How to Build a USB WiFi Antenna

By Jason Gordon

You're tired of poor or intermittent wireless signals. You can only detect one or two networks, but you want to connect to the café down the street. With very few skills and a couple of simple tools, you can build a powerful USB WiFi antenna that will boost your WiFi detection range tenfold or more.

Things You'll Need

  • Tin can
  • USB WiFi adapter
  • USB extender cable

Step 1

Purchase a USB WiFi adapter from your local computer hardware store (the price should be around $40 as of March 2009). Install it on your computer by following the on-screen setup instructions.

Step 2

Find or buy an old metal object that is rounded, such as a tin can, bowl, small pot or strainer, and cut a hole in it that allows the USB adapter to fit snugly within it.

Step 3

Push the USB adapter halfway through the hole so it won't slide out. Connect the USB extension cable from the computer to your adapter.

Step 4

Hang the "antenna" so that the adapter and antenna are facing out the window (toward wherever more signals are likely to be found).

Step 5

Search for and connect to wireless networks by right-clicking on the wireless icon in the taskbar and selecting "View Available Wireless Networks."

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have an old satellite dish lying around, try attaching the WiFi antenna to it for added signal strength.