WiFi antenna booster dish
When I'm in my big garage workshop out in the country, I use the WiFi from the people in the house nearby (with permission). But it's a bit of a distance from the house, with some wooden buildings and a hedge in between.
With the metal clad walls of the garage, there's no signal inside, and even on the window sill, the laptop doesn't get a usable signal. So I bought an external WiFi adapter and put that on the window sill. This works, but just barely.
I'm using ping times to measure performance. The stronger the signal, the higher bit-rate encoding the WiFi is able to use, resulting in shorter round trip times.
I didn't need any extra software to do this. I just opened a command prompt and typed:
ping -l 1000 -n 100 192.168.2.1
Where "192.168.2.1" is the IP address of the router, which you can get by running "ipconfig" from the command shell (it will be on the line "Default Gateway")
Having had success with a flat reflector, I figured I'd up the game and try a dish shaped reflector. This worked even better. But the experiment made for a rather precarious arrangement, easily knocked out of place.
The reflector is just a plastic lamp shade from a broken upright lamp, similar to one I used for one of my light stands, but this one was too broken to use even for that. I glued some tinfoil to the inside using UHU stick.
I made a more sturdy mount for the dish and WiFi adapter. I used some old particle board and scraps of 2x4 lumber to put something together.
Below, left: Nailing it together with a brad nailer, because looks don't really matter for this one.
Below, right: Screwing through the dish to attach it.
The adapter's antennas need to be quite far into the dish. To the extent that the dish is parabola-like, the focal point is actually quite deep inside the dish.
This would of course be a great set-up for stealing a neighbour's WiFi, but the dish is not exactly subtle!
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