How to make a hi-gain WiFi antenna that has wireless n

Written by debbie wash
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How to make a hi-gain WiFi antenna that has wireless n
This wire mesh strainer can be the basis for a hi-gain antenna. (colino image by Renato Francia from Fotolia.com)

A Wi-Fi antenna, by its nature, does not have any transmission speed applying to it. It must be attached in some way to a Wi-Fi transmitter to use the speed benefits of wireless N, or 802.11n. This protocol operates on both the 2.4GHz and the less used but faster 5 GHz bands. By combining a wireless N USB antenna and a receiver for the Wi-Fi radio signals, you can make your own hi-gain Wi-Fi antenna that has wireless N.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wireless N Wi-Fi adaptor
  • Wire mesh strainer
  • Wire cutters
  • Glue
  • Silicone caulk
  • Screws
  • Power screwdriver or drill with screw bit
  • Broom handle

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut a hole in the centre of the wire mesh that is sufficient for the USB wireless N adaptor to fit through. Use a wire cutter or sharp knife.

  2. 2

    Plug the Wi-Fi N adaptor into an open USB port on your computer. Install the CD software that comes with the wireless N adaptor.

  3. 3

    Remove the USB Wi-Fi N adaptor from the computer. Push it through the opening cut in the wire mesh strainer until it is approximately half way through.

  4. 4

    Secure the Wi-Fi adaptor to the mesh strainer with silicone caulk. This is optional, but is recommended if the antenna is to be placed outside.

  5. 5

    Connect a USB extension cable to the USB Wi-Fi adaptor, then connect another USB cable to the USB extension cable. You can create a USB cable length of up to 15 feet with no loss of signal strength.

  6. 6

    Position your antenna. Wi-Fi antennas need a line-of-sight path to a known public access point, as radio waves are very directional.

  7. 7

    Test for Wi-Fi signal strength using your computer's Wi-Fi signal strength indicators. Effective range of these antennas has reached 1.5 miles, well beyond the 300 foot range of USB Wi-Fi adaptors alone.

Tips and warnings

  • Attach the assembled antenna to any sort of stand to elevate it. A wooden broom handle is ideal. Mount the antenna on an exterior wall, balcony or roof if for highest gain possibilities.

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