Welcome to my page on the web about building a ‘cantenna’. If you don’t know what a cantenna is or how to build one, don’t worry, I will be going into detail on both of these subjects. A little background info on this blog is that it is being created as part of an IT class project at Bellevue College in Bellevue, Washington. Our final class project is to build and test a cantenna and document the process in a blog. What you are reading right now is the result of that documenting. It is my hope that this page can live on and be useful to someone else who is interested in building and testing a cantenna themselves. If you are contemplating doing this then perhaps you will find this page useful.
George Scott Cameron
What is a cantenna and why would I want to build one in the first place?
Besides being a fun project to undertake, building a cantenna is useful. It will help your wireless connection reach places that it could not before. Simply put, a cantenna is a highly directional antenna created from a can – ergo, can-antenna. Various can types and metal tubes can be utilized when constructing a cantenna. For instance, Iexperimented by using a coffee can, a tract lighting canister, a piece of stove-pipe and a fruit cocktail can. Each had its benefits and drawbacks as I will explain later in the cantenna build diary. The diameter of the can opening is critical as is the placement of your antenna element as you will see later. Therefore, can selection and experimentation is a very important part of this project.
The reasons for wanting to build acantenna are many. Say for instance you want to use your laptop or other wireless device outside in your backyard and your router/wireless access points signal does not reach there. A cantenna is one possible solution. Suppose you are not able to pick up a strong enough wireless signal upstairs to connect reliably to the net? Again, a cantenna could prove to be a perfect solution. However, there is a caveat.
Unlike the antenna that came with your router or wireless access point, a cantenna is not omni-directional. A cantenna is a highly directional antenna type that focuses your wireless signal is one direction. That is how it is able to achieve such great range over your routers stock antenna. Seattle Wireless has a great article on directional waveguide antennas that should illuminate their various properties and characteristics in more detail than this blog is intended to provide.