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Picture of Uni-Directional WIFI Range Extender
Easily receive WIFI signals from far away using a standard USB WIFI adaptor and a bit of ingenuity. This Simple idea requires no modifications to a USB WIFI adaptor or your computer. A simple way to increase the signal strength and range of your WIFI. Plus it works with all USB WIFI adaptors

Step 1: Tools and Parts Needed

Picture of Tools and Parts Needed
You need only a few parts for this project and they all are pretty cheap except for the USB WIFI adaptor. ( I got mine on sale for $10, just check the ads)

1 - Metal Strainer/Steamer
1 - USB WIFI Adaptor
1 - USB Extension Cable (I chose a 10ft long)
½” Drill Bit (I like to use stepper bits for metal)
Gorilla Glue (Epoxy works well too)
2 - Zip Ties
calcot25 days ago
Hi! I hate to appear stupid, but there's no way around it thistime...can
this setup be used with a wireless router? I'd reallyappreciate some
help with getting things right the first time! Thanx!

there are numerous ways to improve your WiFi signal, but the final result depends heavily on your environment.

some tips that may work:

1. try amplifier -- it can be expensive as specialized directional antenna, or cheap as a soda can.

2. change channel settings -- the 2.4Ghz WiFi(802.11 b/g/n) only has 3 non-overlapping channels, set your channel to one of 1/6/11 will help reduce the chance of overlapping channels.

3. regularly scan your environment -- in scan result, you will see how many networks are around you, and the signal strength, channels they running etc. Then you can avoid running a similar network, and find a relatively *clean* environment

these tips sounds a bit *geeky*, but there are a lot of tools available to ease the processing. For example,WiFi Manager ( ), an Android App, is able to do the scanning, and show result in an intuitive graphic way

docman1001 year ago
Can you use this for the phone (like it's plugged in to the laptop but also brings in wifi for the phone?)

uncfan4 years ago
Would this help boost the signal to my smart tv?
astral_mage5 years ago

haave u you check the mineral deposit in an around yr home at all. also u could have rf signals the are interfering with yr wifi. and or some 1 else is hooging yr band with on you. also check 4 competing wifi in an around yr home as well.

astral_mage5 years ago

haave u you check the mineral deposit in an around yr home at all. also u could have rf signals the are interfering with yr wifi. and or some 1 else is hooging yr band with on you. also check 4 competing wifi in an around yr home as well.

ladams365 years ago
Hi, I've got a ? About cell phone service. We live just on the edge of the Verizon tower range would something like this help with cell service? Any suggestions welcomed and thanks!
Naticris5 years ago

I bought the adapter and when I connected to the laptop, didn't increased the signal strength. I used to have one wireless icon in the tray of my laptop, now I have #1 and #2 icons, the strength is the same. The connection comes and goes. How this can improve the strength and not show the two icons? Thank you for any help

alesserivy6 years ago
Good instructable, it's always good to see peoples diy projects, everyone's unique way of looking at a problem, and implementing a solution.

This ones my personal favorite. Picking up signals from hundreds of feet away is cool. Picking up wifi from a couple miles out.


helllordkb7 years ago
Quick tip on this. The dish strainer is acting as a mirror/focusing the rf single for the usb wifi receiver, however since sits not actually connected to the antenna in the usb adaptor you only get some benefit. Some usb adaptors have an external antenna connector. They are usually RP-SMA, RP for reverse polarity, so the matching connector on the antenna you want to connect it to will need RP-SMA as well, unless you have an antenna wire to connect them with different types of connectors.
fivefingers10 years ago
this is amazing. but i was just wondering if this would work with a home wireless router setup. also, i want to know if you need to put the satellite with the wireless USB adapter near the window to increase reception.
if your router has a removable antena then yes you can (in theory). if you can find a matching cable for the attachment for your antena, you can use it instead of the usb extender and have the original antena where the usb thing plugged in on the other side of the dish. i might not be making any sense so ill try a makeshift diagram

l router l=------cable------(---- antena
Quick note here. The longer your antenna wire, the more noise you can introduce into the signal. And its alot easier using moving the router closer to the antenna and using longer ethernet cables then it is to filter out the noise. In addition even the antenna connectors can be noisy. you can get noise resistance or shielded antenna wire but it only does so much.
edrichhans8 years ago
can i ask what the zipties is for??

Looking at the photo, you can see two small loops at the sides where the zip-ties are laced through the holes at the edges of two separate petals of the strainer. The effect is to lock the strainer into an open position.

In my experiments I found paper clips to be more convenient because I could remove them to close the strainer for travel.

