How to Make a USB Wi-Fi Dish Antenna

Written by dan ravens
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How to Make a USB Wi-Fi Dish Antenna
Put a Wi-Fi adaptor on the extension arm. (satellite dish image by steveinnz from

There is perhaps no easier or effective way to create an antenna for free Wi-Fi than to use an old TV satellite dish. There are old dishes in many places, and the large dish surface provides an ideal reflective surface to bounce radio waves to a USB adaptor mounted on the end of the extension arm. Since one part of effective radio frequency reception is the the reflector, the satellite dish serves that purpose better than almost anything else. The outside installation of the dish ensures the strongest signal paths, and it's easy to attach a USB Wi-Fi adaptor.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Satellite dish
  • Screwdriver
  • USB Wi-Fi adaptor
  • Nylon cable ties
  • USB cable

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    Convert a Satellite Dish to Wi-Fi

  1. 1

    Remove the LNB unit by removing the screws that hold it to the end of the dish's extension arm. Use a screwdriver that matches the screw heads.

  2. 2

    Detach and discard the old coaxial cables.

  3. 3

    Replace the LNB unit with the USB Wi-Fi adaptor; a wireless N adaptor will provide the fastest upload and download speeds.

  4. 4

    Connect the USB cable to a computer or router. Depending upon the distance to the computer or router, a USB cable extension may be needed. Any open USB port will work.

  5. 5

    Position the dish outside in the direction of public Wi-Fi access points. Signal strength boost should exceed 15dB more than using the USB adaptor alone. This represents a 500 per cent increase in connection strength.

  6. 6

    Install Wi-Fi software if the computer does not automatically find available Wi-Fi networks. Easy Wi-Fi Radar is a popular free download for Windows computers.

  7. 7

    Connect to available public access or other local Wi-Fi networks.

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