How To Boost WiFi Signal Strength Using Tin Foil

This blog post is about how to boost WiFi signal strength using a tin foil reflector placed over an antenna.

Tin foil reflectors on a WiFi router

Introduction

This is an update to an old blog post I wrote years ago. I had been using an old Linksys WRT54G version 2 router, but unfortunately the signal strength it was receiving wasn’t as good as I hoped.

Back then, I was using only a 2.4Ghz signal. I had position the router in a good location, and after looking at what channels were in use around me, I chose a channel for the signal that wasn’t as competitive. 

Then I found out you could build simple reflectors called ‘windsurfers’ to help maximise the signal to the antennas of the router I was using. I found I was able to boost the signal between 5% – 10% and this was enough for me.

I used the solution I cover below for a couple of years, before moving onto other solutions. I hope others still find this blog post helpful, and I’ve checked that the link to the template I used, is still live and working.

Warning: This ‘how to’ guide isn’t for children! Using a knife or scissors is required and only an adult who is able to safely use sharp tools should consider building the reflector mentioned below.

2nd Warning: You are responsible for your own actions! Please don’t hold me responsible for anything bad that occurs from following the instructions below.

What you need:

  • Thin cardboard, such as from a cereal box.
  • A printer and a4 paper to print an a4 sheet.
  • Glue suitable for attaching paper and tin foil to cardboard.
  • Tin foil (I used kitchen foil purchased from a supermarket)
  • Adhesive tape, such as sellotape.
  • Utility knife and/or scissors.

How to build the antenna reflector (windsurfer).

  1. Download and print the template from freeantennas.
  2. First cut out the rectangle shaped diagram and glue onto a piece of thin cardboard. I used a cereal box. Then finish cutting until your left with the rectangle on a piece of cardboard.
  3. Then glue this onto tin foil with diagram facing up.
  4. Gently using a utility knife or scissors make the six slits as shown.
  5. Cut out the oval shape and glue onto another piece of thin cardboard.
  6. Cut around the oval shape so that no additional cardboard is beyond the oval shape.
  7. Cut two slots where the crosses are shown, which will later be used to slide over an antenna.
  8. Gently bend the oval piece and slot into the six slits of the rectangle piece. Note, that the rectangle piece will also bend/curve during this.
  9. On the back of the reflector, using adhesive tape secure the pieces that were slotted through the slits.

How I used the reflectors

I then roughly aligned the ‘windsurfer’ in the direction of the access point and used the signal strength indicator on the router (found via logging into the router) to adjust the direction.

It was important that each time I made an adjustment, I moved away for a few moments so that the readings were more accurate. As mentioned above, I received a boost of around 5% to 10%.

Conclusion

I used the method above at two locations, but sadly I had to move on as I changed my primary router to one that I couldn’t mount reflectors on. I hope someone finds this updated blog post helpful.

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