Researchers Confirm That Aluminum Foil Can Improve Your WiFi Signal


They then created a program called WiPrint using a 3D printer and fed their data into that program.

For those who don't have access to a 3D printer, they also note cardboard could do the trick. When placed on or next to your WiFi router, the 3D printed panel should effectively shield your signal from certain areas (such as the outside) and direct stronger signals to the areas you have requested. The team successfully analyzed the space in a room and created a custom reflector that could improve Wi-Fi signals inside it.

Such a system can also make it more hard for attackers by adding to existing security measures like encryption through physically confining wireless signals to limited spaces.

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"Through this single solution, we address a number of challenges that plague wireless users", said Xia Zhou, assistant professor at Dartmouth.

Wrapping a foil around a router's antenna can make for reflectors, which strengthens the signal in one direction.

The reflector developed by the Dartmouth research team was tested with a plethora of routers, including the ones with the latest Wi-Fi protocol 802.11ac.

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That is, by limiting the WiFi signal to certain indoor spaces, users can protect themselves better from nearby cyber attacks or unknown usage, and can even help to reduce interference with their own connections. 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. You can see a demonstration in the video below. How cheap it is. The whole unit (excluding the cost of the 3D printing), costs around $35 (£27), which is much lesser than directional antennas that cost thousands of dollars. At the moment, however, the WiPrint software is not yet commercially available.

It's clever stuff indeed, and the researchers are now looking at ways to use different materials (other than plastic) to refine the WiPrint system further. 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.

The Dartmouth team will be presenting its innovative research this week at ACM's BuildSys 2017 in Delft, The Netherlands.

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