Monday, September 22, 2008

Wifi Signal Booster

I'm not going to take any credit for this. But just to show that it worked for me and might be helpful for others. M. Erskine is the one who wrote this great article, and gave a great step by step instruction and even a template to work on. For those who want to skip what I have to say, please click HERE to go to Erskine's guide.

A bit of background of our situation. Here in Malaysia, houses and condominiums (known as apartments in other parts) are made out of concrete and bricks. The design of our condominium unit is not perfect. All telephone and internet jacks are allocated pre-construction and there's no way for you to modify/change the location. Basically, no jacks in the room we intended to turn into my husband's home office, we opt to get a Belkin wireless router. Due to the concrete and the angle, this created a "dead zone" for the wifi signal (as my husband call it) in his home office, having the internet die on you is frustrating at times. On a good day, getting 2 bars out of 4 on this wifi signal indicator, while most of the time it would go down to nil or negative (being sarcastic here >_>)

So, I have been researching online for solutions to this problem. Research lead me to find the famous commercial Cantenna, super expensive Belkin Wifi N models, and even DIY cantenna. This website I found seemed to be the most straight-forward and rational solution. If you've watch Mythbuster, you'll know that there's a "Adam's" complex solution, and "Jamie's" simple solution.

Anyway, Erskine's idea is like Jamie's clearcut solution.

I'm not going to go into details of how to do it step by step, but as Erskine mentioned, I love how you can fabricate this with just about anything that could reflect the wifi signal. I opt to use a cereal box, cut into pieces, some aluminium foil, glue stick, foam double-sided tape, scissors and pen-knife, and some masking tape, you're in business. Take some patience to get the parabolic curve to be as accurate as Erskine's template, that's the optimum effective curvature. We didn't use this software to "measure" the signal gain after adding the homemade booster, his received full (4 bars) wifi signal indicator on his Apple is good enough. \o/ ~ hurray and all that. It worked ok.

So there you have it. Great way to end a weekend. =)

Post DIY learning:
  • The wifi signal booster really helps where hubby is able to close the door to his home office and still able to get good signal
  • The human body obsorbs wifi signal, even with the booster. Basically it's like a great big concrete block so don't stand in front of the direction the booster is facing

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