How to Build a WiFi Signal Catcher
There are two things needed to build a Wi-Fi catcher: a dish-like surface for the "catcher" part, and a Wi-Fi antenna. Though a Wi-Fi antenna can be built with a quarter wavelength wire of the Wi-Fi frequency, which is 1.2 inches, a USB Wi-Fi adapter is easier to get and inexpensive to use. Think of a TV satellite dish. The dish reflects the TV radio waves to the receiver that faces it. So too does the reflective surface that catches the Wi-Fi signals to send to a Wi-Fi adapter.
Things You'll Need
- Metal pie plate
- Nail or hole punch
- USB Wi-Fi adapter
- Silicone caulk
- USB extension cable
- Electrical tape (optional)
- Broom handle (optional)
- Power drill
- Drill bits
- Wi-Fi software
Obtain a large aluminum or metal pie pan.
Buy a USB Wi-Fi adapter, either g or n speed. The 802.11g standard for wireless networking supports a maximum bandwidth of 54 Megabits per second (Mbps); the 802.11n standard up to 300 Mbps of maximum bandwidth.
Cut a hole in the center of the pie pan using a nail or hole punch. Enlarge the opening enough to push the Wi-Fi adapter halfway through. Apply silicone caulk to secure the bond between the adapter and the reflector pie pan.
Connect the female end of a USB cable to the USB port of the Wi-Fi adapter. Wrap it with electrical tape if the antenna will be outside.
Screw a length of a wooden or metal broom handle to the flange of the pie pan to add height to your antenna.
Plug the male end of the USB cable into any open USB port on your computer, and install the Wi-Fi software that came with your Wi-Fi adapter if you have not done so already.
Adjust your Wi-Fi signal catcher in small increments until you find the position that yields the strongest signal strength.
Tips & Warnings
- Adjusting the Wi-Fi signal catcher in small increments ensures that the optimum signal strength is found. Wi-Fi radio waves are very directional.