna? How many inch from the loops to the end?
milejo1 year ago
Hi babblin I'm hacking my two netgear extender antenna. I'm reading your instruction but it 's not clear the total lenght of antenna? How many inch from the loops to the end?
tech1012 years ago
Beth posted a question about adding windings and using bare wire

Information: at this frequency subtle changes make big differences.
Also if using bare wire windings should not touch,the all windings make a coil and a coil is whats known as inductive. every winding alters frequency slightly. ( i use transformer wire which is coated with shellac or insulated wire) adding windings windings can be tricky without test equipment. As far as connection is concerned usually an cheap radioshack ohm meter will tell the story (should be zero ohms from connector to tip)
Suzi17s2 years ago
I am a kind of ignorant about this.
Can someone explain me what de 5 db gain means?
jenmar772 years ago
Wow, love the simplicity, great first :)
bethflorida2 years ago
I did this hack, but it did not improve my signal at all. While I believe I applied each step correctly, I will detail the process below in case anyone can spot a problem. My only request is that you not post comments based on empty guesses when you haven't tried this hack yourself. EG "Are you certain you used the correct COLOR screw"? Thanks..

In the spirit of the hack, I used what was around my house. I had a roll of 20 gauge copper wire (bare), so that is what I used. After cutting the proper length, I used a 2 inch coarse thread drywall screw without any problem. I am crappy at soldering, so I used butt connectors designed for 18-22 gauge wire (red). I tested to be certain the antenna-to-wire connection was firm. Slipped on the straw cover and screwed antenna into router. Restarted router and refreshed wireless networks. Nothing, nada, zip. Still the same two bars I had before the hack. Because I had the same signal, I believe there is no break in the hack wiring or problem at the splice, or the signal should be worse.

Did I miss something? Anyone else had this problem and solved it? Has anyone tried adding the extra 14 loops, and did that work? Other helpful suggestions?

Beth
fyrion3 years ago
hi all before some time i took PCI WI Fi card with 2 antennas and the antennas are the same like on the video at the beginning so does this modified is going to improve the signal cause there is alot of Wi Fi signals but them are a with a little bit poor signal
3 years ago
Hi, i thank you for the replys for the 3 links much apreciated, but it is to tecnical for me on those sites, but it still does not give me a simple answer to increse more turns on the copper wire, kind regards Brian
brian-kn3 years ago
Hi, i am from the UK, it has been asked before but can you increase the gain of the aerial, from 7 turns around the wood screw, then a small space then 14 turns then 28, Kind regards, from the UK brian-kn
joseandre21083 years ago
Thanks was looking for something so simple, but clear and effective as you have posted 100%full
craobhruadh3 years ago
Anarky to answer your question.....It works very well!. My little girls computers are sharing a wireless internet connection. And their placement is a little lacking IE behind a couch...ever try to argue fashion versus function with a woman?....yah..

.Their wireless card has a similar antenna to the one on my old D-link so dust off yee ole G router and steal it's antenna.

well I didn't have any copper cable around until I remembered I was sitting on tons of coax.

So I stripped it out (use a pair of wire strippers or you will chop it in half) followed his directions to a T, minus i went with a paper-mate pen casing in stead of a straw, it is stronger and similar to the real casing comes in a variety of colors and has a cool pointy tip :).

with the old antenna I was getting a .85 megabit pull on speed test. with two little girls playing online Pokeman games sharing the same wireless it was bad. But add the antenna hack and it went up to 2.87 Megabits. to confirm this I put the old one back on and retested right back down to .85- .89

took me 5 minutes to make this thing (butane soldering iron is the bomb)

I cant thank him enough a nickle worth of old sat cable saved me 30 bucks and the headache from my girls "daddy my internet sucks"

Havent heard from them in days.

Now I will see if this ups my wireless bridge as well!!!!!!!! Burhahahahah cough cough

prabath19889143 years ago
can i use the 2.4GHz wifi antenna for my hspd dongle (for mobile frequency rang)
3 years ago
no, the HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) uses a different frequency to WiFi
wifi is 2.4-2.5Ghz, mobile network is 850, 900, 1800, 2100Mhz ~12.5CM is the band length of wifi, ~30cm is the wave length of 900Mhz band.. now for helix coil on that you need it to be a total of 1/4th the band with to do the right effect..

read both these if you want to melt your brain ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helical_antenna

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipole_antenna#Frequency_versus_length
ncham3 years ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNQfBW3_ZMs
SIRJAMES093 years ago
I have a Q:

I have an old CB antennae that has been sitting around for like forever...would that work?? *evil grin*

