DIY: Boosting Wifi Signal for a Happier Home

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WiFi router catchin’ some waves

For this DIY project I chose to boost the signal of my WiFi router using household ingredients. Before this project, I had never considered messing around with a router, nor had it necessarily occurred to me that the router was also the box that emitted magical WiFi waves. My main concern when tackling this project was making sure not to break the router when manipulating the antennae and actually seeing if the method I followed worked… Thankfully it did to a certain extent!

When I was cutting up a piece of cardboard to attach aluminum foil to, I initially cut a rectangular piece that was too small for the router. The shape I actually needed was a square. After a rocky start, I cut the correct shape out of  a cardboard box and *mostly* followed the instructions from this informative video from YouTuber PCTutorials. I appreciated the meditative music in the video. I didn’t have glue, a ruler, or a scalpel… but I did have tape and an Exacto knife. The positive comments on the video of other peoples’ success with this method led me to follow PCTutorials advice in terms of constructing the cardboard/aluminum apparatus.

Turns out there are plenty (Gordon, Lifehacker) of ways to manipulate a router to get stronger signals. Before tackling this project, the poor router was suffocating beneath a couch in the living room. Now it has its own little set-up, sitting on it’s own table. It deserves this. Many of the guides I found were from tech-savvy online journalists posting on the sites Gizmodo and Mashable. These articles were easy to read and extremely helpful. I found them credible based on the comment sections from people trying to boost their signal as well. Each article also had an impressive amount of shares to social media outlets and plenty of “likes”. However, the most helpful sources for me were from YouTube videos, since I preferred to watch how to place aluminum foil on a cardboard box and see where the best place to put the router is in the apartment. I appreciated the lighthearted attitude of many of the videos as well, since technology can be daunting sometimes most of the time.

With regard to my learning style, I found this project challenging since I lack logical/mathematical (cutting a rectangle instead of a square…) and visual/spatial thinking skills (placing the router in the best place to direct waves my way). The videos helped me since I could hear, read, and watch the media to follow along at my own pace. Finding the articles first, however, helped me to refine my video search into more of the “DIY for free” realm.

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One (bar) is the loneliest number. So close…yet so far.

My overall goal for this project was to make my signal so strong that I could use my personal WiFi at the pool, which is located roughly 100 feet from my apartment, right around the corner of another building. To my dismay I could barely get a bar at the entrance gate. BUT it was better than before I upgraded my router, when I could only get one bar outside my front door. In the surrounding halls I now have three full WiFi bars and access up to 15 feet, as well as when I stand outside my window! 50 feet away from the router, about half way to the pool, however, is when the bars start disappearing. Also, this cool cite allowed me to compare my signal speed before and after I manipulated my router.

This project taught me a lot and I do not feel so intimidated by constructing things and routers anymore. I feel accomplished. I also impressed my roommate with my new ~skills~. I will continue to manipulate this router until I reach my goal, which can be visualized by these emojis: I too hope to sit poolside with sunglasses on like the last emoji enjoying full WiFi access to download and update whatever I want. But for now I’m halfway there.

Works Cited

Casti, Taylor. “How to Improve Your Wi-Fi Signal.” Mashable. Mashable, 26 Jun. 2013. Web. 11 Sept. 2015.

Gordon, Whitson. “Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Home Wi-Fi.” Lifehacker. Lifehacker, 8 Apr. 2012. Web. 11 Sept. 2015.

How to Boost or Increase Your WIFI Speed and Signal | Free and Easy |. Perf. PCTutorial. YouTube. YouTube, 28 June 2014. Web. 11 Sept. 2015.

“Speedtest.net by Ookla – The Global Broadband Speed Test.” Speedtest.net by Ookla – The Global Broadband Speed Test. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2015.

Tarantola, Andrew. “Five Free Ways to Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal.” Gizmodo. Gizmodo, 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 Sept. 2015.

Want Faster Wifi? Here Are 5 Weirdly Easy Tips. Perf. Vox. YouTube. YouTube, 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.

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