Having weak Wi-Fi signal in parts of your home can be frustrating. While you can buy Wi-Fi extenders, they can be expensive. Luckily, with just a few cheap materials, I was able to make my own Wi-Fi extender for under $10.

An extender captures your existing Wi-Fi signal, amplifies it, and rebroadcasts the boosted signal farther into your home. The end result is a stronger, expanded Wi-Fi network reaching those dead zones in your house.

Making your own extender is surprisingly easy too. In this guide, I'll walk through the complete DIY Wi-Fi extender build process in simple steps anyone can follow.

What You'll Need

That's it! These are the only materials required for a homemade Wi-Fi range extender. The total cost is around $10, though you may already have some of the components.

How It Works

A Wi-Fi extender connects to your existing Wi-Fi router wirelessly to capture the signal. It then amplifies the signal strength and rebroadcasts it on a different Wi-Fi channel to extend coverage farther.

My DIY extender does this by using the aluminum can as an antenna. The USB Wi-Fi adapter inside the can connects to your router's Wi-Fi network and grabs the wireless signal.

The adapter rebroadcasts the boosted signal through the can. The shape and material of the can directionally focuses the Wi-Fi beams for wider dispersion of your extended network.

It's a simple yet effective approach to improve in-home Wi-Fi connectivity on a budget.

Constructing the Extender Step-by-Step

Building the Wi-Fi booster takes about 20-30 minutes. Here are the step-by-step instructions to create yours:

Supplies Needed


  1. First, use the drill to make one hole in the bottom of the can for feeding cables in and out. Make the hole just big enough for cables to fit.

  2. Insert the USB extension cable through the hole first from the inside, leaving just the female port end sticking out inside the can.

  3. Next, plug the Wi-Fi adapter into the extension cable inside the can and hot glue the adapter in place to secure it.

  4. Position the adapter upright and use hot glue again to adhere the USB cable to the can's inner walls. This prevents strain on the port.

  5. For stability, fill the bottom of the can with sand or weights like pebbles. Hot glue weights in place if needed.

  6. Seal the cable hole in the can with more hot glue to prevent RF leakage.

  7. Finally, position the can's open end upward in the direction you want to broadcast Wi-Fi. The extender is finished!

That completes construction of the homemade Wi-Fi signal booster. Next I'll cover how to configure and optimize it.

Setting Up Your Extender

With your DIY Wi-Fi extender built, just a few software settings are needed to get it working. Here's how to configure it:

  1. First, plug the extender's USB cable into a laptop or computer near your Wi-Fi router.

  2. Install any required drivers for the Wi-Fi adapter if needed.

  3. Open your Wi-Fi network settings on the laptop. Make sure Wi-Fi is enabled.

  4. Connect the laptop to your existing Wi-Fi network. This allows the extender to access your router's wireless signal.

  5. Enable "monitor mode" on the Wi-Fi adapter. This is usually done via the adapter's software or driver settings. Consult your adapter's documentation if unsure.

  6. Monitor mode allows the extender to "see" your Wi-Fi signal. Make sure it's working by checking that your network is visible in the adapter software.

  7. Once connected, position the extender can in your Wi-Fi dead zone. Experiment with placement for optimal reception. Higher locations and open areas work best.

  8. Check for your network's extended signal in the area using another device like a phone. If working, your network should now have expanded Wi-Fi coverage!

With the right setup, your homemade extender will reliably boost Wi-Fi access across your entire home. Tweak antenna direction and location as needed to optimize performance.

Optimizing Signal Strength

A few quick tips can improve your booster's reception and maximize Wi-Fi signal strength:

With the right tweaks, these DIY Wi-Fi extenders can amplify signals for 100+ square feet. Give it a try and enjoy boosted Wi-Fi on the cheap!

Troubleshooting Issues

If your extender isn't working right, here are some common problems and fixes:

Can't connect to existing network
- Ensure Wi-Fi adapter is in monitor mode to detect networks.
- Verify adapter software shows your network available.
- Try a different USB port or Wi-Fi adapter if needed.

Signal not extending
- Check Wi-Fi channel conflicts. Switch router or extender to clearer channels.
- Ensure antenna is pointed toward weak signal areas.
- Try elevating extender or moving closer to router temporarily for testing.

Signal drops or is intermittent
- Loose adapter or cables can cause signal loss. Check connections.
- RF leakage if hole gaps exist. Reseal with glue.
- May be too far from router. Relocate extender closer if needed.

Slow internet speeds
- Weak reception can throttle speeds. Improve antenna direction or gain.
- Switch Wi-Fi channels on router and extender to reduce conflicts.
- Upgrade router if older model. Extender speed limited by router capability.

With trial and error, you can resolve most issues. Experiment with location and direction to find the extender's optimal setup.


Boosting your Wi-Fi coverage doesn't have to cost a fortune. With just a large can, USB adapter, and basic supplies, you can build your own effective Wi-Fi extender for less than $10.

Strategically placing this homemade booster eliminates dead zones by grabbing and rebroadcasting your router's signals farther. For best range, elevate and point the antenna can toward weak areas.

While not as robust as commercial extenders, this simple DIY version reliably expands Wi-Fi on a tight budget. Plus it's an easy weekend project anyone can create. Enjoy the satisfaction and convenience of whole-home Wi-Fi thanks to this innovative handmade solution.