Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal With a Beer Can

If you have trouble getting a good wireless connection on your computer in some parts of your home, there may be a simple solution using items you already have lying around the house.

EASY STEPS

1. Thoroughly wash an empty beer or soda can. Don’t leave any residue that might attract bugs or collect dust.

2. Use tinsnips or scissors to cut off all of the bottom of the can.

3. Cut most of the way around the top of the can, leaving only a one or two inch span uncut.

4. Opposite from the span, cut down the side of the can, and fan the aluminum out into a U shape.

5. Slip the pop-top hole over the antenna on your router, turning it so the opening of the U is facing the part of the house where you need increased service.  You can use some Blu-Tack or similar pressure adhesive to hold it into place.

6. If you have two antennae on your router, repeat the process.

Wi-Fi signals can be as much as tripled by using this method.

In this video, YouTube user kipkay explains the process in detail:

How It Works

Wi-Fi signals are sent out using radio waves, just like televisions or mobile phones.

Your wireless router is like a mini radio station. It receives information from the Internet by way of your broadband connection, then it converts the information into a radio signal which is broadcast throughout your house. Your computer and smartphone pick up these waves, just as a radio would, and translate them into the audio waves and visual images that our own senses can understand.

The broadcast is made weaker by distance, interfering waves, or obstacles, just like the waves created when you throw a pebble into a pond.

When the waves are emitted from your router, they radiate out in all directions, growing increasingly dispersed, and therefore weaker, as they travel. The antennae on your router are designed to amplify the broadcast, but the waves are spreading out in every direction.

This homemade aluminum can booster catches the waves heading away from your home, and redirects them back toward your poor signal areas.

With all of the waves moving in the same direction, they can travel further before they weaken to the point where your electronic devices will no longer catch them.

The other problems that can disrupt your clear service may be corrected by relocating the router.

Solid objects such as walls or furniture can slow or stop the radio waves. The extent of the disruption depends upon the density of the object and whether or not it is made of a material that allows the waves to pass through.

Just moving the router so that there are fewer objects between it and your work site may be enough to solve your problem.

Interfering waves are a more complicated situation. Imagine throwing two pebbles into a pond, near one another. The waves from one will alter the strength and course of the waves radiating out from the other.

Any electronic devices operating in your home or nearby with a radio bandwidth similar to that of the router can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal.

Source: zyxel.com

Common devices that could be slowing your service include microwaves, security cameras, Bluetooth, cordless phones and baby monitors.

Additionally, when a large organization, such as a university, sends out a Wi-Fi signal that has been boosted by a commercial antenna in order to reach a wide area and many devices, that signal can cross paths with yours and cause interference.

Have you ever looked at the network selection on your computer and seen that someone else’s network is stronger than your own, even if you are near your own router? Their service is likely reducing the distance over which yours can travel.

Moving your router further from any source of interference might help to increase your signal strength.

Curious History

The name Wi-Fi is a play on the old stereo term “hi-fi” and was coined by a brand-consulting firm hired by a group of corporations now called the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The Alliance felt it needed a catchy name for its service that was more memorable than “IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence.”

They introduced the term to the public with an advertising campaign featuring a meaningless slogan, “The Standard for Wireless Fidelity,” leading many people to believe that “Wi-Fi” stood for “Wireless Fidelity.” In fact, “Wi-Fi” was imagined first, and then they cast about for a phrase with the appropriate letters to promote the term.