Do-it-yourself Wi-Fi extension solutions have been around for as long as Wi-Fi itself. Internet geniuses are using everything from kitchen foil and food strainers to Yagi-style home antennas to expand their Wi-Fi ranges. While there are many ways to customize Your home Wi-Fi system without any additional equipment, there are simple do-it-yourself solutions that can also make a big difference to your surfing experience.

Before you start, make sure you check if you have any other issues. with your Wi-Fi connection.

Today we will be building a cheap Waveguide Wi-Fi Extender using the simplest possible design.

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna out of Pringles.

Why would you want to do something like this? Many people use them to extend their Wi-Fi signal to a hard-to-reach part of the house, or even extend their Wi-Fi to the bottom of the garden. They can also be very useful for people who rely on public Internet access. With the right settings, you can connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. much further than usual. Perfect for when your own internet is out of the house and you want to keep surfing in your slippers!

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

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna out of Pringles Can Ywn 670

  • 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.

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna from the Pringles Can 670 line

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.

Probe manufacturing

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.

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna out of Pringles Can solder a probe

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!

How to Make a Wi-Fi Antenna from Pringles Can Probe Annotations 670

Measure carefully to the length indicated in your calculations and cut the probe to the correct length.

making holes

Now that we have the probe and N-connector, we need to place them in the right place on the jar. For the coffee can diameter, we need our probe to be positioned exactly 53.3mm from the bottom of the can. Once again, this should be as accurate as possible, so take your time!

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna from Pringles can measure the bottom of the probe 670

It is also worth noting that this measurement should be taken from the bottom of the can, not from the rib around the bottom.

Once you have an accurate measurement, it’s time to cut the hole. I used a drill and then an angle grinder on my rotary tool — which was gentle to say the least! Just to test, I also made one using just a screwdriver to punch a hole and needle nose pliers to slowly bend it outward until it reaches the correct diameter. None of these methods are perfect and I would recommend using a step drill to make this part easier. Remember: you’re cutting metal, and metal is heavier than eyes, so maybe wear something to cover it.

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna out of Pringles Can dremel spark 670

Whichever method you use, measure the diameter of the N-type connector with the nut removed and make the hole slightly larger so that the N connector can slide. I found myself making a slightly too small hole, which I then enlarged using the file worked well. At this point, I would also recommend filling in any sharp edges on the top of the jar, as you will need to stick your hand in there to tighten it.

You should now be able to install the connector by pushing it in and attaching the nut from the inside. Be careful while doing this! I managed to cut my hand twice on the inside of a coffee can. I guess someone forgot to take his own advice with posting.

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna from a Pringles Can inside a 670

Putting it all together

Now that the jar itself is finished, we need a way to connect it to our computer or router in order to take advantage of it.

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna from a Pringles Can and pgtail 670 adapter
To connect it to your computer, insert the UBS Wi-Fi adapter and install its driver. Once this is done, remove the antenna that comes with the adapter by unscrewing it and attach the smaller end of the connector instead. Attach the other end of the pigtail to the protruding N-type connector.

This is it! You did it!

To test this, take your computer to a place where the Wi-Fi signal is usually very weak, and point the antenna in the direction where the Wi-Fi signal is coming from. Where possible it is best to see a line of sight, although I have found that the signal will be greatly amplified even if directed through the thick walls of the old apartment building I live in. You will need to make sure you are using your Wi-Fi adapter — which you can change in Network and Sharing Center -> Adapter Settings .

You may find that you get a better signal when the probe is pointing sideways rather than straight — if you see antennas on the router you’re connecting to, try mimicking their orientation for best results.

Many people connect their cantennas to tripods to get better control over direction and orientation, in this case a little Macgyvering with zip ties and an old plastic pot did the job perfectly!

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna out of Pringles Can can zipties 670

I tested the design of both coffee and food cans and both increased my Wi-Fi significantly. Gergory Rehm of took part in the «Homegrown Antenna Shootout» testing various designs, see the results here!

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna from Pringles Can cantenna graph2

I used a free software called Homedale to measure the strength of the Wi-Fi signals I was getting, in both cases you can see that the cantennas (the blue line extends beyond the top of the graph) give a significantly higher signal compared to the internal Wi-Fi Fi laptop receiver (yellow line). Readings from the adapter list page in the software show an increase of about 20 dBm on average.

Even though the coffee bean cantina is still not optimally sized, it works well as a performance enhancer, and with food able to work well in tight spaces, I’m looking forward to trying them out in a wider range.

In many situations this will be the difference between intermittent, near unusable internet and a stable usable connection. If you need to increase the distance between your computer and the cantina, I would recommend using a USB extension cable.

Connecting to a router

Another approach is to connect a cantenna to your router to amplify the signal from the source. By pointing the transmit antenna from your router to the receive antenna on your computer, you can greatly increase your range.

This is ideal if you want to route your Wi-Fi signal to an outbuilding or have your garden completely covered. You can even use it to share your connection to a neighbor’s house if you’re feeling like a neighbor! However, it is worth noting that this gain will be directional, depending on the orientation of the jar, and while it will help a lot in one direction, it can limit signal strength in other areas.

Many routers have antennas attached to them that match the RP-SMA side of our pigtail, although you may find that you’ll need to update your router’s firmware to get the most out of this by boosting the signal it provides. However, it’s worth doing regardless of the fact that you can expect a significant performance boost from this update alone. For a guide on how to recharge your router, see this detailed guide.

You may find that your router does not have an RP-SMA connector. If so, you have two options.

First, you can try adding it yourself. YouTube user Mix Bag has a video in which we talk about adding a connector to their standard Virgin Media Super Hub.

This method is a bit complicated and may vary from router to router. If that seems a bit out of the ordinary, another incredibly easy way to boost your Wi-Fi signal is to create a parabolic reflector to place behind it and focus the signal.

There are many variations of this, but Instructables user MarkYu has a quick and easy guide to building one — the only change you need to make to the build is to place the reflector behind the router without the antennas.

How to make a Wi-Fi antenna out of Pringles can MarkYu Instructables 670
Image Credit: MarkYu via

While there are many approaches to improve Wi-Fi range, these builds are a quick and easy way to improve it without breaking the bank.

Have you built Kantenna in the past? Have you come up with your own crazy projects to boost your Wi-Fi signals? Let us know in the comments section below!

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