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Wi-Fi has completely changed the way we browse the net and use the internet in our day to day life. The complete comfort of accessing internet at better speeds is achieved through Wi-Fi networks.

This article explains how to make a WiFi antenna out of a Pringles can, which you can use to boost your Wi-Fi network speeds.

Here is the procedure :

What is Cantenna?

In order to boost your Wi-Fi internet network speed, you need to make an arrangement and fix it on the roof of your home. This equipment is built with the help of tin cans and it acts like an antenna. Thus, it is called a “˜Can’tenna.

Here are a few advantages that you can get by installing a cantenna on your roof top.

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  • As it acts like an extra antenna, the range of your Wi-Fi network also increases, thus enabling more data transfer speeds and more mobility.
  • It is proven that cantennas have more gain than the normal commercial antennas.
  • Automatically detects Wi-Fi hot spots.
  • Building one such antenna is really cheap and affordable.

A cantenna is very much essential if you love mobility. Arranging a cantenna helps you to connect to the internet on your PC, laptop or Wi-Fi-enabled mobile handsets without the need for any wires. The speed at which you can access the internet is also reliable. You can play online role-playing games which would otherwise not be possible on any other modes of wireless connectivity options like GPRS.

To add up spice, building your own antenna with the helps of wires and getting connected to the internet will increase your reputation among your group of friends and you can enjoy the privilege of getting called a geek.

How to Make a WiFi Antenna: Components needed!

Don’t get too excited and be sure that you get all the components mentioned below before starting to build one. Constructing a Cantenna is very easy provided you have all the required material with you ready. Get the following components before you start.

  • Empty Pringles potato chips can.
  • The N-type female connector
  • The N-type connector from the back
  • RP-SMA male connector components

The above components can be obtained from any electronics spare parts shop or a radio repair shop.  You also require the following components:

  • A wire cutter
  • A small drill to make a hole or two.
  • A solder and simple skills to efficiently make the soldering.


Follow the steps that are illustrated below, which do not take you more than 30 minutes.

  • After consuming all the chips, rinse the empty tin with water and dry it clean.

how to make a wifi antenna

From the bottom side of the empty tin, measure the length of 3 3/8 inches and carefully drill a small hole such that the N type female connector can get in.

  • Solder one end of the RG cable to the N type female connector. Here we will learn to make the special cable called a pig-tail.

how to make a wifi antenna

RG cable is a co-axial cable and the inner material is a conductor. This has to be inserted to the protruding metal whereas the protective shield (insulating material) has to be soldered to the body.

The other end of the RG cable has to be soldered to the SMA male connector. The small male pin has to be soldered to the inner conductor of the cable and then it is carefully inserted through the hole of the connector.

That is the end of the construction of the pig-tail.

  • Solder gauge 12 copper wire of sufficient length to the N type connector.

homemade wifi antenna

  • Place the entire assembly on the tin can. The SMA connector has to be arranged in such a way that it passes through the top hole of the tin. The resulting structure can be seen in the image below.

how to build wifi antenna

  • This arrangement should be dropped down inside until the center along the length of the can. Carefully pull the extra cable and cut it off.
  • You can fix the arrangement tight with the help of a few screws if needed. Put back the cable. Now, the reflector is ready.
  • Fix a nut to the one end of the metal rod and hold the rod in such a way that the nut points the ground down.
  • As shown in the picture, arrange a lid and slide it down along the rod until it touches the nut. Also, drop in 3 washers to the middle of the rod. In case the diameter of the washers is larger than the inner rod, then take 4 other pieces of hollow rod and arrange them one after the another with the washers in between. This way, the washers get arranged well as shown below.

homemade wifi antenna

how to build wifi antenna

Now, along with two other washers, insert a hollow insulating material. Even a thin plastic material is sufficient for this.

  • Now, it can be easily mounted.  Close the lid of the chips can back with the rod hanging inside. Precaution has to be taken to see that the inner rod does not touch the walls of the copper filament that was previously soldered to the N-type connector.
  • Congratulations! Your new Wi-Fi antenna is ready to get tested.

Desktop users with an external WLAN card can start finding the new method working for them with no other hassle. But on a laptop that has an inbuilt Wi-Fi system?

You need to do a little more hacks to enjoy the new power of the existing Wi-Fi network on your laptop. On the lower side of the laptop, you can find a small cover. Open it and replace the existing cables with your own. But be sure and think twice about what you are doing because you may void the warranty.

Process of testing:

The antenna that you have made is called a Yagi antenna. These are highly directional and have very high gain. Due to their high directional properties, they also have high range. Now, to set up the connection and start using the internet, aim slightly to the left or right of the receiver of your neighbor and carefully adjust your antenna by rotating it slightly to receive the best gain.

