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I have a decommissioned satellite dish antenna and I’d like to get a stronger signals from nearby Wi-Fi source.

I could mount an antenna at the focal point of the dish, as long as the router allowed external antenna.

Would this conflict with modern routers that have beam forming technology?

Anyone ever try this?

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It can work. It works much better if there are no obstructions in the beam path - using a reflector or other beam-concentrating antenna does not make "the problems with trees and buildings in the way" go away.

I have played around with this just using a stainless steel bowl as a crude reflector. For actual deployments, I use real antennas built from the ground up for the purpose; so the closest I've gotten to repurposing a satellite dish would be that stainless steel bowl.

Small hint towards success - separate the concepts of "router" and "WiFi access point" in your mind. Very common to conflate them. Also helps you miss most of the gear that will do the sort of job you want to do here, which are the latter, not the former. Nothing about the function of a router has anything to do with WiFi, other than low-end consumer gear putting the two in one box.

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    Great point about conflating AP and Router - a reminder I seem to have needed. Thanks! I get some signal now, but it’s low and slow. I’m hoping a directed antenna would reduce errors and might be faster. One related concern: focused antenna needs careful aiming. Are there devices that give signal strength feedback? – jbbenni Feb 6 at 20:45
  • Yes, better APs will give signal strength feedback (in percentages or dB, not as "number of bars" which is generally too crude to be useful.) – Ecnerwal Feb 6 at 20:48
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    Goggle "satellite dish wifi extender" and you'll find several videos and articles on things people have tried. Back in the day of pringles can and soup can Wi-Fi antenna experimentations many ideas like this have been tried. – DaveM Mar 16 at 4:52
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Maybe, but there are lots of details about digital signal processing that are more complicated than just using a reflector.

Luckily, one of them is a simple off-the-shelf solution: your antenna. Most consumer wifi equipment uses an omni-directional antenna, so it can receive and send in any direction. For a fixed power you can imagine that some of your signal goes off in a direction you don't care about.

Instead your could try directional antennas (which may include a dish) and point then directly at their stationary target. A web search for "directional wifi antenna" will get you started.

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Yes it can easily double the signal and it costs you nothing but a little of your time so give it a try.

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  • Modern wifi Access Points seem to have multiple antennae, and tout their beam forming abilities. Should I try to find an AP with a single detachable antenna, or use one antenna from a device with multiple? – jbbenni Apr 1 at 22:22

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