The convenience of web-enabled phones and the rising costs of telecommunications services have increased interest in free Wi-Fi alternatives. Building a wireless antenna out of a satellite dish is one of the best alternatives. The Internet has numerous do-it-yourself antenna designs for free, but one of the best is the conversion of a satellite dish equipped with a USB wireless adaptor. The dish's parabolic shape provides a large surface to bounce the radio waves to a USB Wi-Fi transceiver that doesn't lose signal strength over cable distance.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Satelitte dish
- Phillips screwdriver
- USB Wi-Fi adaptor
- Nylon cable tie
- USB cable
- USB extension cable (optional)
Remove the LNB (low noise block) unit from the end of a satellite dish extension arm.
Replace it with a USB Wi-Fi adaptor. Wireless G adaptors can be found on line for £9 to £10 and at office supply stores for around £19. Wireless N is much faster, but more expensive, up to £65.
Attach the USB Wi-Fi adaptor to the extension arm with nylon ties or a metal clasp.
Attach a USB cable to the end of the USB Wi-Fi adaptor.
Connect the USB cable to any open USB port on a computer. An extension USB cable can be used without the signal loss that applies to coaxial cable.
Follow the on-screen set-up instructions to set up the Wi-Fi reception. The network wizard should find the wireless signal.
Position the satellite dish in a direct line of sight (LOS) with known public access points. Radio waves are very directional.
Tips and warnings
- Easy Wi-Fi Radar is a free download that automates Windows XP and Windows Mobile connections. Run it, and it automatically finds Wi-Fi public access points to the Internet. Easy Wi-Fi Radar will displays Wi-Fi signal strength as green, yellow or red dots. It works with Windows XP and Windows Mobile.
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