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.

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One of these cans without the string can work as a Wi-Fi catcher.

Step

Obtain a large aluminum or metal pie pan.

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An aluminum pie plate is a good shape for a Wi-Fi catcher.

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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.

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USB cable between the Wi-Fi adapter and computer will enhance Wi-Fi capability.

Step

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.

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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.

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Screw a length of a wooden or metal broom handle to the flange of the pie pan to add height to your antenna.

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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.

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Adjust your Wi-Fi signal catcher in small increments until you find the position that yields the strongest signal strength.