Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Extend Your Wi-Fi The Easy Way: No Configuration Required

The proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled devices around my home (phones, tablet, games console) finally drove me to doing something about my Wi-Fi reception. Like most people my modem is under a desk in a corner of the house. The Wi-Fi router is beside it, and looks like this:Predictably Wi-Fi reception drops rapidly towards the back of the house. I looked into getting a Wi-Fi Extender like this:

But apparently they can be tricky to configure. I also looked into a second Wi-Fi router, but I assume then you have two Wi-Fi hotspots? And have to configure your devices to connect to both? Icky.

Then something occurred to me. See those 3 antennas on the back of the router? What are they doing exactly? I assume they're all receiving in a spherical (or perhaps conical) space, but seeing as all 3 are stuck under my desk they're not achieving much. I noticed they unscrew easily and you can buy a coaxial cable like this...

...from online stores like rfshop.com.au. Specifications are:

Connector 1RP SMA Plug (Female pin)
Connector 2RP SMA Jack (Male pin)
Cable Type240 series
Length10 metres
Ohms50 ohm (TV coaxial is 75 ohm)

So I ran one of the antenna up into the roof cavity and guess what? Now I get great Wi-Fi reception, even out in the garden! I still have only one Wi-Fi hotspot, and there was no configuration required. A bit unconventional, perhaps, but an idea for all you Do-It-Yourself-ers out there.

Update: I subsequently ran another 10 metre cable through to the front of the house, and it works equally well. I now get above 90% signal strength everywhere in the house.


Event Solutions UK said...

That is actually a great DIY! Very innovative! It sure beats putting repeaters,extenders or even setting up a complex Wireless distribution system. Do you have an idea as to how much the range was extended in terms of percentage?

Richard said...

Thanks for the compliment!

'Extended' may be the wrong word. I don't know much about this sort of thing, so here's what I did:

See how far your WiFi currently extends from the router. Say it's 6 metres. Now run the coaxial cable. If the coaxial cable is 15 metres long, and you put an antenna on the end, you should now have WiFi 21 metres away from the router. However it's not really 'extended' because you may also have created a 'hole' in the WiFi coverage at around 6-9 metres (where one antenna ends and before the other picks up). So your mileage may vary.

I also found it helped to locate the antenna high up the wall, otherwise presumably you are losing some reception under the ground?