Wednesday, July 16, 2008

DIY WIFI solutions

You can ask anyone who has known me for any length of time... I am a Do-It-Yourself-er, from way back. Too often that DIY approach can't easily be applied to computers, but I love it when it can! I love it when I can spend a little time and make a difference and have the satisfaction of creating something, and save some money at the same time.

Paper Antenna Cutout Pattern

First, a big disclaimer; I didn't think of any of this stuff and I haven't even tried it, but I did look it all up by myself! Basically I was researching ways to boost the signal of the wireless network at my house, and I came across these sites that either A) talk about DIY methods of directing a signal using ordinary household materials, or B) create an antenna on the cheap and saving tons of money.

Second disclaimer: This site is in no way affiliated with McGyver, nor the A-Team, for that matter. [note: If you can find any tie-in with Bay Watch, please let me know, because that would ROCK!]

Free WIFI Booster

Uni-Directional WIFI Range Extender made from a stainless steel kitchen steamer utensil
Click Here

DIY Antenna

DIY WIFI Antenna made from a fishing rod and a common kitchen tool Click Here

Excerpt from the site:

"a parabolic reflector antenna. You can whip one together using an old shoe box, tape and some aluminum foil in about 30 minutes, and it will double or triple the range (in a single direction) of just about any wireless access point with an external stick antenna. It works by simply creating a large surface area that the antenna uses to receive and transmit signals.First, cut two parabolic curves from cardboard, and cut a hole at the focal point of each just big enough to fit over your access point´s antenna. These curves keep the reflector in its proper shape. Next, cut a piece of cardboard roughly nine inches square, and cover one side with aluminum foil. Shape the square sheet over the two curved pieces, foil facing in, and tape everything together. Try to get the reflector to fit to the parabolic curve closely, as deviations of even a quarter of an inch can reduce its effectiveness. Finally, slide the completed apparatus over your access point´s stick antenna."

Apparently this guy, Stan, originated the DIY antenna movement. His site is Here. There are a lot of links and other resource information on Stan's page, so check it out.

Hopefully this was as new and eye-opening to you as it was to me. I had no idea you could boost the signal using, basically tin foil, nor did I ever imagine that on could create a powerful antenna with a lot of time, a wok, and some wire (okay, I'm over-simplifying, but not much!) I can already imagine the look on my wife's face as I gather the random pieces and sequester myself in the garage at my workbench to give this a try. If you try this, let me know how you make out.