Extends Your Wi-Fi Range

September 19, 2008

Design and Build Your Own Signal-Boosting Reflectors

Fitting a simple, passive, parabolic reflector around your router’s antenna can focus the signal exactly where you want it. Your network will reach farther, and the addition can even improve your network security. Follow along for step-by-step instructions to create your own homemade signal boosters.

For more helpful technology hacks, see "5 Cool Hacks for Your Entertainment Gadgets," "6 Hacks for Your Mobile Gear," and "5 Laptop Upgrades You Can Do Yourself."
Download and Run Parabola Calculator

Download Parabola Calculator to help you figure out the correct antenna shape. Enter a diameter and depth to represent the maximum size of reflector that your router’s antenna(s) can physically accommodate. The software will create a table of points for you to plot onto graph paper.

Plot Your Parabola
Using the data that Parabola Calculator generated, plot your parabolic curve on a sheet of graph paper. Trace this curve onto cardboard or balsa wood.

Cut Out Your Curve

Cut the cardboard or wood along the traced line of your curve. Do this twice. These pieces will become the guides for your reflector.

Cut Some Metal

Next, cut a smooth piece of metal to serve as the reflective surface. The sheet should be long enough to fit neatly along the edge of your curved guides, with a width corresponding to the height of your router’s antenna.

Glue and Mount the Reflector

Cut a small hole into the the focal point of each guide, and glue the reflector onto your guides. Once the glue dries, mount the reflector on your router’s antenna and aim it in the direction that you want your signal to go.

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