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ParabolicAntenna

Summary

Here we make a cheap antenna (more of an antenna add on) that boosts a wireless signal in one direction by at least 50%.

Difficulty (scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most difficult): 2
Time: Approx 20 minutes.

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Motivation

You have a wifi network in your house and want the signal to be stronger in a certain place. In my situation, I have a media center PC in the living room and the router in my room, so I have the parabolic antenna pointing to the media center in a somewhat straight line.

  • Quick edit suggestion: This will also work as a Wifi shield, in the opposite direction to the "boost". If someone is stealing your wifi, this shield could be effective in blocking their access, thus increasing the bandwidth available to you the authorised user.

Introduction

I know what you're thinking.. does this really work? Yes, it really does. I saw my speeds increase from 800kB/s to 1200 kB/s and my signal strength increase from 14dB to 21dB (that's almost a 50% increase in both cases).

What you'll need

-Cardboard

-Tin Foil (99 cents at Walgreens)

    • Quick edit suggestion: Avoid using tinfoil, it's reflection percentage is no where near that of Mylar. You can purchase mylar from many home improvement stores and centers, it reflects nearly 95% and would work better in this instance

-Scissor, a knife, or a box cutter.

-This cutout:

Parabola.jpg

Steps

1. Trace the pattern onto a piece of cardboard. You can either cut the pattern and trace it, or poke holes in it along the dotted line and put a pen through the holes, making a mark on the cardboard. Make sure to mark the focal point however you choose to do it.

2. Cut out the cardboard with the box cutter or a really sharp knife.

3. Repeats steps one and two until you have two identical pieces. (trim if necessary)

4. The next piece to cut out is the main reflector, Suggested Dimensions are 210x180 (mm)

5. Make holes big enough to fit over your routers antenna where the focal points, or foci, are.

6. Cover each of the three pieces in tin foil.

7. Use duct tape to tape the pieces together as shown so that the reflector maintains its parabolic shape. You do not want any gaps where your "half-circles" meet your main reflector.

8. Put it on your router and point it in the direction you wish to use your wifi network in.

Sources and inspiration

Original article from Popular Science.


Further Ideas

If you have some ideas about slight modifications to this project, list them, perhaps it will spawn more cool stuff. As always, make sure to check out our main page and post a project of your own, or suggest an idea for one. We love it when people post.