How to Build a USB WiFi From a Satellite Dish

By Martin Wolfson

There are two distinct advantages to a USB WiFi antenna made from a satellite dish. The first is that the USB cable does not suffer signal loss to the extent a coaxial cable does, thereby maintaining the robustness or strength of the WiFi signal. The second is that accessing municipal WiFi hotspots is enhanced by the large parabolic surface of the satellite dish itself, which expands the range of signals that reach the USB antenna. Finally, by avoiding the necessity of a WiFi card, a USB WiFi antenna from a satellite dish can connect to any open USB port on a computer, and be more economical.

Things You'll Need

  • Satellite dish
  • USB WiFi adapter
  • USB cable
  • Plastic ties
  • Metal strap

Converting a Satellite Dish for WiFi

Step 1

Modify an existing satellite dish. Modification consists of removing the LNB unit that receives TV signals, and replacing it with a USB WiFi adapter.

Step 2

Secure the USB WiFi adapter to the satellite dish's extension arm, pointing towards the reflective surface of the dish. Use plastic ties or a metal strap.

Step 3

Connect the USB cable. Depending upon the length of cable to the computer or router, there may need to be USB cable extensions employed.

Step 4

Position the dish at the proper point outside. Your signal strength boost with the dish as the reflective surface should increase up to 600%, and exceed 15dB. Position the dish in the direction of known WiFi hot spots generally, as the radio frequency (RF) signals are highly directional.

Step 5

Connect the USB cable to a computer. USB cable lengths can be as long as 16 feet. Plug the cable into any available USB port.

Step 6

Install the wi-fi software. A software CD comes with every new USB WiFi adapter, and software can also be found on the web. The Wireless Network Setup Wizard in Windows, Vista and Windows 7 provides a step-by-step guide through the process.

Step 7

Connect to a widened array of available WiFi hot spots.

Tips & Warnings

  • Easy Wi-Fi Radar is a free download that automates Windows XP and Windows XP Pro's Internet wizard. The wizard is a series of steps within the operating system that's a bit cumbersome to set up. Easy Wi-Fi Radar uses a graphic interface to both connect to the Internet automatically, and display the signal strength of access points as green, yellow or red dots. It works on Windows XP and Windows Mobile, but it does not work on Vista.