How to Amplify Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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A public Wi-Fi hot spot provides access to the internet at no cost, provided you are in range to receive the signal it is putting out. You can amplify the Wi-Fi signal coming from a public hot spot by using a directional homemade Wi-Fi antenna booster with your laptop’s Wi-Fi card. You will need a few supplies from a grocery store, a hobby store and items found around the house. Your directional Wi-Fi antenna will enable you to gain access to public Wi-Fi spots even when much farther away from them than you have been before.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Can opener
  • Can of fruit juice
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Newspaper
  • Ruler
  • 1-inch-by-1/4-inch copper tube
  • Pliers
  • Wi-Fi N connector
  • Bonding glue
  • N plug adaptor plate
  • Pigtail antenna cable
  • Portable drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder

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  1. 1

    Open the can of fruit juice with the can opener. Throw the cut-off lid in the trash. Pour the contents into the sink or into glasses to drink it from. Wash out the fruit can with dishwashing liquid and tap water. Dry the fruit can with a paper towel. Let the fruit can dry out for a day.

  2. 2

    Put a sheet of newspaper on a table. Stand the fruit can on the newspaper with the open end facing up.

  3. 3

    Measure six inches from the bottom of the fruit can. Drill a hole in the side of the fruit can at the six-inch mark with the portable drill.

  4. 4

    Clamp the jaws of the pliers around one end of the copper tube. Squeeze the jaws of the pliers to compress the end.

  5. 5

    Heat up the soldering iron for five minutes. Place the non-squeezed end of the copper tube against the centre inside of the Wi-Fi N connector. Apply solder around the copper tube where it meets the inside of the Wi-Fi N connector to hold it in place. Let the solder cool for two minutes.

  6. 6

    Push the free end of the copper wedge through the hole in the side of the fruit can.

  7. 7

    Apply bonding glue to the front of the N plug adaptor plate. Place the N plug adaptor plate over the Wi-Fi N connector that is in the hole in the side of the fruit can. Let the bonding glue set for two hours.

  8. 8

    Plug the N connector of the pigtail antenna cable into the connection on the back of the Wi-Fi N connector. Plug the other end of the pigtail antenna cable into the Wi-Fi antenna connection on the Wi-Fi card in the laptop.

  9. 9

    Aim the directional Wi-Fi booster you have made in the direction of the Wi-Fi hot spot to gain access to its signal.

Tips and warnings

  • You can add a handle to your directional homemade Wi-Fi booster so it can be raised above chest level when in use.
  • Buildings or other obstructions between the public Wi-Fi hot spot and the antenna booster can degrade the Wi-Fi signal.

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