How to Improve Your Wi-Fi Signal Using a Soda Can in 6 Steps

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How to Improve Your Wi-Fi Signal Using a Soda Can in 6 Steps

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When your life is nothing but trolling and viral videos, having a bad wi-fi connection can be incredibly irritating. Poor loading times, lost connections, and more can put a strain on your time browsing the internet. However, there are some ways to improve your Wi-Fi connection.

However, even in the most bleak situation, there are heroes, and in this case it’s soda cans.

If you’ve ever had a TV with an antenna or a radio, you’ve probably heard of the trick of using tin foil to improve the signal. Using a soda or beer can to improve your wi-fi signal works in a very similar way. The metal in the can and the shape of the can when cut open can focus the signal to and from your router. The only things that you’ll need to achieve this are a beer or soda can, a utility knife, a pair of scissors and some form of adhesive that can easily be removed like tape or adhesive putty.

6 Steps to Better Internet

1 – Clean Out the Can

Practically any substance that is found in cans like soda, beer, juice and more can create a sticky residue on the inside of the can. This can attract bugs and make your router sticky. Before you start cutting apart the can, thoroughly rinse it out with soap and warm water. Dry the can as thoroughly as possible.

2 – Pull off the Tab

The tab for the soda can really has no use for this project, so it’s best to remove it. To remove the tab, simply bend the tab back and forth until you hear it snap.

3 – Cut off the Bottom of the Can

Grab a utility knife and carefully cut a straight, horizontal line around bottom of the can at the point where the sides of the can start sloping to create the bottom. Cut very slowly to ensure a clean cut and to avoid accidentally cutting yourself. Once the bottom is completely removed, safely dispose of it to avoid accidentally grabbing it or stepping on it.

4 – Creating the Base

The base for your wifi extender will be the top of the can. To create the base, turn the can upside down and use your utility knife to make a cut horizontal cut that is similar to the one you made at the bottom of the can, but leaves an inch or so of metal to keep everything in one piece.

5 – Cut the Side of the Can

Position the can so that the leftover piece of metal used to keep the base attached is opposite the location you intend to make a vertical incision in the can. Use the scissors to cut a straight line from the bottom of the can to the top. Then open the can up to create a shape similar to a satellite dish. If the can is still wet at the point, thoroughly dry the can before placing it on top of your router.

6 – Attaching the Can to Your Router

Place the can over the antenna for your Wi-Fi connection through the hole in the base. Using tape or another easily removable adhesive such as adhesive putty, secure the can to your router. Adjust the can to maximize the signal.

Basically the can should be splayed out, creating something similar to a sail around the router’s antenna. The antenna serves as a mast and the pop can helps the router function.

You are now free to enjoy a stronger and more reliable wi-fi signal.

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Video Courtesy of HackCollege

44 thoughts on “How to Improve Your Wi-Fi Signal Using a Soda Can in 6 Steps

  1. dude says:

    Sweet. Keep in mind that many older homes will have a layer or two of lead paint somewhere in its history, so the walls act as radio signal shields. Keep a line of sight to the router for best signal in old homes.

    1. Patrick says:

      Uhh, no. For two reasons:

      1. EMF blocking ability is related to conductivity and permeability. Lead is poor at both of those things and passes EMF about as well as anything else.

      2. Even if it were to be a good shielding material, the absolute amount of lead in lead paint is tiny. Lead paint contains ~ 1 mg/cm^2 lead. 1.34g/cm^3 is the density, the math nets us 8.82×10^-5 cm thickness. ~900 nm. A 900 nm thick layer is going to have to be pretty fantastic stuff to stop your wifi.

    2. Albert dH says:

      Maybe the lead in the paint is not a problem, but I have seen wire mesh used to hold up the troweled on plaster in old homes. That stuff will attenuate RF nicely.

      Many old homes are just harsh for today’s high tech expectations, ungrounded knob and tube wiring, one outlet per room, horrible RF, horrible access for pulling new cable, heritage artwork painted directly on the walls, safe rooms, stone construction, and overall heritage designation. It gets so bad you cannot put up your own dish for moon bounce testing!

      Oops. sorry. I’m O.K. now.

      1. ka1axy says:

        Wire mesh lath! Took me a while to figure that out at my brother’s house!

        The original idea is good, but poorly implemented, IMHO. What you want is a parabola in the horizontal plane (i.e.looking down), with the vertical antenna at the focus. This will give you a beam that you can steer by rotating the reflector around the antenna. I built mine by using two sheets of foamcore cut to a parabolic profile, with a couple of spacers about half the length of the antenna between them. I poked a hole at the focus and slid the antenna through. Then I took alumin[i]um foil and stapled it to the parabolic profile, stretching it between the two sheets of foamcore. It worked well, signal level increased noticeably.

