Building a long-range WiFi antenna from scrap materials can extend your wireless network coverage at little to no cost. With the right materials and some DIY know-how, you can create a powerful directional antenna to pick up WiFi signals from farther away.

What You'll Need

To build a long-range WiFi antenna from scrap materials, you'll need the following:

Scrap Materials


Protective Equipment

Antenna Designs

There are a few common scrap materials WiFi antenna designs:


The cantenna uses a metal can as a waveguide with vertical antenna elements cut from wire coat hangers. This directional design can significantly boost range compared to your router's stock antennas.


The BiQuad has two square elements on either side of a central mast. It's also directional and can be made from scrap metal and coat hanger wire.


The Yagi uses specific lengths of parallel elements to focus the signal in one direction. More elements boost the range and directionality.

The cantenna is the easiest starting point, then you can experiment with biquads and yagis.

Steps to Build a Cantenna

Follow these steps to build a WiFi cantenna from scratch:

1. Cut the Can

Cut the bottom off the can and smooth any sharp edges. The larger the diameter, the more signal it will capture.

2. Mark and Drill Holes

Mark and drill two holes on opposite sides of the can for mounting the antenna elements.

3. Cut and Bend the Elements

Cut two equal lengths of wire coat hanger. Bend them into a "J" shape to fit through the holes.

4. Mount the Elements

Feed the wires through the holes and secure with bolts/nuts on the inside. Adjust to point vertically up.

5. Solder on a BNC Connector

Solder a BNC connector to the end of one of the elements. Cover with heat shrink or electrical tape.

6. Connect to Your Router

Attach your cantenna to your router's external antenna port using a BNC male to reverse SMA male adapter.

7. Test and Optimize

Use a WiFi analyzer app to find the optimal direction that maximizes signal strength. Enjoy the range boost!

Troubleshooting Issues

Here are some common problems and fixes:

Going Further

Some ways to take your DIY WiFi antennas to the next level:

So with some basic crafting skills and spare parts, you can build powerful WiFi antennas and extend your wireless network's range. Aim for tall heights and keep optimizing the design until you get the coverage you need.