To summarize the pros and cons, it's definitely fun to do it. It might save you some money if the saving money is interesting enough for you to embark on this for that reason this is your own personal decision it's definitely educational even if you don't do it for the financial reasons if you want to teach wireless networking to a class of students whoever they might be just the learning effect from building antennas and studying how they work might be worth it reasons not to do it the prices have dropped a lot over the last years over say the 20 years of wi-fi that we've seen now and part of the reason is of course the success that wi-fi has had the numbers bring down the price so in many cases the difference in money spent alone isn't motivation enough anymore another tendency is that the more advanced wi-fi gets higher frequencies more complex technologies like multiple in multiple out mimo beam shaping and so forth you get more complex antennas you get smaller antennas and very very often they would be integrated into the access point or wireless router the newer wi-fi standards in particular y556 these are working with mimo and beam shaping and then antennas become a lot more complex and a lot more difficult to build at least they're not as easy to build in the old fashioned ways that we showed you here right now there's new ways though that you could try out so here's an example of this this integration that i talked about here you have an access point meant for a point-to-point link this is a ubiquiti model where you can see it actually the access point disappears into the feed of this parabola dish so the two things are not really independent parts that you could you know just build one and then the other thing they are highly integrated the new types of antennas that i mentioned open some interesting perspectives that we haven't seen that much yet off but it's happening you can build antennas that combine printed elements with three-dimensional elements the example shown here comes from a iot logo one antenna rather than a wi-fi antenna it's an antenna for a circular polarization and it combines a pcp pcb part printed with a sort of second layer a bottom pcb and a top pcb so it's has two dimensional elements arranged in a three-dimensional setup these are very easy to make if you have uh a possibility to make pcbs to burn those yourself or do it in a really do-it-yourself way the source is given here if you would like to study this particular antenna another field which is becoming more and more interesting is i mentioned beam shaping multiple in out beam shaping antennas are typically arrays that work with phase shifting to achieve the directionality of the beam and there is ways of actually building those yourself the arrays become typically printed or soldered arrays and then the beam shifting actually moves very much into the software part of it keyword software-defined radios you're controlling not only frequencies and modulations you're controlling phase shifts and stuff so this opens some interesting possibilities for building your own antennas but we haven't seen as many of these yet it's still fairly new and it's also more difficult to do our summary here do-it-yourself approaches to antennas and to wireless in general it's worth it for the fun and for the education whether it makes sense for you budget wise depends on your budget your ambition your skills your people nobody else can decide that for you the designs and guides are freely available it's interesting to look into new ways of doing antennas printed ones pcb ones and so forth but in whatever you do please keep an eye on what is the size of the network the ambition of the network you're building remember that things might be very fun to build and to put together from these old things but that doesn't necessarily make it a good idea in the long run because you'll also want to maintain this manage it keep it running monitor and so forth. So try to balance these aspects when you make your decisions about do-it-yourself wireless.
© Produced by Philip Smith and the Network Startup Resource Center, through the University of Oregon.
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