The range of a Wi-Fi connection varies but in most cases you’re lucky to get more than 25 metres inside a building, less if there’s a lot of metal or thick walls between your PC or laptop and the wireless router or access point. On some systems you can increase the range dramatically by plugging a directional or high-gain antenna into the router and these are widely available from around £30. Some Wi-Fi cards also have this facility, but if you are real Propellerhead and handy with a soldering iron and tin opener you might like to have a crack at making your own high efficiency Wi-Fi antenna, which should cost you less than £5.00 to build. A while back a group of experimenters came up with a home-build design called the ‘Cantenna’; the original was based on nothing more sophisticated than an empty Pringles tube, which just happens to have the right dimensions, and is lined with metallic foil, which reflects and concentrates the signal.
The design has been extensively improved and refined, using a variety of food containers and one of the best Cantenna DIY guides can be found on the Turnpoint site. Also have a look at this UK site, which has details of a USB Cantenna. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty then you can buy one ready made, though they cost a good deal more than an fiver…. If you like that they take a look at the hundreds of other great tips and utilities featured on PCTopTips