Karl Herrick

A technologist and web developer


Here is a pic of my semi professionally made (that is I spent time in the wood shop) dish setup for my D-Link DWL-122 802.11b 11 Mbps USB Adapter:

USB WIFI Wok dish close up

To develop this dish setup, I did the following:

  1. Used ideas from http://www.usbwifi.orcon.net.nz/
  2. Mostly the focal point math from http://www.usbwifi.orcon.net.nz/usbscoop.jpg
  3. Took a wok lid and removed the wooden handle
  4. Cut a small length of wood (a) (this gets the USB dongle to the calculated focal point)
  5. Cut a small block of wood (b) (this connects the dish to the camera stand)
  6. Drilled the appropriate holes into the the two pieces of wood
  7. Put a long screw into the block of wood (b) that extends through the other side (this joins the length of wood (a), dish, and block together)
  8. Embedded a nut the size of the camera stand’s butterfly bolt into the block of wood (b) and used a hardening putty to keep it there
  9. Put two thumb tacks into the length of wood (a) to hold bands around the usb dongle

The whole setup collapses in seconds, is aimable, portable, and gave me terrific gain… though I don’t have comparison screenshots. This is a great setup for a laptop on the go trying to get the distant wifi access.

USB WIFI Wok, side by side the Cantenna and WRT54G Bridge

Here, the woktenna is seen by the Cantenna. I had the Cantenna hooked up to a wrt54g running dd-wrt as a wireless bridge to another access point.

See also:

Wireless Antenna Booster

In an even poorer attempt (see: Poor Man’s WiFi) and another try at increasing the signal from a wifi access point 30 meters away in a portable building with aluminum siding… I taped Denise’s spaghetti dish to my desk lamp, grabbed the spaghetti spoon and rigged a wifi dish with my 802.11b usb card. An easily aim-able WokFi.



WiFi Antenna

After reading through some websites and gleaning information from different sources, I decided to experiment with some antenna design. Even though I don’t have much of an artistic/creative mindset I figured I had some tools and a roll of duct tape… so I gave it a go. The first idea I tried to implement was the Pringles “Cantenna”. It is a neat design, plus I was able to munch on some ketchup flavored Pringles for my first time here in Canada. To make a long story short… it didn’t work with my USB adapter… partially because I changed the design in the process. Probably not good, right?So moving on I found an awesome webpage called Poor Man’s WiFi. I must say, this is a masterpiece of an idea. They simply took the dish concept, like from a satellite dish, and put a USB WiFi adapter to it using common household items. For my pseudo WokFi, common items I could fine in my area happened to be a spaghetti strainer, rather than a Chinese cooking vat scoop.

Items I used:

1 USB WiFi adapter
1 Spaghetti Strainer
1 roll of duct tape
1 ruler
$9.99 ($29.99 mail-in rebate)
Free (graciously taken from wife)
$4.99? (I can’t remember)
$0.99? (I can’t remember)
Karl holding his spaghetti strainer usb 802.11 2.4 ghz antenna The spaghetti strainer 802.11 2.4 ghz antenna
The dwl-122 connection utility that shows the signal strength without the dish attached The dwl-122 connection utility that shows the signal strength with the dish attached

While if I made a permanent structure it would have much more sturdiness to it, this one worked great. Check out the screen shot pictures. I was able to get a 24% increase in signal strength and 40% increase in link quality. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get Netstumbler to work with the DWL-122 USB adapter correctly. So actual decibel and wattage information is beyond me. I have estimated by pacing that the distance the signal is traveling is 126.4 feet (38.5 meters). The signal is originating off of a DI-624 AirPlus Extreme-G router, travels through a window, across the yard, and another window.

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