I know that I would have to build a base for it & all that, but if it'll work to REALLY pull in the net or whatever, then it will have some purpose.....otherwise its trash
3 years ago
You would have to make sure the length of the antenna is correct for the resonant frequency (or part thereof). Most mobile type CB antennas range from 2-8.5 feet in length, which is the proper length for 1/4 to full wave resonance on the 11 meter 26.000 to 28.000 MHz CB band. As wifi broadcasts on 2.4 GHz the resonant length would be quite a bit shorter.
suayres4 years ago
I'm totally ignorant about wifi (my caveat/confession): is the length of the antenna why my wifi connection keeps dropping in and out? I get it thru my cable company and it drives me crazy, especially when it drops out right in the middle of an instructable! It comes in thru our own router, and ever since getting the our own router is when the dropouts started. If amplifying the antenna will do the job, I'm all over it! Thanks for your help.
4 years ago
probably not, it's likely your router. Even if you get your wifi router from your company you can still connect a second wifi router and use that. I would recommend a WRT45GL by linksys with the tomato firmware installed. I have one and it works perfectly.
3 years ago
i place all my time and faith in a belkin wireless router. it is very well worth it. you dont need the all new one because older ones work perfectly. and you also dont need any software to be put on it to make it faster. although you can if you want to.
4 years ago
You were right: I called the nice people at Belkin (manufacturers of my router) and they talked me thru a re-conformation/reworking of my router and now, it works great! I don't know if we set it up wrong or what, but it hasn't dropped out even once since doing it. To be perfectly honest, I have NO IDEA what I did, but whatever it was, it fit the bill!
Fixerdad3 years ago
What is the length of the antenna segment after the coil? Is the length critical? I'm guesstimating from the pix. Thanks!
charlessenf-gm3 years ago
I liked the Drywall Screw as a coil form! Nice trick.
I Think that you could use a length of Heat Shrink Tubing instead of a straw - or perhaps in conjunction with a straw - maybe put an eraser off a pencil into the open end of the straw first - then heat shrink. You can use several pieces of HS Tubing - one over the other - to make a pretty stiff antenna.
jmanc24 years ago
They make them larger to make you drink your soda faster thus making you think you require a larger soda... Subconscious up sell or shifty eyed marketing genius, you decide...
4 years ago
Also.. did you notice that when you go to a restaurant that offer free refill, they give you one of these tiny tiny straw so you drink it slower.. and drinking less also make you eat more!
Restaurant are the cause of bad economy and fat American! Kill restaurant!
4 years ago
good point LoL, I would say all of thee above.
lokivoid4 years ago
Unless you building a dish feeder to use in conjuction with a 1W or higher low noise filter. I would suggest just investing into a good 500mA to 1W USB wifi adapter (a alfa 1w runs about 20USD on ebay) and a 20 to 25dBi yagi antenna (25 dBi 2.4ghz yagi's can be found on ebay for 8 to 11 USD includeing shipping). In most cases cheaper just to buy a cheap chinese directional antenna unless your going to go all out with a dish array.
chosenangelx4 years ago
Thanks, thats pretty cool.. I think ill try it sometime.. if my router has 2 antennas do i do it for both of them?
-R
Cracknel4 years ago
Measurements in millimeters:
2.75 inch = ~70.0 mm
0.75 inch = ~19.0 mm
0.25 inch = 6.35 mm
0.125 inch = ~3.0 mm
Sawyl4 years ago
With regard to whether or not twisting has other value than shortening, in most cases it does. The twisting creates an electromagnetic field that will couple with the ambient RF waves.
A number of old school transmission circuits (which are ones that never got developed further) from the 1930's use a dump tank to cycle the Tx until it was amplified; then it also used a separate coil near to the main RF coil and used magnetic coupling. Quite fancy at the time.

On the other side of the debate, sometimes simply extending the antenna with a wire, without twists/bends, and/or height is enough to do wonders.

I haven't gotten through this tutorial completely, but for those who know basic electronics you can build a simple amplifier from two transistors in a Darlington connection, and a few (less than 7-ish) other components (+-capacitors, resistors, batt, etc). To increase range, sensitivity... without saturating the signal (over juicing the transistors....)

Thanks
4 years ago
Aloha,

Have you completed a tutorial on what you mentioned for building a simple amplifier. Very interested to do this as a project for my Eeepc.

Thanks
BreakTheChains7 years ago
Yeah I tried to ghetto this and it didn't work so well. I think I made it worse. It was on an old crappy belkin router anyways though so I don't really care. I think the problem arose when I didn't solder it together and instead just kinda rapped it around. I didn't use the same thickness wire either.
babblin5 (author)  BreakTheChains7 years ago
I used 20 gauge solid copper insulated wire, but you'd want to keep it between 18-22 gauge for it to be effective. You do want a solid solder joint in order for the element to efficiently load the RF into the antenna...
 1-40 of 264 Next »