Introduction: WIFI Antenna Hack!

Picture of 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.

Picture of Remove the Top of Your Stock WIFI Antenna.

A small flat jeweler's screwdriver works great!

Step 2: We're Going to Match the Range Extender Layout Form As You See Here.

Picture of We're Going to Match the Range Extender Layout Form As You See Here.

You'll need: small gauge solid copper wire, insulated or non-insulated, and a wood screw/drywall screw, measuring tape or ruler, and a soldering iron.

Step 3: Measure Off 2 3/4" of Your Wire and Make a Small Bend.

Picture of Measure Off 2 3/4" of Your Wire and Make a Small Bend.

Then, starting with the bend, use the grooves of the drywall screw as a template and make 7 COMPLETE loops, then bend the wire flush to the screw after the sevenh loop. just unscrew the drywall screw to remove it from the wire.

Step 4: Measure Off 3/4" From the End of the Coil and Cut.

Picture of Measure Off 3/4" From the End of the Coil and Cut.

Then strip off 1/8" of the insulation or sand off 1/8" of the coating on non-insulated wire (depending on what you're using).

Step 5: Cut Down Your Stock Antenna to 1/4"

Picture of Cut Down Your Stock Antenna to 1/4"

And then strip off 1/8" of the insulation.

Step 6: Solder the New Antenna Onto Your Cut Down and Stripped Stock Antenna.

Picture of Solder the New Antenna Onto Your Cut Down and Stripped Stock Antenna.

Overlap all the bare wire from the stock antenna base and the new antenna.

Step 7: Use a Large Diameter Drinking Straw and Slide It Over the New Antenna.

Picture of Use a Large Diameter Drinking Straw and Slide It Over the New Antenna.

McD's has them... they're slightly larger diameter than a regular drinking straw. I think they're for shakes, etc.

Step 8: The Straw Fits Perfectly and Snugly on Stock WIFI Antenna Bases.

Picture of The Straw Fits Perfectly and Snugly on Stock WIFI Antenna Bases.

Amazingly, you don't even have to glue them. It's a match made in heaven! Use a black permanent marker or paint for a pro look...

Step 9: All Done!

Picture of All Done!

Looks pretty good! You get a more omni-directional output (less fiddling with exact antenna placement) and approx. 5 dB gain. It works REALLY well on both your wireless cards and routers. See my video to see the results, and Digg this if you like my very first Instructable! 8D


PietroR4 (author)2017-09-26

can someone leave the right measurement in cm? thanks

TazMania720 (author)PietroR42017-10-09

1 inch = 2.54 cm
2 3/4 (2.75) inch = 6.985 cm
Google is a great tool. :)

KC8RJS (author)2010-05-03

You obviously cannot solder your wireless adapter to a metal case, there  is something we like to call resonant frequency and attaching something that will cause a mismatch load to the transmitter (1:1) will more than likely damage it over a short period of time. A quarter wave length dipole for 2.4Ghz is 1.23 inches and a full wave is nearly 4.92 inches.

supermorph (author)KC8RJS2011-07-16

i have an apple mac g4 case which i modded to become a pc case, can i use a wifi card cable to use the internal (apple case aerial) attached to that case?

if so that would put my server down to running on just 2-3 wires (trying to have the least ammount of cables so i can do a (set it & forget it) in my back room. :-p

KC8RJS (author)supermorph2011-07-16

I dont see why you can't your range will be less than optimal being inside the case, so you may want to use NetStumbler and check your readings after the install, at the very least you may need to move the case to get a descent signal to where you're operating.

supermorph (author)KC8RJS2011-07-26

cheers for the advice, but as my card has 3 aerials, i would only be using one socket and using the other aerials as normal.

when i get chance, ill try it :-)

chunk_change (author)supermorph2012-01-06

I would also like to add that a pc case has the ability to be a case ground, which means if any short were to happen against the metal frame you have a circuit fryer

curlyeric61 (author)chunk_change2017-07-02

If the chassis (computer case) is grounded, assuming properly. Any electrical fault involving it should be directed to ground, and not away from the ground (towards a circuit).

suayres (author)2011-06-06

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.

