Homemade WiFi Antenna for Laptop

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

Laptops include a built-in antenna to use with a wireless network, but most also include a Wi-Fi plug for adding an external antenna. You can build your own external homemade Wi-Fi antenna that will provide a better signal to the laptop. A few household items are all that is needed, along with a few parts from a hardware or electronics store. The antenna that you will make will better serve the laptop’s wireless needs, without you having to open up the laptop or void its warranty.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • 12-oz. soda can
  • Work gloves
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Paper towel
  • Ruler
  • Duct tape
  • Wi-Fi plug adapter
  • Wire strippers
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder

Step 1

Open the tab of the soda can. Pour the soda out into a kitchen sink or toilet.

Step 2

Put a sheet of newspaper on a table. Stand the soda can on the newspaper. Put on the work gloves.

Step 3

Score around the top rim of the soda can using the blade of the utility knife. Use the scissors to cut off the top rim of the soda can on the scoring. Discard the cut top rim of the soda can in the trash.

Step 4

Pour two drops of dishwashing liquid into the soda can. Fill the soda can with warm water and wash out the can.

Step 5

Wipe out the soda can with a paper towel. Discard the paper towel in the trash.

Step 6

Stand the soda can on the newspaper. Let the can dry out completely.

Step 7

Place the soda can on its side on the newspaper, with the open side facing to the left.

Step 8

Measure 4 inches from the closed end of the soda can. Score a hole at the 4-inch mark using the utility knife. Cut out the hole with the blade of the scissors.

Step 9

Wrap duct tape around the open rim of the soda can.

Step 10

Cut off both ends of the coaxial cable using the scissors. Insert one cut end of the coaxial cable into the hole in the soda can. Wrap duct tape around the coaxial cable to secure it in the hole.

Step 11

Strip off 2 inches of the outer sheathing of the free end of the coaxial cable using the wire strippers. Strip off 1 inch of insulation from the end of the center wire using the wire strippers.

Step 12

Solder the uninsulated end of the center wire into the center hole at the back of the Wi-Fi plug adapter. Solder the inner sheathing surrounding the center wire against the contact surrounding the insulated center wire. Let the solder cool for a minute.

Step 13

Wrap duct tape around the center wire where it meets the Wi-Fi plug adapter to insulate it from the inner sheathing.

Step 14

Plug the Wi-Fi plug adapter into the Wi-Fi plug on the laptop.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process of the soda can.
  • Adult supervision is necessary if you are underage, because a cutting edge is being used.
  • The homemade Wi-Fi antenna will not work if there is no external antenna connector on the laptop.
  • The soda can must be totally dried out, or the metal will rust and render the homemade Wi-Fi antenna useless.