Do-It-Yourself Wireless Range Extender

Sooner or later you will find yourself needing a way to get a reliable wireless connection between one part of your house and another such as between your workshop/studio and your living quarters.

After you try the commercial solutions to the problem, I suggest you construct this Do-It-Yourself wireless range extender. Total cost was $8.00 and it allows me to access the Internet through a wireless router that is 200 feet away.

IMG_1200 Sooner or later you will find yourself needing a way to get a reliable wireless connection  between one part of your house and another such as between your workshop/studio and your living quarters.

After you try the commercial solutions to the problem, I suggest you construct this Do-It-Yourself wireless range extender. Total cost was $8.00 and it allows me to access the Internet through a wireless router that is 200 feet away.

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As we add more computers to our arsenal of working gear, it is no longer possible to run CAT 5 cable everywhere you need an internet connection.

If you are like most of us you will try various "wireless range extenders" and will find that most are not worth buying. Some products, like the Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander are so much of a product catastrophe that I had to write a product warning about it.

What does seem to work in many cases is to add a longer antenna to your wireless router. This is a relatively cheap solution and has few drawbacks unless you object to antennas sprouting from the top of cabinets and bookshelves.

This solution only addresses one half of the problem. It does not give you control of the signal strength at the remote computer. When you are trying to reach a wireless router that is 100 feet away in a separate building, you need all the signal gain you can get.
IMG_1212A parabolic reflector can significantly increase the distance over which you can send and receive internet traffic on a wireless link. I came up with a reflector system for $8.00 which allows me to access a wireless router that is 200 feet away and is blocked by trees and undergrowth. The reflector can be attached to a support with the rubber grips and is pointed in the general direction of the wireless router.

The electrical parts of the light socket was removed and the housing was drilled out to receive a .75 inch diameter plastic pipe which was notched to hold the socket end of a USB cable extender. You can see the USB wireless adapter sticking out at the approximate focal point of the reflector.

You can locate the focal point by assembling the reflector and pointing it at the sun. The wireless adaptor should be positioned so that the brightest point falls on the business end of the adaptor. You can make final adjustments by looking at the output of the wireless adaptor management console which will show you the changes on signal strength as you tweak your design and and align the reflector.

IMG_1220 You can buy a USB Wireless adapter to give you wireless connectivity for any computer or laptop. Adding a reflector as shown above will give you the extra coverage that can make your life much easier.

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