Radio waves penetrate the space around us. We are all used to wireless technologies, especially Wi-Fi, but not everyone is happy with the coverage of home routers. Walls, trees, and other obstructions weaken the signal. If the communication quality is quite suitable for an apartment, then for a suburban area of several hundred square meters the standard router models are clearly not enough. Not far from home, for example, in a garage, I would also like to use home Internet without laying additional cables or installing powerful equipment. But you never know where amplification of the radio signal may be needed! In any case, the use of the antenna will be the simplest and most profitable option.
We use the experience of radio engineering
A simple piece of conductor attached to the antenna, of course, is able to improve the signal, but often does not work. And all because of the properties of radio waves. The television model will also not give any results for Wi-Fi, as it is designed to work with broadcast frequencies. To create the right antenna, you need to know the wavelength of the signal whose amplification is planned. The form of the device should be borrowed from ham radio. For example, the biquadrat antenna has long established itself as an easy-to-manufacture and reliable signal amplification device. These compact devices give a decent gain of 11 dBi or higher, while the devices built into the router do not exceed 5 dBi.
For people who are very far from the electromagnetic part of physics, these indicators can be deciphered as increasing the Wi-Fi connection speed by several times, as well as increasing the connection distance. The biquadrat antenna is directional, covering a sector of 40-50 ° in front of you, which is quite suitable for connecting a building remote from the main dwelling, as well as for creating a local wireless network between stationary stations. Various craftsmen note a stable signal at a distance of 400 to 2500 m, but this is unlikely to be needed, a few tens of meters are enough.
To the store with money or with a soldering iron in your hands?
It is always easier to purchase a finished factory product, but the price of such a device is commensurate with the cost of a new router, and the performance is not always reliable. Inexpensive models from the friendly East are quite fragile, and the contacts and connections in them are far from perfect. Where to get a good biquadrat device? WiFi - do-it- yourself antenna can be assembled by any radio amateur. To do this, you need a soldering iron. If you are familiar with this tool, then the instruction will tell you what and how to do.
A biquadrat is an antenna made up of two squares made of wire or other electrically conductive material. They are located in one plane and connected in a certain way. This circuit is the main working part of the antenna, a vibrator designed to receive and transmit radio waves. It is best to make such an antenna element from a piece of a single-core power copper wire with a cross section of at least 2 mm 2 .
The thickness of the copper wire depends more on the selected antenna dimensions, the number of mounts and the conditions of use. This only affects the structural strength, and not the signal quality, so it’s better to select based on the planned dimensions and the availability of material. The simplest home-made biquadrat antenna is assembled only from a circuit connected to a coaxial cable, as shown in the figure above.
Additional materials and tools
Of course, to improve the quality of the antenna will require additional details. A plate made of any electrically conductive material is suitable as a reflector; requirements are only imposed on wear resistance and strength. Even a CD or aluminum foil used in cooking for baking will do. The main thing is to fix it on an even, solid base made of wood or plastic, where the rest of the antenna parts will be installed. Additionally, dielectric fasteners are needed to firmly fix the antenna relative to the reflector, as well as a 50 ohm coaxial cable .
A special plug will allow you to connect the device to the router, which will have to be purchased at the store. In the absence of connectors on the router, like most inexpensive models, you will have to disassemble it and solder the cable directly to the board. Remember, such actions with a router will deprive him of a guarantee, and all responsibility for such actions will fall entirely on you. The remaining materials can be picked up locally from what is found in the pantry of a home master.
As is clear from the above, a soldering iron, a bit of solder and flux are a mandatory tool. A ruler with millimeter divisions will allow you to comply with the exact dimensions of the product, and pliers or pliers will be required for accurate bending of the wire into the contour. A knife and side cutters (wire cutters) will be needed to work with the cable, and when drilling holes you will need a drill or screwdriver and drill.
