We just moved into a much larger place, and I was setting up my network. I wanted the main hub of the network to be my home office, but the problem is that it’s on the first floor of our new 3 story place, and I was worried I’d have to figure out a way to get connectivity to each level. I tried setting up my wifi base station in the home office, and I got a very weak (about 30% strength) signal from the 2nd floor, and no signal on the third floor.

Before buying a couple of WiFi extenders to provide coverage for the other floors, I decided to try out a makeshift WiFi antenna.

This design (known as the “windsurfer” provides a perfect parabola to focus the radio signal on the existing wi-fi antenna, and is made with nothing but a piece of paper and some aluminum foil. Cost? Nothing… just print out the template on a standard printer, cut it out, and assemble. At the size I printed, you get 9db of gain, or you can print at double-size for 12db. It works flawlessly.

The result? The signal strength on the 2nd floor went from 30 percent to 94%. The signal on the third floor went from 0% to 58%– well within the range of acceptable signal strength. Now I have 802.11 A, B, and G throughout the house with good signal strength, and I didn’t spend a penny. Very cool.