Also, if need be, you can also use the zip-ties/paper clips to lock the shape of the dish into a different parabolic shape which may better focus the "hotspot" of the signal for a particular wifi adapter.

Remember, the strainer used as a parabolic focusing device can also be used to increase the signal of a bluetooth device or a cellular phone, so the adjustable aspect of the parabolic shape of the strainer makes for some good experiments.

I disagree with hard-mounting the USB cable of the wifi adapter to the center of the strainer. Instead the hole in the center strainer should be based on the width of the wifi adapter, or even better, based on a small piece of plastic tubing which the adapter can snuggly slide back and forth in.

How one would make the hole is up to the individual and the tools at hand, but making four cuts with a pair of tin snips and carefully bending the pie-shaped pieces with pliers to hold either the adapter or a two inch long plastic tube to mount the adapter into is not rocket science.

Not only does this allow for the adapter to be tuned for best signal strength, it also makes the unit very portable and easily dis-assembled, and preserves the wifi adapter and its USB cable in their original condition for other applications.

Note you can do this with a female usb adaptor. Make it so it would fit in the center so both the adaptor and cable and be removed. Also you it would not damage either end.
zeebov97 years ago
Here's a cheap and easy build for great wifi reception! (see the link for a bi-quad antenna, tuned just for WiFi signal frequencies)

An EXCELLENT reference; simple yet precisely detailed:

(Great pictures and illustrations along with pretty solid testing)
FrozenIce7 years ago
real cool :) but does this make ur wifi signal larger or will it make how much ur computer recieves more?
tc998hot7 years ago
WiFi Signal Amplifier Booster Manufacturers
lvraider37 years ago
Would you think something as simple as a soup can would work? I just was to be able to pick up reception a few hundred yards so I don't need something so strong. I'm pretty sure it would not have as much range as the dish-like strainer but would it still work? I don't know if the cylinder shape would affect the range or reception compared to that of a dish shape. Great Instructable!
Only thing missing is the drivers to make it work on Linux systems. I can plug the usb in all day but without the driver to recognize it, it don't want to work...... Searching for drivers I constantly find ways to build the antenna, but no instructions on how to make it work....
94todd7 years ago
lol, is that a pampered chef strainer?
kaZantipman7 years ago
It's funny how did you make wifi extender from all this tools :)
I think it would be easier to buy adapter for example from wireless adapter reviews website. It's only cost 10-20$
That would defeat the purpose of this site. also, those cheap little omnidirectional boosters aren't nearly as strong as a cheaper, high end usb wifi adapter with a mono directional wave guide. One guy made a wifi connection from 128 miles away using a 12 foot dish. This should get you at least two miles.
wilgubeast8 years ago
Even a few years later, this project is still awesome. Thanks for sharing!
kazefal8 years ago
does it work???
mrob kazefal8 years ago
I just did what you said but used a pringles can an duct tape no drilling. I got internet now. I'm on it now. No signal before.
rubish its not free so tipe how to bulid a wifi hotspot that wifi is 100% free
shadow47428 years ago
Wouldn't you have to find where to parabolic's focus is instead of just randomly guessing as to where it is?
It would maximize your reception to have the adapter right at the focus of the parabola but since this instructable uses a strainer you should be able to adjust the shape of the parabola instead. This way you can guess and check rather than doing any math. Not that there's anything wrong with math.
kaZantipman8 years ago
You can buy very powerful WIFI usb adapter for less then 15$.
My favorite is Alfa AWU

You can find various reviews of best usb adapters here
lukeford8 years ago
thank you i have been looking for that for a while now i have been seeing it around the internet
ourmoneypit9 years ago
This is a great 'ible.  If I had only seen this a year ago, I wouldn't have sent that old satellite dish to the scrapyard...

We regularly spend time at our cottage where we are internet-less.  As the crow flies, we are probably only about 1 km from an unsecured wifi network, but it is 10 minutes over rough roads, and it would be kinda obvious if we just parked outside.  We also have an antenna tower on that side of the house doing nothing, since we have satellite. 

