Scientists Have Figured Out a Way to Boost Your WiFi With This Pantry Staple

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Cara Gibbs)

Weak wifi is one of the more infuriating annoyances of modern life. Whether you work from home or are just an avid Netflix watcher, an internet disruption can totally throw off your plans. A team from Dartmouth College has come up with a surprising (and surprisingly simple) way to boost wifi signals — put a tinfoil hat on your router. Yup.

The idea was presented at the International Conference on Systems for Energy-Efficient Built Environments this year and while it sounds too good and simple to be true, it’s apparently effective. Taking off from earlier research where an aluminum can was left by a router, improving its signal, further research adjusted the shape and direction of aluminum to identify the best possible shape for signal strength.

While not a hat in the fedora or three-cornered sense, the 3-D reflector made out of plastic and a thin layer of metal is an affordable and easy way for people to strengthen both their wifi signal and security. Xia Zhou, an assistant professor of computer science at Dartmouth, touted the benefits of the reflector, “with a simple investment of about $35 and specifying coverage requirements, a wireless reflector can be custom-built to outperform antennae that cost thousands of dollars.” I, for one, would happily fork over $35 for faster, safer internet.

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