Tinfoil really does boost your Wi-Fi

Tinfoil really does boost your Wi-Fi

"Not only do we strengthen wireless signals, we make those same signals more secure".

Other research from the same team has also found that putting a can behind your router can strengthen the signal, so if you can't be bothered to shell out on a 3D printed reflector you can always just shove a can of coke there. The reflector redirected the wireless signal to the areas in the room which have limited wireless coverage, boosting weak spots.

The team revealed that in shaping the signal, interference is reduced and the impact of building materials (which harm signal) lessened. The same tech also makes it more hard for attackers by adding to existing security measures by physically confining wireless signals to limited spaces. Existing approaches to optimizing wireless signals rely on directional antennae to concentrate signals, but this equipment is either hard to configure or beset by high cost.

However, while a 3D-printer reflector is ideal, as it is more accurate, the team also said it could be created using cardboard, with the bespoke router cover funnelling Wi-Fi to where it's most needed. In the case of physical security, the reflector was able to decrease signal range in unwanted areas by 10dB, providing many obvious benefits for physical security.

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According to a report in EurekAlert, the custom-built reflector, which is made of plastic and thin metal, essentially works as a signal-shaper.

As the team's WiPrint technology now stands, the program is capable of generating an "optimized reflector shape" in just 23 minutes, which takes into account the router location in an interior space as well as the target area for signal, etc. The goal is to create a flexible customized reflector that can adapt to changes that can affect its efficiency, such as the layout of the household it's in. More specifically, they discovered that the reflectors were capable of decreasing the WiFi strength by up to 10 dB for blocked areas and strengthening it by 6 dB for target areas. The reflector is then placed around the antennas on the wireless router. Based on these settings, the technology calculates the optimal shape of the reflector, which can be printed on a 3D printer for $ 35, this information clarifies associate Professor College Xia Ju.

Other researchers involved in the study included Dartmouth's Xi Xiong, Ethan Yu, and Nisha Kumari; University of Washington's Justin Chan; University of California-Irvine's Ardalan Amiri Sani; and Columbia University's Changxi Zheng.

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