Uni-Directional WIFI Range Extender





Introduction: Uni-Directional WIFI Range Extender

Easily receive WIFI signals from far away using a standard USB WIFI adaptor and a bit of ingenuity. This Simple idea requires no modifications to a USB WIFI adaptor or your computer. A simple way to increase the signal strength and range of your WIFI. Plus it works with all USB WIFI adaptors

Step 1: Tools and Parts Needed

You need only a few parts for this project and they all are pretty cheap except for the USB WIFI adaptor. ( I got mine on sale for $10, just check the ads)

1 - Metal Strainer/Steamer
1 - USB WIFI Adaptor
1 - USB Extension Cable (I chose a 10ft long)
½” Drill Bit (I like to use stepper bits for metal)
Gorilla Glue (Epoxy works well too)
2 - Zip Ties

Step 2: Drilling the Strainer/Steamer

Remove the Center Post (If your's had one) and drill a 1/2" hole as that is perfect size to fit the usb extention.

Step 3: Glue and Zip-Ties

Insert the Female end of the USB extention (the part that doesnt connect to your computer) into the hole you just drilled.
Then just apply the glue/epoxy and let it sit for 24 hours. This Creates a strong bond between the plastic and metal. I used some tape to help hold the connecter in place while the glue cured. Be sure to apply glue to both sides of the connecter. Once thats dry the next day, zip tie 2 of the metal "ears" so they wont fold in on themselves when you use it.

Step 4: Finish

Just plug the USB WIFI adaptor into the socket on the dish and plug the other end into your computer. Enjoy boosted signal strength and improved distance. Fire up Netstumber or Kismet to really see the gain in power. This works even better than I thought it would. Be sure to leave your comments on how well it worked. Works great for war driving too.

Step 5: Update: Tripod Mount

I decided to make the dish tripod mountable as its really hard to try and hold it to lock in a far away signal. The parts needed are pretty straight-forward.

Nut for the bolt on the tripod
9/32" Drill Bit (Stepper bit works really nice for enlarging the hole)

Pick a hole near the edge of the dish and use the drill bit to enlarge it. I chose the one where one of the feet had once been secured. Then just put the bolt from the tripod trough the hole and secure with the nut. Works great.

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    404 Discussions

    Can you use this for the phone (like it's plugged in to the laptop but also brings in wifi for the phone?)


    3 years ago

    Would this help boost the signal to my smart tv?

    haave u you check the mineral deposit in an around yr home at all. also u could have rf signals the are interfering with yr wifi. and or some 1 else is hooging yr band with on you. also check 4 competing wifi in an around yr home as well.

    Hi, I've got a ? About cell phone service. We live just on the edge of the Verizon tower range would something like this help with cell service? Any suggestions welcomed and thanks!

    I bought the adapter and when I connected to the laptop, didn't increased the signal strength. I used to have one wireless icon in the tray of my laptop, now I have #1 and #2 icons, the strength is the same. The connection comes and goes. How this can improve the strength and not show the two icons? Thank you for any help

    Good instructable, it's always good to see peoples diy projects, everyone's unique way of looking at a problem, and implementing a solution.

    This ones my personal favorite. Picking up signals from hundreds of feet away is cool. Picking up wifi from a couple miles out.



    Quick tip on this. The dish strainer is acting as a mirror/focusing the rf single for the usb wifi receiver, however since sits not actually connected to the antenna in the usb adaptor you only get some benefit. Some usb adaptors have an external antenna connector. They are usually RP-SMA, RP for reverse polarity, so the matching connector on the antenna you want to connect it to will need RP-SMA as well, unless you have an antenna wire to connect them with different types of connectors.

    this is amazing. but i was just wondering if this would work with a home wireless router setup. also, i want to know if you need to put the satellite with the wireless USB adapter near the window to increase reception.

    2 replies

    if your router has a removable antena then yes you can (in theory). if you can find a matching cable for the attachment for your antena, you can use it instead of the usb extender and have the original antena where the usb thing plugged in on the other side of the dish. i might not be making any sense so ill try a makeshift diagram

    l router l=------cable------(---- antena

    Quick note here. The longer your antenna wire, the more noise you can introduce into the signal. And its alot easier using moving the router closer to the antenna and using longer ethernet cables then it is to filter out the noise. In addition even the antenna connectors can be noisy. you can get noise resistance or shielded antenna wire but it only does so much.

    Looking at the photo, you can see two small loops at the sides where the zip-ties are laced through the holes at the edges of two separate petals of the strainer. The effect is to lock the strainer into an open position.

    In my experiments I found paper clips to be more convenient because I could remove them to close the strainer for travel.

    Also, if need be, you can also use the zip-ties/paper clips to lock the shape of the dish into a different parabolic shape which may better focus the "hotspot" of the signal for a particular wifi adapter.

    Remember, the strainer used as a parabolic focusing device can also be used to increase the signal of a bluetooth device or a cellular phone, so the adjustable aspect of the parabolic shape of the strainer makes for some good experiments.

    I disagree with hard-mounting the USB cable of the wifi adapter to the center of the strainer. Instead the hole in the center strainer should be based on the width of the wifi adapter, or even better, based on a small piece of plastic tubing which the adapter can snuggly slide back and forth in.

    How one would make the hole is up to the individual and the tools at hand, but making four cuts with a pair of tin snips and carefully bending the pie-shaped pieces with pliers to hold either the adapter or a two inch long plastic tube to mount the adapter into is not rocket science.

    Not only does this allow for the adapter to be tuned for best signal strength, it also makes the unit very portable and easily dis-assembled, and preserves the wifi adapter and its USB cable in their original condition for other applications.


    Note you can do this with a female usb adaptor. Make it so it would fit in the center so both the adaptor and cable and be removed. Also you it would not damage either end.

    real cool :) but does this make ur wifi signal larger or will it make how much ur computer recieves more?

    Would you think something as simple as a soup can would work? I just was to be able to pick up reception a few hundred yards so I don't need something so strong. I'm pretty sure it would not have as much range as the dish-like strainer but would it still work? I don't know if the cylinder shape would affect the range or reception compared to that of a dish shape. Great Instructable!

    Only thing missing is the drivers to make it work on Linux systems. I can plug the usb in all day but without the driver to recognize it, it don't want to work...... Searching for drivers I constantly find ways to build the antenna, but no instructions on how to make it work....

    That would defeat the purpose of this site. also, those cheap little omnidirectional boosters aren't nearly as strong as a cheaper, high end usb wifi adapter with a mono directional wave guide. One guy made a wifi connection from 128 miles away using a 12 foot dish. This should get you at least two miles.

    Even a few years later, this project is still awesome. Thanks for sharing!