If you have a spotty Wi-Fi signal in your home and you're looking for a solution, go into the kitchen.
A new study from researchers at Dartmouth College have found that aluminum cans and aluminum foil can be used effectively to boost wireless signals in the home. The researchers, whose findings were earlier reported on by TechRadar, first tried aluminum drink cans and cut them into a circular shape to reflect a signal towards dead areas. It worked.
After that, they decided to get a little more sophisticated and used an app called WiPrint to develop a reflector that could bounce wireless signals around the home. After their creation was ready to go, they printed it out in plastic with a 3D printer. But that wasn't enough, so they wrapped the reflector in aluminum foil to see how it would spread the wireless signal.
The problem the researchers tried to address was too much wireless signal seeping into two rooms in the house and not enough wireless signal getting into an area where it would be used most. By creating the reflector and combining it with aluminum foil, they were able to dramatically reduce the seeping of signal into the unused rooms and deliver far more signal to the room they wanted to deliver more wireless to.
So, how does the reflector actually work? After it's printed, aluminum foil is placed atop it. The reflector is then placed around the antennas on the wireless router. The placement is designed to stop signals from going in one direction and reflecting those trying to go elsewhere into an area where it's most desired.
Of course, there are directional antennas available for those who don't want to craft their own aluminum foil attachment, but the researchers were quick to note that their solution cost only $35 -- that's significantly less than store-bought options.
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Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.