If the antenna is left out in the open sky, then you need to take care of its protection from the weather. Place the arrangement in a PVC pipe so that it doesn’t get rusted.

Have you managed to build an antenna like this? Do you have other techniques on how to make a WiFi antenna?   Having trouble making your own?   Leave a comment and we’ll try and help you out.

  1. Mack
    March 10, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    This is not a Yagi. A Yagi is a vertically or horizontally polarized dipole with non-driven elements (reflectors and directors) in back and in front of the driven element. Like this, a Yagi is a directional antenna, but they are two different types.

  2. joshua
    February 23, 2015 at 2:32 am

    Can I substitute our old antenna wire?

  3. Kirk G
    January 27, 2015 at 3:47 am

    This article also overlooks the issues of locked/protected wifi accounts at the neighbors. True, you might boost the signal you receive, but unless you have the key, their system is locked to you. Forgot to mention that, didn't you?

    • justbry
      October 16, 2016 at 6:22 am

      It goes without saying doesn't it?

  4. kabukicho2001
    December 7, 2009 at 10:16 am

    THis recipe is incomplete. For Yagui antenna we need to calculate distance and size of elements: Reflector, drive and directors.

  5. Juan
    September 8, 2009 at 11:20 am

    pardon my ignorance, but will this work with an aircard from a cell phone carrier? Mine has a place to plug an external antenna. Novatel USB727

    • dabj01
      October 9, 2009 at 3:41 pm

      The method of a a wavelength guide does work for an air-card, however the sizes and placements are different. In addition you'd have to find out where to point it, which you could do through experimentation.

      There are air-card antennas available for purchase and there may be a reason none of them are wavelength guide antennas.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    its realy works? nice dude

  7. Gary
    August 21, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Awful directions - they make no sense to the non-geeks out there that simply need a signal boost to function. Your equipment list is so incomplete it is ridiculous. Why not try again and be clear - for example, instead of RG cable whicj I have never heard of, why not just say coaxial cable which everyone knows about. When you explain "This has to be inserted to the protruding metal whereas the protective shield (insulating material) has to be soldered to the body." what protruding metal and what body? Try to be clear and maybe I could even build this thing.

  8. Ted
    August 17, 2009 at 8:55 am

    I am guessing this idea came from the Burn Notice episode where he used the cantenna or is just another random thought process out there.

  9. Tim
    August 16, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    I agree too.. This is a very very very old idea with lots and lots of better tutorials.

    The author does not seem to show his full working model. I also feel that he has used images from other websites as I remember seeing oe of the image in other website.

    how does cantenna "Automatically detects Wi-Fi hot spots." ??

  10. Sirpop
    August 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks for the info. I first heard of a cantenna this summer. I've been around a looong time and am still learning new things.

  11. jradio
    August 14, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I've got to agree with the others, this idea has been done to death.

  12. PaulD
    August 14, 2009 at 11:06 am

    This article caught my attention and it sounds interesting, but what I don't understand is why I would want to do this. Is this for poaching someone else's WiFi signal? For sharing mine with the neighborhood? You seemingly have provided a solution without clearly stating what problem you are solving.

    • dabj01
      October 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm

      It's a range extender for both pick-up or broadcast, depending on your need. Poaching someone's WiFi is a use, but not the only use. My wireless router is in a different building on my own property and using a custom antenna like this was a necessity for me.

  13. Jimbo
    August 14, 2009 at 8:15 am

    These instructions are not very clear.

    1. What spec coax are you using?
    2. What is the length of the 12ga copper wire used on the connector inside the can?
    3. Exactly how is the meatl rod with washers and nut being used with the pringles antenna can??

  14. Nate
    August 14, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Just because it is old doesn't mean that it doesn't work

    August 14, 2009 at 3:29 am

    good work.....

  16. WiFiJunkie
    August 13, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Wow, this is this very fresh news. from the 80's.

    • Mark O'Neill
      August 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm

      well we all wish we could be as knowledgable as you. Unfortunately that isn't possible, hence this article.

    • WifiMan
      April 29, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      Some of us were still in diapers during the 80's.

      • Hasus
        October 29, 2016 at 1:55 am

        Well, even a baby in a diaper in the 1980s could communicate the materials and process in a manner so very much more concise than this author's attempt.

        The only clear bit of information here is that the author is severely mentally handicapped and has never been exposed to the human race yet. Nor has he actually built anything beyond the mound of fecal matter piled on the keyboard beneath him. The only other attempted bit of information or instruction sharing is that this "tutorial" is living proof that a million monkeys sitting on a million keyboards will write exactly this tutorial.

      • Hasus
        October 29, 2016 at 1:57 am

        You can't do or make anything from any information attempted to be shared here. Consider a 404 error page clearer direction to another page

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