The long distance problem

Because of our rural location we have problems connecting to broadband/ADSL. We suffer with a long distance from the exchange and a poor quality cable. However, within 1.5Km of us broadband/ADSL DOES work, and the challenge was to cover the gap in the cheapest and most reliable way possible.

Wi-Fi seemed to be the most obvious method to take, but the normal range of 100m was not enough. We looked at ways of increasing the range and there are a number of sites that recommend high gain aerials and other expensive add-ons to the basically cheap Wi-Fi system. All were complicated to use, requiring expensive 2.5GHz aerial cable and connectors and the losses in the cable can easily lose all the gains from the aerial.

Another approach was needed. A search of the web showed several ideas that might together make a workable system.

The first is the use of parabolic reflectors, which by their nature focus all wavelengths to the same spot

The second is the use of Chinese cooking implements as a way of creating cheap parabolic reflectors! It has been found by experiment that a Wok is a remarkably good parabolic reflector, is cheap to buy and only requires small modifications to become an aerial.

The last idea is the use of USB Wi-Fi dongles as a suitable feeder for a cooking implement aerial. The picture shows a 30cm stainless mixing bowl with a USB WiFi dongle in the middle hanging in our office window.