WIFI Antenna Hack!

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Introduction: WIFI Antenna Hack!

About: 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 still being a technogeek!

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!

Step 2: 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.

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.

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"

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

Step 6: 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.

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.

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!

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


3 People Made This Project!

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287 Discussions

can someone leave the right measurement in cm? thanks

1 reply

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

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.

5 replies

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

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.

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 :-)

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

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).

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.

5 replies

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.

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.

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.

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!

I put Drone antenna on mine and it worked great.

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

2 replies

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.

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.