How to Build a Wi-Fi Dish Antenna For Signals That Are Miles Away

By Brandon Ruckman

Wi-Fi is a wireless internet technology. you can access the Internet on your computer via wireless signals, but you need to be relatively close to the source. When your Wi-Fi source is so far away that you can't pick up a signal you can build a better antenna.There are a variety of Wi-Fi antennas. A dish antenna is among the most powerful type and can pick up signals from miles away.

Things You'll Need

  • USB WiFi card
  • USB extension cord
  • Satellite dish
  • Coffee can
  • Cutting Pliers
  • Saw
  • Rip ties
  • Duct tape

Step 1

Clean the coffee can by rinsing it out. The coffee can will work best if the inside is clean and shiny.

Step 2

Cut a niche in the coffee can and insert a USB Wi-Fi card into the niche. Start a hole in the side of the coffee can. Use your cutting pliers to make a rectangular hole about the size of your USB WiFi card. Do not cut the hole too big.

Step 3

Remove the old receiver from the satellite dish by removing the screws holding this piece in. If you are unable to do this, hold the satellite dish down securely and use a hacksaw to cut through the arm.

Step 4

Insert the USB Wi-Fi card into the coffee can by slipping the card into the hole in the can. The back end should be inside the coffee can and the side with the USB connector should be outside the can. The USB card should be snug and secure. This coffee can and USB card combination is sometimes referred to as a cantenna.

Step 5

Attach the cantenna to the arm on the satellite dish. Face the open end of the coffee can toward the satellite dish and attach the cantenna. Place the cantenna at the end of the arm. Using duct tape, wrap the tape around the can and the end of the arm so that the can is secured to the arm. Later you can screw the can into place, but for now you will want be able to adjust the can easily.

Step 6

Mount the satellite dish by placing the base of the dish against the mounting surface. Put a screw through the holes in the satellite base and screw it into the mounting surface. Do this until the satellite is secured. If you want a portable satellite antenna, mount the satellite to a plywood board.

Step 7

Attach the USB extension cord. Plug one end of the cord to the cantenna card and the other end into your computer.

Step 8

View the wireless connections by opening on your computer your preferred wireless network connection manager. Click refresh to view all the new wireless network signals you can pick up.

Step 9

Adjust the antenna direction by pointing it at the source signal. Move the satellite up and down and side to side until you find the best signal. Refresh your connection manager after every adjustment, to see if the connection has improved.