Today we will be building a cheap Waveguide Wi-Fi Extender using the simplest possible design.
While there are many variations of this type of build, today we are aiming for value for money. This guide should help you quickly build your own range extending Wi-Fi antenna.
One of the most popular variations of this practice is known as the Pringles can antenna, or short cantenna , which uses both a «probe» waveguide design and a Yagi-style antenna to boost signal reception from your computer or increase the range of your antenna. router.
While these antennas were an amazing DIY feat for their time, they had a few fundamental flaws. The general consensus is that a jar with an internal diameter between 76mm and 101mm is best, with 92mm being the sweet spot. Holding it at the 72mm inner diameter makes the Pringles jar too thin. To be effective, it must be over a meter long. In addition, there are conflicting opinions as to whether the Yagi collector design is more efficient than the well-proportioned waveguide design.
By switching the type we can use, we’ll create a waveguide antenna that outperforms the Pringles jar and also requires a lot less work to do.
You will need
- Metal can — as close as possible to a diameter of 92 mm and a height of 147 mm, although variations are possible!
- Type N jack — Available at many electronics stores or Amazon
- A small piece of 12 gauge copper wire (about 2mm thick) to use as an air probe — I pulled some out of an old socket.
- Male RP-SMA and N-type connector — also known as pigtail connector. While it is possible to do it yourself, many companies provide these ahead of time. I found mine at my local hobby electronics store, but they are also available on Amazon.
- Wi-Fi USB adapter with detachable antenna — All of these will work fine as long as the antenna can be removed.
- Soldering iron and some solder
- wire cutters
- File to file sharp edges
- A drill for making a hole in a can — preferably with a stepped chisel.
Choosing Your Bank
The first decision to make is which view to use. The size of our choice is important because there are fundamental given sizes that allow the cantenna to work. Look out for the 92mm cans, which are about 147mm long, though you might find something exactly that size hard to find!
It’s time to head to the roulette shops and see what you can find.
You can use this tool to calculate if the jars you collect will be effective. An important part to pay attention to after calculating the diameter is the internal length. The closer you get to the dimensions of the calculator, the better your cantana will work.
I found that the coffee can (88mm diameter) and the large food can (101mm) were closer to the right size. The coffee can was a bit short in length, but the 2cm it lacks is still quite a difference from the 26cm length a Pringles can can bring. Food can reach nearly perfect sizes, although the edges are ribbed, which will affect its performance.
I decided to turn both cans into cantennas — this guide covers the construction of a coffee can, although the design is the same for them, only with different spacing as noted above in the calculation tool.
The probe is a small piece of copper wire that sticks out in the middle of our jar. We will be attaching this probe to the N-type socket using our soldering iron. Using the same tool as above, we can see that for the diameter of my coffee can, we need a probe length of 30.7mm.
To start, I would suggest cutting off a slightly large piece of wire and soldering it into place inside the copper connector at the top of the connector.
The length of this probe is very important — and you need to be sure to measure the distance from the bottom of the brass connector to where the tip of the probe will be. Even a millimeter from here and your Cantenna may not work as well as it could!
Measure carefully to the length indicated in your calculations and cut the probe to the correct length.