WokFi - Parabolic Cookware WiFi Antenna!




About: Retired educator/writer
We've reached an age when internet access & email should be available for everyone AS A RIGHT. Aside from obvious educational benefits, the ability to port audio, phone calls,messages & even video helps banish the tyranny of isolation & ignorance. Better informed people make for a happier world...

In regions without a wired LAN infrastructure, 2.4GHz IEEE802.11b/g "WiFi" increasingly allows a attractive datacomms pathway at modest end user & setup cost. However (given successful WiFi links are still rather a black art!) it'll be the boring things which will limit success,blow budgets & frustrate. And by boring we mean costly copper cables, specialised connectors, aluminium sections & plates, plastic housings, sturdy fasteners,mount poles etc. Allow $$$ ...

As part of an altruistic 2004 NZ student project,it was realised cheap USB WiFi adapters, in conjunction with reflective parabolic cookware, could offer a cost effective workaround. The USB approach appealed since -
  • All the microwave-data decoding is done right in the USB "key", so no cable losses occur.
  • Regular cheap USB extension cables (to some 5m) & connectors can be used to locate signal localised sweet spots, perhaps with auditing software such as Netstumbler.
  • USB "keys" are cheap (~US$10),although their power output may be low (~40mW).
  • Easy swap outs for testing assorted reflectors & adaptors results.
  • The USB keys can readily be mounted at the focal point of suitable parabolic reflectors, yielding gains of ~12dB at little cost with just cookware,sieves,woks or the like. Such gains can extend line of site (LOS) ranges to several km.
'Check further DIY pictorial details & test results at our EXTREMELY popular "WokFi" resource site !

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Step 1: Inbuilt Laptop WiFi May Only Be Useful With Strong Nearby APs

Laptop inbuilt WiFi may be "screened"- roving USB adapters help find "sweet spots"

Step 2: Parabolic Asian Cookware!

Reflective devices for 2.4 GHz WiFi abound- pot lids,sieves,lamp shades etc! Asian cookware is sturdy,cheap & easily modified

Step 3: High School Level Parabolic Maths & a Tape Measure IDs Prospective Cookware !

Step 4: The Profile of Promising Parabolic Reflectors Can Be Matched to a Hanging Chain

The profile of promising parabolic reflectors can be matched to a hanging chain

Step 5: Reflecting Sunshine to the Parabolic "hotspot" Also Helps Locate the Focal Point

Reflecting sunshine to the parabolic "hotspot" also helps locate the focal point

Step 6: Support the USB WiFi Adapter & Lead With a Cheap Garden Hose Connector!

Support the USB WiFi adapter & lead with a cheap garden hose connector!

Step 7: Suits Site Survey Auditing!

Done- suits site survey auditing!

Step 8: Portable or Indoor Use- Simple Supports.

Portable or indoor use- simple supports.

Step 9: Boutique Version- Flexible Lamp Stand. (Netstumbler Shows ~12dB Gain = 4x Range!)

Boutique version- flexible lamp stand. (Netstumbler shows ~12dB gain = 4x range!)

Step 10: Long Range Work (wok?) May Now Be Possible- Typically Maxing at 3-5km Line of Sight (LOS)

Step 11: Weather Proofing? Perhaps a Wide Mouth Baby's Bottle?!

Weather proofing? Perhaps a wide mouth baby's bottle?!

Step 12: Smartphone Based Site Surveying?

With today's smartphone abundance, perhaps use a free app. like "WiFi Analyzer" to survey signal coverage and monitor dish enhancements.

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    40 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    After some 12 years hosting by Orcon ( a NZ ISP), the original "WokFi" site at => www.usbwifi.orconhosting.net.nz has now closed. Things have moved on since that era, & both 3G cellular & WiFi now seem almost everywhere.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I have tried many many wifi adapters.....and I can say one thing for sure...
    ..I don't know about you guys, but for me UAWIFI UA3 usb adapter is the BEST.
    No other adapter can compare to this baby, it is VERY powerful.
    There are few people sell them on ebay, but I got mine directly from mft. website www.uawifi.com price is same.
    I also know that it is Made in USA, so at least by buying it I am supporting US workers.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    This is not an adapter I've tested, but at it's quoted US$99 one would certainly hope it cuts the mustard!


    8 years ago on Step 5

    I wonder if keeping the foil on would improve the signal strength? It could only be used inside, but it might be worth experimenting with.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    If the mesh gaps are better than ~ 1/10 a wavelength it makes no real difference. At 2.4 GHz this translates to about ½ inch ( ~ 12.5mm) minimum hence- anything better than that will be "seen" as a solid screen by the RF. Naturally more open designs are lighter & far less wind prone too.


    cool, now if your poor you can steal internet! :-P Most buisness'es have encryption, and some houses to (most dont) so if you live in a city or semi- packed area you can get free internet :-P! great instructable!

    2 replies

    I used an old dish network dish and installed the usb adapter in the old lna tube. this works great but make sure to adjust the dish to horizontal you don't need the angle up. the higher you go up with your dish the better and you can turn 180 in either direction usually you can pick up 5 to 20 free internet points.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hey! Great job!
    Some suggestions to this topic:
    You can easily build your own parabolic dish with cardboard with glued tin foil on it. There's a diagram somewhere on the web, you only have to print it on a A4 paper, cut the cardboard following the lines, glue the tin foil and mount it on the router's antenna. It works nice, but I would use a wok for better durability. Also I would connect the ground wire from the usb cable to the dish. This improves the shielding.
    Modifying the laptop's antenna is also an option like in:
    I'm looking for a circuit to measure signal strangth in the WiFi range, this would be nice to adjust the correct bearing of the dish. I'll let you know...


    9 years ago on Step 2

    Wow - love this! How about all the sat-dish LNA's you don't have to send back when you stop your dish service? You have that nice 18 inch dish and exact focal length (Plus a nice heavy-duty mounting system that looks like about a million others and does not call attention to itself). Just pull out the original LNA unit and replace with the USB WiFi and reaim at the best hot spot . . .


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I can't get high speed where I live. It's crazy because it is literally all around me but as they came down a street toward my place they made a right at the street just before mine and went three miles out to a remote area of homes. I have been told there is no way they can get a signal to me unless I'm willing to put in the lines .2 of a mile down my road at my own cost. Give me a break! There are three of us on this street and we think we deserve what everyone around us has for free. I am ready to go out and get it for myself 'for free'. Is this what this device is?

    well, if we're going to postulate that good (and necessary) things should be given out as rights...I claim the right to have sex with Angelina Jolie -- unless she has crabs as claimed by South Park.

    It really is necessary, I swear!

    2 replies

    Just to help out, Did you know that people can get your classified information from using your wifi network?


    9 years ago on Step 2

    Is the Asian Cookware better then a strainer? if so, by how much?



    9 years ago on Step 11

     Wow, very inspiring and inventive. I'm going to make a list and buy stuff tonight. Thank you for mentioning formulas needed to figure concentration point. Most don't mention it and I wouldn't have thought of it.