How to Build a Tiny WiFi Signal Booster Using Just an Empty Altoids Tin

Having weak WiFi signal in parts of your home or office can be frustrating. Luckily, you can build a simple WiFi signal booster using just an empty Altoids tin that can help extend your wireless network's range.

What You Need

Here's a list of materials you'll need:

That's it! The metal tin helps focus the signal, while the USB WiFi adapter connects to your wireless network and boosts the signal.

Steps to Build the Signal Booster

Step 1: Prep the Altoids Tin

Take apart the Altoids tin and use a file or sandpaper to smooth any sharp edges inside the tin. This allows the USB adapter to fit nicely inside.

Step 2: Install the USB WiFi Adapter

Plug the USB WiFi adapter into the end of the USB extension cable. Carefully place the adapter inside the Altoids tin, and use the cardboard or foam to wedge it into place.

Step 3: Connect and Position the Booster

Connect the USB extension cable to your computer or a wall adapter for power. For best results, place the Altoids tin on a high shelf or mount it to the wall where you need a signal boost. The metal tin will focus the wireless signal from the USB adapter.

Step 4: Connect to the Extended Network

On your computer or mobile devices, connect to the same WiFi network as the USB adapter in the Altoids tin booster. The adapter is essentially a repeater, extending the network range.

That's all there is to it! With just a few cheap components, you can build a handy extended-range WiFi signal booster. Experiment with antenna placement to aim the boosted signal where you need it. Enjoy the speed!

Troubleshooting Your Homemade WiFi Booster

Here are some tips if you're having issues getting your Altoids tin WiFi booster to work right:

With a bit of tweaking, your homemade WiFi signal booster can extend your wireless network's range into those hard-to-reach dead zones. Enjoy the faster surfing speed!

Frequently Asked Questions About Altoids Tin WiFi Boosters

What kind of range boost can I expect from this DIY signal booster?

You can expect to extend your WiFi range 100 feet or more in ideal conditions. Results vary based on your wireless router, the USB adapter's power, and interference in your environment.

Does it matter what size/type of metal tin I use?

The size of the tin doesn't make much difference. The material does matter though - use a tin box rather than plastic. The metal helps focus the signal.

Is there any danger from RF/EMI waves with this homemade booster?

The FCC limits wireless devices to safe levels, and this boosts existing signals rather than making new wavelengths. However, you can add RF shielding material if concerned.

Can I connect multiple USB WiFi adapters to make the signal even more powerful?

It's best to only use one adapter to broadcast a single network for stability. But you can set up multiple Altoids tin units around your home broadcasting on different channels.

What's the best way to aim the boosted signal where I need it?

Experiment with different positions and directions of the tin's antenna. You can also tape a piece of cardboard to the bottom of the tin to angle it up.

Building your own WiFi signal booster is a fun weekend project that can make a real improvement in your wireless coverage. After some simple tweaking to get the right setup for your environment, you can enjoy faster speeds in hard-to-reach areas of your home or office.