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Build your own Cantenna – directional WiFi on a budget
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Build your own Cantenna – directional WiFi on a budget

Have you ever been stuck outside of the fixed range of your WiFi signal and wondered what to do? There’s a cheap, easy, and effective solution: The Cantenna! Not only will it score you major geek cred, it’ll solve your issue for pennies on the dollar.

To wit, I was recently stuck in just such a situation. My home network was switched to wireless, and I had just acquired a Wii. Unfortunately our new WiFi router didn’t have the power to ship a signal to my notebook or the Wii, so what was I to do?

After sitting down in the kitchen and researching for a bit I figured I had three options:

The first was to buy a signal booster to hook into the router. This was quickly ruled out, however, as my mother has a rather Luddite approach to technology.

My second option was to buy a wireless repeater. Not only was that extremely expensive, but it would make things easy, and we all know what happens when a project looks easy

By process of elimination, I was whittled down to the cantenna. It sounded fun, different and best of all, cheap to do.

But how to go about it? This required more research. I scoured the series of tubes that is the internet and came across a simple, bare-bones site that explained it plainly. The cantenna is extremely effective with only a small list of parts:

The Parts

  • A metal can. Soup and Pringles cans work best.
  • An N-female chassis mount connector .
  • A pigtail connector cord. Make sure that the type you buy matches your WiFi card’s connector.
  • A few small nuts and bolts.
  • A small length of copper wire.
  • Soldering equipment.

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  1. lemonlime
    lemonlime Awesome project, Brad :)

    Good work!
  2. mammoth Can you send me everything on how to make "the beacon" i am trying to make one for my friend.
  3. ardichoke
    ardichoke Hrmm... thread is 3 years old.... way to zombie it.
  4. Kim M I just got the same Orinoco wireless card that you show here. My question is should the computer recognize it when the card is put in?
  5. Ryder
    Ryder That will depend on your OS and how old the system is. Windows 2000 and above should show that you have "New hardware added".
  6. erichblas2005
    erichblas2005 been there done that.
  7. the_technocrat
    been there done that.

    In 2008. Yeah, we know.

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