Using a beer can to extend Wi-Fi

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 By

Example of a wireless router with cut beer cans attached to the antenna to boost the Wi-Fi signal.

Don't buy a pricy Wi-Fi range extender. Use an aluminum can as a parabolic reflector. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Alexander Andrade/Flickr)

Let’s face it – in the First World, Internet access has become an almost expected accoutrement of modern living. While municipal Wi-Fi has largely failed in the U.S. to date, home Wi-Fi is not uncommon. But here’s the problem – how can you boost the Wi-Fi signal to your bathroom? That’s where the important work gets done. Here’s how using a beer can to extend your Wi-Fi signal can save you money and the extreme heartbreak of network connectivity problems.

You have beer. You want a parabolic reflector

If you have old aluminum soda or beer cans around the house, you can improve your Wi-Fi signal by creating a parabolic reflector that attaches to the antenna of your wireless router. It’s a simple, DIY process that costs much less than purchasing a Wi-Fi range extender or ultra, whiz-bang router with features you don’t need. What you do need are an aluminum can, a utility knife, scissors and adhesive putty. By using the following aluminum foil-free technique for boosting your Wi-Fi signal, you won’t look like one of those tin foil hat types and you won’t have to bust out the soldering iron.

How to boost your Wi-Fi signal with a beer can

First of all, rinse off your aluminum can of choice. You don’t want moisture to run down into your wireless router, and you don’t want ants to pay a visit. Remove the pull tab so that you don’t inadvertently injure yourself. Now you’re ready to draw a line around the base of the can, just above where the bottom caves inward. Cut along the line, leaving a bit of metal behind near the drink hole in order to keep the base attached. Cut opposite to the piece attaching the base, then take the open shell and stick it behind the wireless router antenna with putty adhesive. Now you have a parabolic reflector to improve your Wi-Fi signal.

Other ways to improve your Wi-Fi

Don’t stop at cutting open a used beer can to extend your Wi-Fi. Here are a few more suggestions that do not require additional hardware of software. In fact, it’s all about placement of your wireless router. Just remember, “Location, location, location.”

  • Try to situate your wireless router as high up and centrally as possible, such as on furniture or the upper floor of the structure. This gives the radio waves room to spread laterally and down, maximizing your effective Wi-Fi area
  • Thick walls, steep angles, mirrors, fish tanks and metal can impede a Wi-Fi signal’s progress. Keep a clear path if possible
  • Don’t keep your wireless network components near electronic devices that cause interference, such as microwaves, radios, halogen lamps or cordless phones
  • If possible, change the default signal channel to something other than 6, as this is a common default setting that can introduce interference via your neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal

Kim Kommando on how to extend Wi-Fi with a beer can

Sources

The Chive

Lifehacker

WikiHow

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