Everyone is selling antennas and extenders and all sorts of pieces of technology to extend your wireless reception. But what if you are on a budget like I am? Spouse, mortgage, car payment, 2.5 children, it all adds up to precious little for computer parts. And if your boss has put his foot down and won’t let you order ANYTHING from the internet on the company account. What do you do? Broadband is not a possibility (old house, old wiring old lady) so what is the alternative?

The neighbors! Out of everyone else around me there has to be SOMEONE that has their cable modem or DSL on a wireless router. I have an old notebook that work no longer wanted and it has a built in wireless adapter that is really low powered. No help there. I did a warride and found a few in the area but none could be access from within my house. After all, if their transmissions reach inside my home I can do with them whatever I want, right?

Along comes WOOT! and I get a cheap-o deluxe $14 wireless antenna that I can direct towards any direction I want. I slap it in and scan for available wireless networks. SUCSESS! FAILURE! SUCCESS! FAILURE! SUCCESS! ARRRRGHH!!! I get better reception but nothing that allows me to do anything more than wish my house weren’t made of bricks 100 years ago.

I google for ways to enhance my reception and I see all these propeller heads that have built these “wireless guns” that look like AR-15 rifles and antenna extenders right out of Johnny Quest. I am just an old hack trying to get around rewiring my entire house just so I can surf ebay faster.

I go into the kitchen to get a bowl of generic Corn Chex cereal and while I am scooping the spoon as fast as I can into my mouth before bed I wonder… will this metal bowl work? Not remembering any of my College Physics at the moment I can bring to mind the last episode of the Red Green Show. DUCT TAPE TO THE RESUCE!

I have an old speaker stand, some tape, a cheap USB wireless adapter, and a metal cereal bowl. Shucks, just try it and see if it works.

antenna[1] bowl[1]

Don’t laugh. It drags in a signal. It is weak but it is reliable and I usually get 11 mb throughput.

Check with the laws in your area but privacy rights usually rule and if your neighbor is putting out an unsecure signal and it enters your home what you do with it is your business.

 

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