New low-priced device developed to boost wireless signal strength

New low-priced device developed to boost wireless signal strength

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

The latter could be useful for preventing your wireless signal leaking out of your home (perhaps via a window) and being latched onto by a hacker, and in general terms, it can help prevent signal leakage and Wi-Fi interference (a common problem in apartment blocks, for example, where loads of people have loads of wireless routers packed into a small space). The optimized reflector works by shaping wireless signals, which not only increases network coverage, but allows signals to move freely and avoid obstructions such as walls or panels. "Not only do we strengthen wireless signals, we make those same signals more secure". The same tech also makes it more hard for attackers by adding to existing security measures by physically confining wireless signals to limited spaces. The outlandish theory that foil improves a signal might not be so bogus after all.

According to Engadget, the reflectors are based on the idea of using an aluminium soda can behind a router to concentrate its signals in a specific direction. The researchers have managed to create exactly that, but one that's made of plastic and a thin layer of metal. The next step in the research is to investigate reflectors that are able to change their shape automatically to change with interior layouts.

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After testing the approach in two different interiors for signal strength and speed, the researchers reported that optimized 3-D reflectors provide numerous benefits including: strong physical security, low cost, and ease of use for non-expert users. To upgrade such a reflector, the researchers wrote a special algorithm. One of the next goals for the project will be to develop adaptable reflectors which can change their structure and shape when an interior layout changes. The team also developed an approach to simulating how radio signals spread and interact with objects in their environment. 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. The reflector is then placed around the antennas on the wireless router. The team successfully analyzed the space in a room and created a custom reflector that could improve Wi-Fi signals inside it. The team will also examine higher frequency bands such as millimeter waves and visible light.

The researchers say they will continue developing and advancing their WiFi enhancing technology, and will be exploring the use of different materials for the reflectors.

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