WiFi Antennas: Getting Creative

We teach in our seminars that line-of-sight is very important to making a good WiFi connection.  That’s one of the main reason that we don’t recommend built-in WiFi adapters or even the PC card type of adapter.  There is no way with those to move them around for the best signal and connection.  We recommend USB type adapters because they’re on a wire and you can move them around.

Here’s the little USB adapter/antenna that I use.  Notice that it is taped to the window.  This photo was taken at an RV park in Pennsylvania.  I remember that when I had the adapter sitting on my desk, I couldn’t make a connection.  It’s only a difference of about 8 inches, but when I taped it to the window I had a solid connection for the whole 3 days we were there.

USB in window

In this next picture, they took a simple little USB adapter/antenna and added a USB extension cable of about 15 feet so they could get it outside and up high.  They taped it to a pole and attached the pole to their RV.  To keep it from getting wet, they cut the top off a plastic soda bottle and placed it over the adapter!  This way it had line-of-sight over their neighboring coaches to the WiFi access point.  Worked pretty good!

USB on pole

Here’s an especially ingenious one.  If you think, ‘that looks like a kitchen wok’, you’d be right!  That’s exactly what it is.  And, attached to the center of the wok, is a standard little USB adapter in a plastic bag.  I believe he learned how to set up the ‘wok antenna’ at this website.  I especially like how he mounted it on top of his TV antenna.  Gets it up nice and high, and allows him to change the direction from inside by turning the TV antenna.

Wok Antenna

Then there’s the ever-popular ‘pringles can’ antenna.  Or, if you don’t fancy building it yourself, after eating a whole can of chips, you can buy the ‘Cantenna’.  Like the one below.  Notice that you need a card or other device (a bridge) to plug it into however.  The cantenna does not stand on it’s own as adapter/antenna.  It is just the antenna, you still need an adapter that will accept and external antenna.


My very favorite is the ‘antenna-head’.  That true geek who doesn’t go anywhere without his laptop and has an antenna growing out of his head.  Recognize this guy?

Antenna head.JPG

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2 Responses to WiFi Antennas: Getting Creative

  1. Al says:

    Hello Chris and Jim:

    This is not a comment, but a request. In your photo’s of wi-fi gadgets and antennas, there
    is no identification of the equipment shown. I am interested finding out what make and
    model number some of your extention type USB antennas are. In particular the gray box with
    the bent arm on the side shown in this posting, and the stick antenna shown elsewhere on
    your site.

    Great sites and excellent information for us newbies.


  2. chris says:

    The ‘gray box with the bent arm’ antenna is a Microsoft product that is not being produced any more. The ‘stick antenna’ I’m not sure which one you are referring to – I think it’s the ‘tree blaster’ which you can find at can find here: http://www.wirelessnetworkproducts.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=735. It is mounted on a simple telescoping scrub brush pole from Walmart.

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