A wireless networking antenna can be constructed in various shapes and designs, and one of the more popular ones is the parabolic dish. This shape will reflect the signal at a tighter angle, but much farther distance, than an omnidirectional type. The Wi-Fi parabolic directional antenna can be built by the average backyard engineer in about an hour.
Cut a hole into the centre of the dish or plate that is going to be used for the primary reflector. This hole only has to accommodate the antenna cable, so it does not need to be very wide. A large cookware lid or wok can be an excellent choice, because it may already have handle holes at the top.
Run the existing antenna cable through the hole, and connect the antenna node on the inside of the dish at the centre. An antenna node is simply an omnidirectional Wi-Fi antenna, but when placed into the reflector, it becomes directional. The wave transmission will be reflected into a tight angle, and out the front of the dish.
Solder the antenna node to the Wi-Fi cable and equipment. Most Wi-Fi equipment uses reverse SMA cables, which means that the negative lead is in the centre of the wire. This can cause confusion, because the cables can easily be soldered incorrectly.
Mount the dish onto a stand. Aiming the dish at the intended receiver will be simpler with a good mount that does not wobble. For outdoor locations, the dish can be weatherproofed by using silicone or adhesive on the contact points of the cables.
Use a stronger transmitter if the dish is too weak for reliable propagation.
Use safety equipment when soldering.
Tips and warnings
- Use a stronger transmitter if the dish is too weak for reliable propagation.
- Use safety equipment when soldering.