Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Turbo-boost your WiFi signal - in 15 minutes

When you're a young company, frugality is obviously important (in fact it is important even if you're a listed Fortune 500 firm)...

I work a lot from home. Our Wireless Access Point is in the kids' room and the signal strength at my desk at the other end of the house was just 1 bar (and often zero when the doors are closed). Here's how we managed to get that up to 4 bars WITHOUT buying a WiFi repeater:



As the pic shows, all it took was a parabolic reflector strapped on to the antenna and directed as needed. Added bonus: the signal strength improved in most other parts of the house too!

Making this is quite simple; it took all of 15 minutes, some aluminum foil, paper, glue, a printer & a paper knife.

Here's how (note: you'll see 2 scary looking pattern/graphs. Don't bother with them - simply scroll to the end of the page for the pattern you need to print and cutout)

14 comments:

  1. Are you only supposed to put foil on the backside of the square?

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  2. Neat! I would like to try this out. But, I don't understand what you mean by "Ensure that you keep the square on the diagram square." And what does the "Keep Square" square in the image have to do with it?

    Thanks!

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  3. @pallav ... I believe that is just talking about the aspect ratio when you are resizing the image. So put another way: Don't stretch/skew the image if you resize it.

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  4. Aha! I see! So, when I resize the image, I should make sure that the "Keep Square" square remains a square! :-)

    Thanks Chris!

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  5. @chrisfarms, @Pallav: exactly what Chris said: for the aspect ratio.

    @Pykler: the square doesn't feature in the construction - the square is just a visual guide to ensure you don't distort the image. Essentially, you will cut out two pieces - one on which it says Windsurfer, and the second on which it says FreeAntennas.com ; the foil goes onto the second piece - on the back. Once you've affixed the foil, use a knife to cut out the slots in front (the face in which it says freeantennas.com). Hope this helps.

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  6. Your photo shows the foil on the front; the photo on the linked site shows it on the back (as per instructions). That's a little confusing.

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  7. @Noel: Thanks. Know what, I saw the photo on the linked site (properly) only now. I just went with my intuition when I made it. You're right - it seems confusing.

    Since I now it work beautifully for me, I suggest you follow what I did - foil on front (or back of the template you've cut out - so you still have the front to know where you cut the 6 slots)

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  8. @Lakshmanan: But I'm gathering from that site (other pages) that the purpose of the foil is to block signals from other networks -- i.e., you want the foil to help reflect them away from the antenna. Or is that not it? I don't know anything at all about antennas, just interested in trying this out. Thanks for posting it.

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  9. @Noel: the foil (aka the parabolic reflector) is to direct & chanellize YOUR signal in the general direction of where you want it. No, it's not to block other signals. Hope that helps.

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  10. @Noel...
    More validation (and better pics):
    FRONT:
    http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template/paull_ant_frnt.jpg
    BACK:
    http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template/paull_ant_back.jpg
    Cheers
    Lux

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  11. Honey Bunches of Oats! :-) Thanks!

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  12. This article's title should be renamed to "How to fry your kids brain in 15minutes"

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  13. Be sure to aim this at your kids' heads for maximum effectiveness

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  14. @waldorf @Statler (I assume you're the same person): I'm not sure if this even compares with the radio wave exposure to cellphones. Apparently, sitting in a wi-fi hotspot for a year results in receiving the same dose of radio waves as making a 20-minute mobile phone call!

    So, please try backing claims wherever possible. And: I'm all for healthy debate, but please don't get personal in the comments!

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