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Pringles WiFi Antenna

joe c's cantenna

What is a cantenna? (view how to build images)

When I taught a college class in Network Analysis and Design, I decided it would be both fun and educational to revisit the pringles cantenna, a directional 2.4 Ghz wireless network yagi (also known as a "ray gun" antenna), with a collector rod assembly, compatible with 802.11b and 802.11g wireless networks. My first 2.4GHz cantenna "homebrew" experiment (click on the thumbnail images below) was way back in September 2001 (recorded in cinema verite style as a short digital movie -- currently offline) at the first San Diego "wireless install fest". The design was based on Rob Flickenger's original pringles cantenna article. Time Magazine published an article, the pringles solution, close to a year later. A follow up experiment uses a larger diameter coffee can that is more of a microwave waveguide (a type of radio frequency, or RF, transmission path) style of antenna.

There is evidence that the pringles can (actually a cylindrical cardboard container) with a diameter of 2.835 inches/72mm may not be quite large enough for optimum performance (hack #72). So make it a horn antenna by adding a funnel to it!. Or try experimenting with larger diameter coffee, beef stew and spaghetti sauce cans! Try to get a longer can (old fashioned fruit juice can). Here are some calculations (excel file).

See the Connectors Guide on how to connect an antenna to a wireless device.

Click Images To Enlarge
collector connector element cantenna
bwcollector bwconnector bwelement bwpringlescantenna

Origins of Pringles Chips
"I think Pringles' initial intention was to make tennis balls. But on the day that the rubber was supposed to show up, a big truckload of potatoes arrived. But Pringles is a laidback company. They said "Screw it. Cut em up." ~ the late comedian Mitch Hedberg.

Have you heard about Pringles Prints (pdf), technology that prints directly on individual pringles chips? They use food coloring to print graphics and text right on the potato chips themselves. Read it, then eat it.

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Revised: 03/27/2013