The promise of Wi-Fi is freedom-the ability to bring your laptop or PDA away from the anchor that is your desk and into your life. With most wireless routers, however, your life had better stop at around 300 feet, and forget about heading outside. Between the noise generated by other local wireless devices and physical obstacles like furniture and walls, chances are your Wi-Fi signal is little more than a whisper by the time it hits your backyard. So I built a box that can pick up that signal and boost it another 200 to 300 feet. It uses a Linksys Wi-Fi range expander ($100; linksys.com) modified with an omnidirectional 9dBi antenna ($58; pacwireless.com). To avoid unsightly extension cords in the flower bed, I added a lead-acid battery ($22; radioshack.com) and a 10-watt solar panel ($119; sundancesolar.com) to charge it.