How to Build a High Speed Internet Super Antenna
Wireless networking equipment comes in all flavors of cost and speed, but most will be equipped with a low-performance, omnidirectional antenna. A high-speed "super" antenna can be built from everyday household items that will direct the signal and give incredible range and strength. These antennas can be built by the average backyard technician in about an hour.
Things You'll Need
- Cooking pan lid, or metal dish
Select a large metal dish or can that will direct the radio signal. Large cookware and pot lids make excellent reflectors, and many will already have a hole in the center for a handle. The primary property of a super antenna is a large, curved, metallic surface to direct a radio wave in one direction. Some kinds of cans, such as coffee or Pringle's cans, make good antennas. The perfect shape of the reflector is a hotly debated topic, and the main reason is usually the angle of reflection. A dish has an angle of reflection of about 30 to 50 degrees, while a can is much tighter at 10 to 20 degrees.
Mount the standard, omnidirectional antenna that was included with the equipment into the inside center of the dish. This can be done by drilling a small hole into the center of the dish, then screwing or gluing the antenna body to it. The antenna cable can run through the back, while the antenna is perpendicular to the lip of the dish, mounted straight up. Other methods can be used, such as mounting the antenna on an arm across the center of the dish, as in the first picture.
Mount the entire USB networking card to the interior center of the dish, as in the second picture, if applicable. The USB-style cards, typically compact, have internal omnidirectional antennas that do not perform well over long distances. By directing this signal, higher speeds and range can be achieved.
Add a radio signal amplifier by running the antenna cable through secondary equipment. Many brands of wifi "extenders" are simple radio amplifiers with upgraded antennas that can be easily adapted for use with a directional reflector antenna. The boost in power coupled with the reflective dish can extend an Internet signal over miles of open space.
Tips & Warnings
- Use two directional reflectors for truly astounding range.
- Do not power the networking equipment without an antenna attached.