Since I have a USB wifi adapter that's been sitting in a drawer doing nothing, I am definitely going to give this a try.  I would be willing to climb partway up the tower with my laptop to connect to the 'net occasionally to be able to download weather forecasts and download/upload e-mail when we're there for longer spells.  If it works, I'll post back with firmer data!  Wish me luck!
try making an Cantenna out of a 46 oz. juice can.
if the probe making & construction is troublesome & it is.
teh simpler way is to
just take the can & measure 1.24" from the cans rear. cut a slot your existing ubs donagal antenna fits tightly into. shove it up inside an 1" to 1.3".
you will need a short usb extender cable.
play with it to find the HOTSPOT. aim the can & you will be amazed at the improved signal!!! cost of a can of juice.
I have made several, gave to friends .
Mr steve
jb05799 years ago
I am dumb. Not in the literal sense, as my auditory and vocal capabilitites are abundantly adequate (even too adequate at times). I have a problem which I have ennumerated to hundreds of people who haven't been able to help, so I am going to try to posthere in hopes one of you kind folks'll help me. I w ill laud the person who can help!! I bought my mother DSL so the hotspot is at her house with a wifi capability, and we live about 200 ft apart. But my Sony Vaio VGN-NW310F only gets 1 bar - if that. So the first thing I bought was a Hawking HWUN3 high gain antenna that just unput into my USB. Didn't work - if anything it was worse, plus - their customer service at Hawking Technology is absolutley intolerably, insanely, inadequately, pitiful. So I returned it. It took them 5 minutes to charge my credit card when i bought it, and a month and a half to refund it - but i digress...... The Westell 327w router from the phone company had a puny antenna on it so i upgraded the antenna to a beefier Lynksys 7dBi high gain antenna hoping that I could improve from 1 wifi bar to at least 3. Didn't happen. I get 2 sometimes now, but rarely. The antenna was like $40 which is fine if further modifications suggested here will work in conjunction with it to solve the issue. Actually, the new Lynksys antenna ( model HGA7S) seems to be a good unit! Question is this...what can i buy, make, install, change, or whatever on a decent budget that will get me a better signal. I am willing to mount something outside, drill a hole in the house and run a USB cable inside if i have to - whatever is necessary. I did look at this: But it just doesn't seem adequate - unless there are people out there whi will testify that it works well... As far as line of sight goes - nope. There's a garage 'tween us, however, remember, I still get 2 bars (sometimes) with the new, beefy antenna on the router/modem thingy, AND, when the laptop was out of the boxand with the old puny antenna on the router I STILL got 1 or soemtimes 2 bars - even with no "clear" line of sight. If someone could please help I'd love you forever. Preferably, I'd love you to email me as it is easier for me to retrieve responses that way... it's (and that's a ZERO after the 'b', not the letter o). Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. i am a disabled vet and this laptop is one of the only things i have left - plus it's supposed to run med equipment - IF I CAN GET A DAMN SIGNAL! Someone, Jim 218-256-1135 cell 218-566-1135 home
shortw jb05796 years ago
I do not know much about a DSL system, since I have cable internet.
Does the DSL have a router or does your mother have a router with the DSL system. I you can not send the signal via air or wireless, would you consider a wired system?
A Ethernet cable is able to carry the internet signal for 100 meters or about 330 feet without loss. You would need a router at your mothers house. Use one ethernet cable for your mothers system. Then use another ethernet cable from the router at your mothers house and run it to your place. Put the cable a few inches below ground, if you have to gross a driveway etc.put the cable in an electrical conduit so it does not get damaged.
There maybe an other option for wireless connections. Use of two external yagi antennas, one at your mothers house and one at your place. Something like that
Just google yagi antenna for wifi.
You would need to mount it on a pole outside both house, the higher the better, Do it at your mother's place as well your place. Aim the antenna  from your mother's place toward your place and vise versa.
Remember those yagi antennas are very directional so aiming must be exact to get the best signal.
Hope this helps.
Slim49 jb05798 years ago
you need a directional antenna.
go here:
good directions, I have made 6 of these biQuads. any metal will make a good back plate.
you need to get a reverse sma antemma extender cable, cut off the connector not needed & solder its end in the biquad. I use one on the distant computer to bump the signal up 3 bars. the garage is not much an issue.
My hawking tech usb antenna has a removal antenna. I just screw in the biquad & aim.
your router may have a larger connector, so buy the cable & solder it in.
teh biquad will boost singals thru the wall & thru a window is steller!
I have made ALL the various antennas. the single Bi-Quad is my Fav!
Mr Steve
YukonM jb05799 years ago
Jim, You have an interesting problem but you should be able to handle it. Have you tried sitting on the roof of the garage with your laptop? If that works then try mounting the Lynksys antenna on the roof of the garage and running some coaxial cable to it Do it temporarily with duct tape and whatever else you need to see if both you and your mother can connect to it. If you have only 200 ft between your computer and the router thenit seems to me that you should be able to connect to it without expensive modifications.
I JUST got a strainer from my mom two weeks ago! Now I have something to do with it! Oooh, this is gonna be fun!
dwarren-18 years ago
that is awesome, im gonna go get a strainer and try it out.......wait a sec, I already got 2 WiFi networks at home. ill try it out anyway
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