A group of computer scientists have figured out a cheap and effective way of improving your WiFi with tin foil.
Sharing access WiFi can be a pain in the rear, a really sore – and often irritating, one. Especially if you work in an office where having a strong WiFi signal is paramount. The minute it goes down we’re all like a herd of deer lost on the motorway, running towards the headlights of an 18-wheeler.
Which is why we welcome and applaud this ingenious idea to get a stronger WiFi signal.
Most tech companies would usually point you in the direction of using so-called ‘mesh-networks’ however this can be quite costly, unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. But a team of researchers have discovered you can achieve the same results using a 3D-printed reflector wrapped up in aluminium foil.
Speaking to EurekAlert, Xia Zhou, who is an assistant professor in Computer Science at Dartmouth College and helped with this discovery, said:
Through this single solution, we address a number of challenges that plague wireless users.
Not only do we strengthen wireless signals, we make those same signals more secure.
Zhou and his crew of experts used a special 3D printed material to get the ideal shape they needed to make this process the success it is, however they realise not everyone has access to a 3D printer. They do suggest using cardboard to create the desired wavy form however it may not as be effective.
Zhou goes on to say:
With a simple investment of about $35 (£26) and specifying coverage requirements, a wireless reflector can be custom-built to outperform antennae that cost thousands of dollars.
Their early research had shown aluminium cans placed behind a router can help set the WiFi signal in a certain direction – their new study adds further substance to their findings.
To achieve their goal, the team of researchers – who are from; Dartmouth College, University of Washington, UC Irvine and Columbia University – came up with an algorithm which optimises a reflector’s 3D construct to pin-point wireless signals. They also developed an approach to duplicating the expansion of radio signals and its interaction with objects within their vicinity.
You Can See How They Pulled It Off In This Video Below
After testing their approach in two different interiors for signal strength and speed the team found a ‘strong physical security, low cost, and ease of use for non-expert users’.
The team’s next step is to study how reflectors, made from different materials, can adapt their shape through various interior layouts. They will also be examining the high frequency bands such as millimetre waves and visible light.