  2. Wally SirFatty says:

    Welcome to 2002!

  3. Collin McGarry says:

    Any tips for those of us without antennas?

  4. Trish Hanson says:

    What about those with a router that doesn’t have an antenna?

    1. blondesareeasy says:

      Yeah, I’ve got one of those too. Netgear 44

    2. Caleb Campbell says:

      pull powercord thorugh the mouth of the can lid?

  5. blondesareeasy says:

    Damn it, I got blood all over the place. But I can use my wifi on Catalina Island to Redondo Beach now!

    1. badhacker says:

      hahahahahahaha :)
      Same here

  6. Frepa says:

    I have had good luck with a parabolic kitchen sieve behind the WiFi antenna, less sharp edges than with the can. Picture:

    1. Collin McGarry says:

      Perhaps that would work for those of us with no external antenna. IE place the router within the sieve.

  7. Marazan says:

    As described the can is more effective as a shield for unwanted signals from neighbours wifi and would only be effective if the router is at one side of your property. For a more effective reflector the can could be shaped into a parabola. I’ve used shaped, silversided card effectively to lengthen the range of wifi and cut out interfering signals from adjacent sources. Templates are available on the intranet to assist in gaining the correct parobolic profile. Card is also safer in terms of the potential for cuts. If you can’t get silver coated card, aluminium foil can be glued to standard card.

  8. rocketguy1701 says:

    (Full disclosure, I’m a professional, try to not hold it against me). Also Verbose setting on, sorry about that…

    Using a parabolic reflector can generally help if done reasonably well, and yes you can put the entire wifi router in the focal point of one (more or less) to achieve a bias of signal in one direction, (if the router is at one end of the house etc).
    It will also reduce the interference from the back side of the reflector, but given that interference sources may exist in several directions, channel management may be a more effective strategy, or in combination with the reflector. If you’re in 2.4Ghz (b/g/n), channels 1 6 and 11 are the only non-overlapping channels. In 5.8Ghz you have more channel options, and it may be a better environment in high density areas (apt building etc).

    If you have the option, coordinating channel selection with your neighbors can be helpful, although it’s often quite difficult at times to design in apartment buildings (you have vertical as well as horizontal spacing issues). This would be the social answer to a social problem approach…

    Back to the technical bits:
    Of course with 802.11N/MIMO all bets are off, no idea what this approach will do. I’d tend to try to reflect individual antennas if possible, but in a more or less matched way (three antennas, three cans?). As MIMO actually uses multipath effects to increase bandwidth, trying to focus a parabola on one or more of the elements may have unintended consequences for throughput. Just have to try it and see I guess. You generally want the antennas at different distances from your hosts by a few inches, and each antenna is a part of your bandwidth, unlike earlier diversity antennas, where the best was used and the other discarded.

    Environmental factors:
    Lead paint won’t do much to block wifi, but chickenwire/plaster is like the side of a battleship. Chicken wire is plenty conductive, and acts as a giant shield at wifi frequencies. (So, if you were trying to shield your AP from your neighbor and vice/versa, a square of it grounded will do nicely). The old safety glass with chickenwire in it also does this, it’s quite astonishing how effective it is.

    Plywood and wood framing doesn’t seem to be a problem, but solid hardwoods can attenuate quite a bit (probably not a problem unless you’re in a high end law firm).

    Another factor folks usually don’t take advantage of is height. Don’t put it on a desk or on the floor, get it up high, and don’t put stuff in front of it.

    Also avoid where possible lines of sight that goes edgewise through walls, since that tends to be worse than even several walls square on to the signal.

    If you’re buying a router these days, I’d go for N or the draft ci stuff at minimum, preferably dual band and running dd-wrt. I like buffalo tech for personal grade, but at work we’re using cisco(but that’s pretty pricey).

    Tin foil hat crowd:
    While I wouldn’t put this right where I’d be sitting for 8 hours a day, keep in mind that it’s not a big RF source in comparison to device transformers, your cell phone, a microwave oven etc etc. Put it two or three yards away from continuously occupied space and it’s all good.

    1. Josh says:

      That’s awesome, thanks for the detailed response, Rocketguy!

      I am in the lazy/good enough camp so I will probably never do this unless the signal gets slower than like 1 mb/sec in my room.

  9. nccmrm97 says:

    Reblogged this on nccmrm97.

