Researchers have discovered that using aluminum foil in a specific 3-dimensional shape can improve your WiFi’s signal and security. The researchers tested multiple shapes and styles of foil, and here’s what they found can help the most.
Researchers at Dartmouth University have discovered the unique new way to improve WiFi. “With a simple investment of about $35 and specifying coverage requirements, a wireless reflector can be custom-built to outperform antennae that cost thousands of dollars,” said Xia Zhou, a Dartmouth assistant professor.
Imagine that! Our grandparents were correct! Antennae and foil do, indeed mix quite well.
The project, which first appeared on Eurekalert, involves placing a reflector on and around a Wi-Fi router’s antennae to shape the beam. This will help by increasing the WiFi’s range and it will prevent the WiFi from passing through to unwanted spaces (like the street).
According to their paper, Zhou and his colleagues tested multiple styles of directional antennas and also tested an “anecdotal” solution that involved sticking a soda can behind a router to shape the radio waves towards a target. After a few iterations, they were able to create specific shapes to increase Wi-Fi reception in specific rooms. They then created a program called WiPrint that 3D prints the exact shape needed to form the beams for better coverage and security. Once printed all you have to do is cover the specific shapes in aluminum foil.
The team also discovered that their reflectors could accurately shape Wi-Fi beams to avoid some spaces and favor others, thereby increasing security and coverage for personalization. For example, you could shape your beam to avoid going out a window into the street but be stronger in the room you often work in.
The software is not yet released to create the specific shapes needed, but the team is still actively working toward making WiFi better and more personal to those who use it.
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