Aluminum foil and 3D printing can boost the range and security of your Wi-Fi router, according to new research from Dartmouth College.
Researchers at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, have discovered an application for aluminum foil beyond the typical Sunday roast dinner.
They can use it to increase the range, speed and reception of WiFi signals. Moreover, it can shape those signals in ways that make your router even more secure.
The method described in their paper is a bit more elaborate than plonking a tin-foil hat onto the router, however.
Instead of putting foil directly on the router’s antenna, they used a 3D printed shape wrapped in aluminum, and then placed it around the antenna.
And here’s the exciting part; the 3D reflector can be custom-formed to fit any router design, and boost its signal to precise specifications.
It’s possible to fabricate one that blocks the signal from going out the window, for example, but increases the range, speed and reliability within a specific room in the house.
To create the antenna boosters, Zhou and her colleagues developed a software program called WiPrint. By inputting the desired signal shape requirements, the app creates an STL file for 3D printing. Once printed, the next step is to wrap it up in foil and you’re ready to go.
The researchers cite how their technique is cheap and effective. And it’s going to be a huge relief for anyone experiencing slowdown when online gaming or streaming HD movies.
“Through this single solution, we address a number of challenges that plague wireless users.”
“Through this single solution, we address a number of challenges that plague wireless users,” said Xia Zhou, an assistant professor of computer science at Dartmouth. “Not only do we strengthen wireless signals, we make those same signals more secure.”
Zhou and the rest of the team have presented their findings and the software at the ACM BuildSys 2017 conference in Delft, Netherlands on 8-9 November. Unfortunately, the software is not yet publicly available. Watch the skies for further updates.
License: The text of "Wi-Fi Router Upgraded with Aluminum Foil and 3D Printing" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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