  10. Esther Miller says:

    We’ve been traveling extensively in a fiberglass-sided RV. Many RV parks/campgrounds offer free wifi but few of them reach all parts of the park. Any suggestions on low-tech ways to improve reception for our laptops?

    1. Jeremiah says:

      option 1 park closer to the antenna

      Option 2 (kinda easy) get a long usb cable and a powered usb hub (the kind with a wall plug) and a usb wifi stick place the stick in the hub extend the power wire to the hub and then place the hub stick and all in a weather resistant enclosure with the long usb cable running out of it place box on roof of rv then run the wires to power and to your laptop.

      option 3 find a wifi card or usb dongle compatible with your laptop with an external antenna connector get a good 2.4Ghz external antenna and related adapters to match to your card/dongle, place antenna on top of RV and connect to computer inside

      option 4 (most difficult/involved) get a router you can flash with dd-wrt place inside weatherproof box place on roof and provide power learn to work the interface to setit as a client and use it as a reversed wifi router in your RV so you would end up with wired connection inside and wireless to the park access point

      1. paco says:

        just adding to the “option 2” – you can use adapters to run USB over CAT5, for a much longer run. This is useful with USB wifi adapters/antennae. Here’s a link to monoprice

  11. Mark Cross says:

    A modified Sat. dish called a Bi-quad seems to work the best. I’ve been using it for a few yeas and can pick up routers from miles away.

  12. cyryl says:

    Hi ! If you have usb WiFi card then you can make an bowl-antenna to boost its signal, like the one described here:

  13. Ross Potts says:

    A better way to open the can is to freeze about 3/4 of water in the can. When its good and hard, you take a hobby knife/ box cutter, secure it on a surface which you can drag the can across the blade, to score it (3 to 4 revolutions is plenty).

    Once the can is well scored, place it under warm tap water & flex at the score line. The bottom will practically pop off!

    I use this method to make clean cut alcohol stoves.

    1. Terre Tulsiak says:

      Funny- something similar just happened to me. An orange soda froze solid in a mini fridge door and I couldn’t get it out because it was stuck. So I figured if I stab it with a fork it will make a manageable hole that will slowly drain enough soda to release it. Can anyone guess what actually happened?

  14. KenDroid says:

    What should I do if our router doesn’t have an antenna.. we use BayanDSL router by the way :D

  15. Terre Tulsiak says:

    Wish I could post a picture of the fortress I live in- Can’t get a signal upstairs from downstairs using cable! The walls are stucco over terracotta block, chicken wire scratch, brown, finish plaster, then all interior walls are the same minus stucco. And the block runs sideways so you can’t run wire up except certain spots!

  16. Dustin Lee Floyd says:


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  18. Nalin Guptha says:

    Wi-Fi is the good one for wireless Internet connection….thanks for posting

  19. Kelly Schmidt says:

    I have been reading all the interesting posts about boosting one’s wifi signal and have a question. We just moved into a very large home that was built in 1914 and is made entirely out of concrete–all the floors, walls, etc, from the basement up to the 3rd floor. The signal in here is terrible. I have no external antenna on my router to place one of those tinfoil windsurfer things that I have read about. Someone recommended to me a product called Apple Airport Express–has anyone had any experience with this? Would you recommend this for boosting the signal? I am happy to spend up to $500 or so on a product that would actually work. I tried a “booster” from Netgear that was around $65 and it didn’t work at all. Help! THanks so much in advance for any advice–I am technologically impaired so talk to me as if I know nothing. :)

    1. Ngmama says:

      I found this article really helpful, they essentially suggest a better wireless router rather than a wifi extender… And their top pick at $170 is much less than $500!

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  22. Gabbar Singh says:

    All approximately true… You all get points for trying. Do consider, however, that AP’s dynamically adjust their output based on ambient signal flux, including signal reflected from tin foil and cans… So constrain your experiments to the dongle on your client for best results.

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  25. mandii says:

    Hi I’m using my neighbors wifi ( with their permission) but it only works in one room and I have to get close to the window. This might sound stupid but, is there anyway I can connect a wifi box up to my laptop and keep it to the window and it works all over my house. Just asking

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  28. DUDE says:

    soda can how tacky, yall make nigga rigging a real thing

  29. adam says:

    does this really work? … Does not work for me any idea for double antenna (two antennas)

  30. michael howard says:

    I’ve tried this and nothing happens

  31. harry Dick says:

    This works like a 1903 automobile , will not increase your speed

  32. Fred Rose says:

    This will not work for me as my router has built in antenna not an external one

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Drew Hendricks is the Co-Founder of Mens Gifts. He's been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Inc. and Entrepreneur covering business and tech related topics.

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