Dramatically improve WiFi signal for almost no money

Their form may not be lovely, but they function beautifully.

Linksys WRT54GS with reflectors

Last August I wrote about connecting the LANs (Local Area Networks) in two separate buildings with WiFi (Connect buildings with a wireless bridge). Occasional streaming video dropouts across the WiFi link prompted me to improve the WiFi link’s fade margin by increasing the antennas’ forward gains at both ends of this client’s WiFi link.

I followed the Ez-12 Parabolic Reflector plans and fabricated two 6-inch wide parabolic reflectors for use on the twin-antenna Linksys WRT54GS inside the remote building. The SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) of the WiFi link improved by 5 to 10 dB (decibels). Then I added a 7-inch parabolic reflector to the single antenna on the Netopia router inside the main building. The WiFi link’s SNR increased by another 3 to 6 dB.

The reflectors are flimsy (they’re just made of stiff file folders and aluminum foil) and look slightly comical, but they do work!

So, for maybe 50 cents worth of material, the link’s fade margin improved by 8 to 16 dB. (The decibel scale is logarithmic: a 10 dB improvement is equivalent to multiplying the power by a factor of 10.) How could you ask for anything more?

Assembly note: I made the tabs on the support longer than the template indicates, which allowed me to fold them over against the backside of the reflector. Then I used inch-long paper tape strips to stick each folded tab to the reflector’s backside. Otherwise, my reflectors kept falling apart.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695
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