Hate the fact your Wi-Fi signal is ruined by anything from walls to inclement weather? Well a new study has found a super cheap – and rather cute way – of boosting it…
And what is the fix? A little tin foil hat, which will most certainly give your router a “tiny conspiracy theorist” look. Yes, I’m serious.
It sounds a little silly, doesn’t it? How on earth does something found in the kitchen drawer solve all of your router-based problems?
In fact, in a statement made by Xia Zhou – one of the assistant professors on the research – it doesn’t just “strengthen” the wireless signals, it also makes “those same signals more secure.”
What sort of scientific sorcery is at play here?
Well, turns out it was found by accident. Through earlier research, scientists stumbled onto the fact that putting an aluminium fizzy drink can behind a router improved its signal – with the reasoning being that the signals beamed out of the router were reflected in more directions thanks to the can’s surface. After that little discovery, they turned their attention to whether a specifically shaped chunk of aluminium foil could improve on this.
Short answer: it does. Long answer: it does, but requires a very specific shape. The team perfected their design using some pretty complex computational algorithms, to work out the optimum shape for the router.
While that does mean it’s not specifically a hat shape, calling it a “virtual wall” (the name researchers gave it) would not have made sense, and describing it as the foil-based, weirdly shaped snake it resembles would be too confusing. But the bizarre decoration works, and is compatible with a range of routers available off-the-shelf.
The foil is focussing the router’s signals far more effectively than their current output, improving the connections of a router rather significantly.
As for the future of this study, a peer-reviewed version has not been released yet, but why should you care? I’ve just saved you a whole lot of wi-fi-based frustration with a simple piece of foil. No word on how it boosts security either – one of the researchers’ claims; but I’m guessing it’s down to the foil only boosting the signal in specific directions, rather than spread widely, stopping hackers from intercepting.
But give it a go! I’m sure your Virgin Media box would look good with a hat on…
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.