How to Build a Wireless Internet Antenna From a Dish

By Dan Ravens

In the quest for free Wi-Fi, building a USB Wi-Fi antenna from a satellite dish has two significant advantages. First, you maximize access to municipal Wi-Fi hotspots thanks to the dish's large parabolic surface. Second, the USB cable is not affected by cable length, so the strength of the Wi-Fi signal is maintained. What's more, by avoiding the need for a Wi-Fi card, building a wireless Internet antenna from a dish can be the most economical means to obtaining free Wi-Fi.

Things You'll Need

  • Satellite dish assembly
  • Screwdriver
  • USB Wi-Fi adapter
  • USB cable
  • Plastic ties
  • Metal strap

Step 1

Remove the LNB (low noise block) receiver from the end of the extension arm of the satellite dish.

Step 2

Install a USB Wi-Fi adapter at the end of the extension arm. Use plastic cable ties or a metal strap to secure the adapter to the metal armature.

Step 3

Connect any common male-to-female USB cable to the USB Wi-Fi adapter. If the satellite dish is on a roof, you will need USB cable extensions.

Step 4

Position the dish outside in the direction of known Wi-Fi access points. To best pick up radio frequencies, line-of-sight (LOS) should exist between the satellite dish and the Wi-Fi source.

Step 5

Plug the USB cable into any open USB port on your computer.

Step 6

Monitor the signal strength from the computer's Wi-Fi interface. Drivers are included on a disk that comes with USB Wi-Fi adapters. Third-party Wi-Fi software can also be downloaded from the Internet.

Step 7

Connect to the strongest Wi-Fi hot spots.

Tips & Warnings

  • Easy Wi-Fi Radar (see Resources) is a free download that automates Windows XP and Windows XP Pro's Internet wizard. Run Easy Wi-Fi Radar, and it connects automatically and displays Internet access points as a series of green, yellow or red dots. Easy Wi-Fi Radar is designed for Windows XP and Windows Mobile.