How to Boost the Signal Strength With a Wi-Fi USB Stick

Written by gary wolfe
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How to Boost the Signal Strength With a Wi-Fi USB Stick
USB Wi-Fi adaptors are a little thicker than USB flash drives. (Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

USB Wi-Fi sticks are easy to use and effective. They can provide any computer with plug-and-play Wi-Fi capability. They encapsulate a small antenna wire in the plastic portion. Since this is the actual antenna, it can be improved by placing it in a more "antenna-like" setting. This can be a question of position, enhancement, connection type or a combination of all three. It is easily possible, however, to boost the signal strength of a Wi-Fi USB stick far beyond its native capacity.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • USB Wi-Fi adaptor
  • USB extension cable
  • Pie pan or wire strainer
  • Glue
  • Silicone caulk
  • Lag nuts or screws
  • Socket wrench

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Position a USB Wi-Fi antenna closer to a window or door. Wi-Fi radio waves are directional, so line-of-sight placement is always best for maximising the signal.

  2. 2

    Connect a USB extension cable to enable positioning the USB Wi-Fi adaptor away from the computer. USB cables are not affected by signal loss as is coaxial cable.

  3. 3

    Test for increased Wi-Fi signal strength using the computer Wi-Fi signal strength indicators.

  4. 4

    Modify a large grape juice can, a pie plate or other parabolic shape to increase the signals received. Cut a section of the item surface through which the USB Wi-Fi adaptor can fit on the wall of the can, or the centre of the parabola. Secure the adaptor with glue or silicone caulk to this reflector.

    How to Boost the Signal Strength With a Wi-Fi USB Stick
    An unused satellite dish can be the best Wi-Fi signal-boosting element. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)
  5. 5

    Mount the reflector on any sort of stand to elevate the antenna. Screw the antenna to an exterior wall, balcony or roof, if possible. Use appropriate wood or concrete screws and a socket wrench..

  6. 6

    Receive increased Wi-Fi signal reach of 200 to 400 per cent.

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