Wireless Fidelity

I did this last night but ran out of time to write anything. So, have yesterday’s news today.

Compaq, back open

I popped the top off the computer because I’d installed the router inside a while back to give Wi-Fi access to the machine- the reception was hampered by the antennas being inside the Faraday cage. This caused (reason unknown) the DMZ light to blink. Removing the lid made it stop.

I’d removed the antennas from an old Dell laptop that was scrap, each little green bar has a cellphone and a Wi-Fi antenna in, the Wi-Fi ones being a diversity pair.

Found a nice ground plane for one to sit on, and secured the cables.

antenna at rear

Took apart the original antennas, with strange, large coaxial screw terminals.

old antenna

Lopped the groundplane off.

groundplane gone

Stripped back the dielectric and soldered the cores together. Yes, yes, yes. I know. But I don’t have much else in the way of options.

soldered core

Replaced the missing dielectric with something similar. Black vinyl tape. That’ll work.

new dielectric

Soldered together the waveguide.


Finished off with heat-shrink. I remembered to put some on this side. The other one, I did not remember.

heat shrink

Took the other antenna and mounted it on top of the case on the opposite corner. The little silvered pads between the red sticky foam are made from a conductive metal weave, and connects the antenna to the metal it’s on, providing a better groundplane for decent broadcast. Range is win!

sticky foam antenna

Screwed it all together, lots of wiring inside now that’s a bit untidy (project for another day).

wire spaghetti

Running a wireless scan with the case all back together is promising. The DMZ light no longer blinks and the signal reception is significantly improved. Those results are from neighboring houses. I was lucky to pick up my own Wi-Fi inside this house before.


Net result? Success.

Leave a Reply