Our world today is so connected that we are spoiled by our access to the Internet. I have recently repainted a guest room and moved my desktop into this room, and guess what? The WiFi signal strength is atrocious in that part of the house. I made a homemade WiFi range extender in order to boost my reception signal in that room. If you use a USB WiFi adapter this article is for you.
My guest room is one floor and three duct-work filled walls away from my WiFi router. I have read several articles on how to increase the range of your WiFi signal, but most of them provide the same useless information. When I first used my desktop in this room, I found I only received a signal strength of two bars, three bars on occasion. Below three is sub par for what I do on a daily basis. My goal was to increase the signal strength to three or four bars on a regular basis.
This process included some repositioning of my router and use of a homemade WiFi range extender. Most WiFi range extenders can cost upwards of fifty dollars. My increase in signal is based upon making the USB WiFi Adapter a more directional receiver. This sounds complex, but it is very simple to set up. I will show you how to make a homemade Wifi extender with household items.
Boosting WiFi Signal Basics
- Your router should be located centrally to all users.
- Do not surround the router with extra cords or electronics.
- Line of sight works best for a signal, so place the router accordingly.
- Get the router off the ground. Higher is usually better.
- Keep the router away from corners and walls if possible.
- WiFi signals do not like brick, thick walls, or metal.
Homemade WiFi Range Extender
A USB WiFi adapter basically looks for a signal in a circle extending out from itself. When we make the WiFi range extender, we will be making this circle more like an egg so it becomes more focused in a pointed direction.
Click Picture to Enlarge!
You will need the following items, or items similar to these, to build a homemade WiFi range extender for your USB WiFi adapter:
- Small cutters or snips
- Aluminum foil
- A kitchen sifter. Other objects can be used for this as long as they are similar in shape and can be modified as you will see below.
Making your Homemade WiFi Extender
1. Use your cutters or snips to cut a hole into the bottom of the sifter. The hole should be large enough for your adapter, but not too large.
2. Try to cut off any excess wire, and bend the rest down to avoid injury.
3. Make sure your adapter fits in snuggly. Do not leave the adapter in at this point.
4. Pull out a piece of aluminum foil a little larger than would be needed to cover the sifter.
5. Gently push the foil into the half bowl of the sifter making sure the foil reaches the bottom of the sifter and all the sides. The foil will crimple and bunch in some places, don’t worry you can smooth this out after your done. Be sure the sifter is filly covered.
6. Cut off the extra foil.
7. Pinch the foil left over around the rim of the sifter to secure it.
8. Use the scissors to reopen the hole you already made in the sifter.
9. Slide your USB WiFi adapter into the hole. It should be snug so it doesn’t flop around. If it is loose, carefully bend the sifter to hold it better.
10. Feel free to plug your WiFi adapter into the range extender. Angle the WiFi range extender towards your router. I was able to attach mine to the wall with a picture hanger.
I have gained a full bar of signal, and sometimes a bit more, from using this device. As you can see from the pictures, you can use anything that is similar in shape to a sifter to accomplish the same task. I have considered using a trash can, an old plastic bowl, a plastic sifter, a pencil holder and an old bicycle helmet. Use your ingenuity and make one with what you have on hand.
Let me know if this worked for you. Did you find another inexpensive household object to use for the same purpose? Share in the comments.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials.”