Solving ISP problem with a Homebrew LTE Yagi

We’ve heard reports that internet connectivity in Australia can be an iffy proposition, and [deandob] seems to back that up. At the limit of a decent DSL connection and on the fringe of LTE, [deandob] decided to optimize the wireless connection with this homebrew Yagi antenna.

Officially known as the Yagi-Uda after its two Japanese inventors from the 1920s, but generally shortened to the name of its less involved but quicker to patent inventor, the Yagi is an antenna that provides high gain in one direction. That a homebrew antenna was even necessary at all is due to [deandob]’s ISP using the 2300MHz band rather than the more popular 2400MHz – plenty of cheap 2.4GHz antennas out there, but not so much with 2.3GHz. With multiple parallel and precisely sized and spaced parasitic elements, a Yagi can be a complicated design, but luckily for [deandob] the ham radio community has a good selection of Yagi design tools available. His final design uses an aluminum rod for a boom, 2mm steel wire for reflectors and directors, and a length of coax as the driven element. The result? Better connectivity that pushes his ISP throttling limit, and no more need to mount the modem high enough in his house to use the internal antenna.

People on the fringes of internet coverage go to great lengths to get connections, like this off-grid network bridge. Or if you’d rather use a homebrew Yagi to listen to meteors, that’s possible too.

33 thoughts on “Solving ISP problem with a Homebrew LTE Yagi

      1. I have make a can-Antenna with a empty fish-food-container. He was 9cm width and 21cm long and made from carton and aluminium-foil inside.
        After the modifications I have closed the plastic cap and put some stretch-foil around the device. After this I have used some white tape to give it a nice colour and hold the Stretch foil together.
        It is connected to a wall under a roof and send the W-Lan signal 150 meter to an other building.

        It works pretty fine and was very cheap.

        1. I’m not saying cantennas are bad, I’m saying pringles cans are totally the wrong size to be used with wifi, they also don’t really conduct electricity… The can needs to be between 70 and 100mm depending on which channel you want to use. I built one with a Bailey’s can that’s just a touch big, but still works.

    1. I made one of these in high school, then I put it on a moving platform so that it would align itself to it’s signal. It just connected to any RF signal, not a 802.11 network specifically. I took it to International Science Fair and had judges call each other on their cell phones standing about 20 feet apart. The can-tenna would point at whoever had the stronger cell radio. Got a little inaccurate when more people filled the room with more cell phones. Good times.

  1. Good on him for brewing his own – the comercial units are Stupidly priced here in OZ.

    And yes I can vouch for the absolutley PATHETIC state of “broadband” once your step outside of NSW (Newcastle Sydney Wollongong) two tin cans and an acoustic coupler is the best our national phone provider can muster.

    ADSL 2 in a regiional CITY is often 0.29Mbps thats not a typo that realy is 0.29 Luckly tonight its a blindingly fast 3.37Mbps.

    1. Blame Tony Abbot and Malcom Turnbul for comming into office and ruining the biggest infrastructure project this country has ever seen by changing from FTTP to some sort of weird mix of technologies (including all kinds of crappy legacy networks like HFC being in the mix)

    2. Hey same deal here in Canada, once your outside the city it’s back to the 19th century, that’s what you get when you have a small population living in a BIG country.

      1. Exactly, you’d have to be a complete clown to not see that if 90% of the people live in 10% of the land then the rest of the country is not going to be as well serviced and the city folk with their 100 megabit/sec fibre optic connections.

    1. The correct method for trimming zip ties is to cut away all but the last quarter inch of the excess in order to ensure that the next person up the ladder gashes open their hand on it.

    2. The polite way is to use good quality electrical tape, a couple of turns of it. This only works if you use the good stuff (e.g.: Scotch 33+ or 66), not the 1.99/roll stuff you get at WalMart or Lowe’s.

      And to weather seal those connectors (probably not necessary in Oz), a self-fusing tape with a vinyl overwrap.

      1. Tell me about it, I thought it would be a good idea to mount a TV antenna on my roof by zipping it to a pipe, worked great for two years and then it blew away in a wind storm.

  2. Australia — well, not 10 miles west from the mega internet superhighway in Ashburn VA, USA, I had to erect a 50-foot tower to beam line-of-sight to a comms tower 10 miles south. Blazing fast at a cost less than 2%/GB of what Verizon was charging for slow-boat LTE with heinous overage charges. Thanks for reminding me how great our American civilization has become.

      1. He’s just giving a cost comparison for the bandwidth. For example if Verizon had charged $10 per GB, then his new internet service would only cost $0.20 per GB.

      2. Sorry — at the avg cost of $8 USD per gigabyte from Verizon, that goes up to $15/GB when you exceed your cap, my current ISP is basically unlimited and not throttled. The 2% per GB is an estimate of how much it costs to have internet service amortizing the cost of tower installation over about 3-5 years. If my current usage were billed at Verizon’s LTE rate my monthly bill would be $2,300 USD, for something approaching a dsl data rate.

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