Yes, I know this post is 6 years old.....but, it depends on several factors. First, are there any splitters or couplers in the service line either outside before entering the house, or inside before cable connects to the modem. Check behind wall plates too. This is common source of bad signal, especially if connections are corroded, or limit frequency throughput.

2nd, make sure all connections are tight. oh, and if you found any splitters, make sure they don't cut off too low. 5Hz to 3GHz is ok, but get rid of the ones than only go to 900Hz. Also helpful when troubleshooting poor HDTV signal. Also helps if the Coax used on incoming line is 3G rated. It will usually say right on the outside of cable.

3rd either your router is faulty, or configured incorrectly.

900 MHz

mman1506 (author)suayres2011-06-21

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.

dedric444 (author)mman15062011-10-30

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.

suayres (author)mman15062011-06-24

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!

JakeA51 (author)2017-02-28

I put Drone antenna on mine and it worked great.

SIRJAMES09 (author)2011-11-01

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

irishjim68 (author)SIRJAMES092011-11-12

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.

ccarpio2 (author)2014-07-28

What About for a laptop?

NolanM2 (author)ccarpio22014-12-03

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.

Nope. built in wifi cards on laptops still use antennas that connect to the wifi card using same type of cable, but smaller, and is terminated with mini PCI connector. You can use an adapter cable like this one. small end snaps on to internal wifi card, and big end is where you screw your antenna on.

TricksH22 (author)2016-12-26

Easily Know How To Hack Wifi With Rooted Android

Nellisv made it! (author)2016-09-06

I used some heat shrink tube, triple thick at the bottom for rigidity and triple at the top and pinched it closed for a "pro" look.

aruneldo made it! (author)2016-03-29

I changed my 2x2dbi antenna in my d-link dsl-2750u adsl modem. Works perfectly... Thanks a lot...

aruneldo made it! (author)2016-03-29

I changed my 2x2dbi antenna in my d-link dsl-2750u adsl modem. Works perfectly... Thanks a lot...

jookey2003 (author)2016-03-27


waspman55 (author)2016-02-28

Pinch the end of the straw closed with a pair of forceps, then seal by melting the closed end with a flame. Weatherproof and dustproof.

inf3ct3d R3x (author)2014-04-03

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



Makden (author)inf3ct3d R3x2015-04-11
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

hamamam (author)2015-01-21

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 :

NeilF1 (author)2014-12-15

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.

Justin_Bailey (author)2014-05-24

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!!!

milejo (author)2014-04-22

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?

milejo (author)2014-04-22

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?

tech101 (author)2013-05-29

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)

Suzi17s (author)2013-04-04

I am a kind of ignorant about this.
Can someone explain me what de 5 db gain means?

jenmar77 (author)2013-01-26

Wow, love the simplicity, great first :)

bethflorida (author)2012-10-03

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?


fyrion (author)2012-03-03

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

brian-kn (author)2012-01-28

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-kn (author)2012-01-17

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

joseandre2108 (author)2012-01-07

Thanks was looking for something so simple, but clear and effective as you have posted 100%full

craobhruadh (author)2011-12-30

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

prabath1988914 (author)2011-09-22

can i use the 2.4GHz wifi antenna for my hspd dongle (for mobile frequency rang)

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 ;)

ncham (author)2011-11-17

Fixerdad (author)2011-10-10

What is the length of the antenna segment after the coil? Is the length critical? I'm guesstimating from the pix. Thanks!

charlessenf-gm (author)2011-10-05

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.

jmanc2 (author)2011-04-17

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...

ac1D (author)jmanc22011-08-30

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!

About This Instructable



Bio: I've had many different jobs in my life, but I've discovered my passion: Mental Health Counseling. However, that doesn't keep me from ... More »
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