If you need a signal boost and want to get a little creative, the U.K. site Heise Online has a detailed post on creating a homemade Cantenna for 802.11b/g routers. (802.11a routers require antennas of different dimensions.) It’s a great way to recycle packaging for household goods and ramp up your range at the same time.
Candidates for Wi-Fi antennas include noodle cans, food cans, coffee cans, and packaging tubes of premium liquors. In particular, the writer endorses stainless steel toilet-brush holders as the best option. Who knew?
The guide spells out everything else you’ll need—nuts, countersunk screws, washers, and copper cable—and tells you exactly how to put it all together. It also gives very precise information on the correct can dimensions for optimal reception. In fact, the writer was so thorough that he built two antennas and had them both examined by the Institute of Microwave Engineering at Leibniz University to test the power of the devices.
Check it out if you’re looking for range extension on the cheap. And don’t forget that recycling used household materials is good for the environment. Al Gore will thank you.