Tips & Safety
Beginners may have difficulty soldering, but remember that skill comes with time. All work with a heated soldering iron should be performed slowly, observing safety measures and all necessary steps so as not to get burned and make a strong connection. Before using the appliance, it is absolutely necessary to check the integrity of the housing, cable and plug.
Protect the working space of the table from possible damage with molten solder or drops of hot flux by covering it with a wooden shield or special refractory material. Do not leave a heated soldering iron unattended even after turning it off. A hot appliance can cause the ignition of surfaces and objects made of flammable materials. Those who hold the soldering iron in their hands for the first time, it is recommended to make several connections on the remnants of the material or pieces of similar wire to fill your hand.
Before starting work, we will make a small calculation of the biquadrat antenna. The range of most Wi-Fi routers, according to the IEEE 802.11n standard, is 2.4 GHz. Applying the formula for the ratio of wavelength, speed and frequency, it is necessary to divide the speed of light by frequency. 0.1249 m or 125 mm is approximately the size we need, which means that the side of the squares of the antenna must be a multiple of this distance to work in the desired range. For the small antenna described here, a distance of 32 mm was chosen. Of course, a multiple increase in this distance will lead to an improvement in the signal over a larger coverage area.
There were a lot of ideas on what to use as a reflector, but an empty mounting plate of 10 x 10 cm in size optimally suited for such dimensions. Firstly, it simplified the connection of the braid of the coaxial cable to the reflector. With conventional solder, the cable is tightly installed in the right place. Secondly, the stiffness of the PCB completely satisfies the size of the product and allows you to refuse additional fasteners. Problems when using a model of such sizes can arise in case of inaccurate compliance with the dimensions, so all actions are performed using a millimeter ruler.
Homemade biquadrat antenna for wifi is quite simple to manufacture. In the center of the circuit board or other suitable sheet of metal, drill a hole according to the diameter of the coaxial cable or a little more. The cable must be stripped from the top insulation by 2.5 cm and carefully inserted into the hole in the board. The upper shielding braid or cable jacket is soldered around the entire circumference. The cable must fit tightly in the gearbox board, because in addition to it, this model does not provide mounts for the antenna. You can additionally use a metal tube to strengthen the structure, this is especially true if you plan to increase the size of the antenna.
A biquadratic vibrator will require 256 mm of copper wire. You can make markers at the bend points every 32 mm with a marker and take a little more wire to cut off the excess at the end. And you can bend a precisely measured piece of wire every time exactly in the middle. The ends of it must be carefully soldered and taken away from the opposite angle by 2 mm, you can also leave the connection of the ends to the next stage.
The last step is to solder the connections of the biquad vibrator and cable. Watch its location relative to the reflector, the distance between them should be maintained about 15 mm on the entire plane. Such a gap is measured out by various testers empirically. If you have the equipment, you can personally search for the optimal distance with the best standing wave coefficient for a particular model.
There is no limit to perfection
Point your antenna towards the working area and connect to the router using a special plug, or install it using a soldering iron directly onto the work board. Increasing the range of the Wi-Fi signal will not take long. What else can be done to increase the power of the antenna, in addition to increasing the size? Those who have already built something like this may be interested in a double or triple antenna biquadrat. With their own hands, craftsmen achieve a signal gain of 2 and 4 dBi more, and this is a noticeable improvement.
This is done by increasing the number of squares and, accordingly, the area of the reflector (metal gear). Craftsmen also create arcuate or circular antennas based on a biquadrat, the main rule in the manufacture of which is the strict observance of a distance of 15 mm from the reflector over the entire area of the device. It is also worth mentioning that wire crossings must be insulated so that there are no conductor connections.
The places where the biquadrat antenna is installed can be very diverse. Most often, such products are mounted on windows or outside the building. To protect from the weather a small model, such as the one described above, a plastic container is perfect. The signal gain obtained thanks to the biquadrat antenna corresponds to the models of factory production, and sometimes surpasses them.