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 LATEST TOPICS |  FORUMS » NETWORKING » ALUMINUM FOIL AND ROUTERS...
Subject: Aluminum Foil and Routers
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Joezillah Jan 15, 2011 05:57 PM Reply | Bookmark
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I have a wireless N router in my basement, and have heard that aluminum foil can boost signal strength. Has anyone heard this/confirmed this? The only things I've heard about this type of thing is back in 2007 with Wireless G networking. Nothing with wireless N. Thoughts?

Topic URL: http://forums.ncix.com/forums/topic.php?id=2300134

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{--M--} Jan 15, 2011 06:00 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Yes, it works, when done properly.

Essentially what you are doing with the foil is you are creating a parabolic reflector thus turning the antenna into a directional antenna, which is good if your wireless devices are all located in one general direction from the router. However the technique will obviously not work if devices are located all around the router in all directions.

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Joezillah Jan 15, 2011 06:09 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Hmm. 2 things:

What if it's a router that doesn't have an antenna? Should I just treat the whole thing as an antenna?

With my setup, most computers are on the 2nd floor and the router is in the basement adjacent to a wall (townhouse). So I put foil towards the wall and beneath the router leaving essentially a 270 degree spherical radius around it (if it works properly).

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NArkshaRK Jan 15, 2011 06:13 PM Reply | Bookmark
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All radios have antennas, including any "wireless" devices such as laptops and cellphones, however often it is so small that it is physically inside the device.

Just take a tin foil pie plate and smooth into a bowl or something. That's probably what you already did. Run a program like inSSIDer on a laptop, or any computer with a wireless card, and you can quantitatively record signal strengths, adn see for yourself if tinfoil helps or not.

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Scott_H Jan 15, 2011 06:20 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Cantenna

http://www.turnpoint.net/wireless/cantennahowto.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantenna

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SixDs Jan 15, 2011 06:22 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Ohhhhh. I thought they were just little hats to keep the government from accessing your wireless connection. I guess I should turm mine around the other way, eh?

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Joezillah Jan 15, 2011 06:58 PM Reply | Bookmark
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So the consensus is that the aluminum foil (or can) actually does reflect the signal (and thereby amplifying it)? Can anyone point to any scientific studies or anything about this?

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Vlad_28 Jan 15, 2011 07:11 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Yeah, it's a great idea, just put your router and each access point into old aluminum buckets, that should really improve your signal.

It will also look amazing, and make for a great conversation starter when (if) anyone comes to visit.

On a second thought, one could also sell stuff like this... "The amazing Ultimate Rangebooster - trailer park edition."




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Joezillah Jan 15, 2011 07:28 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Not about being pretty. It's in a basement that's hardly being used. Just another option instead of justifying an extra cost for a repeater or even a powerline system. If it works, then I'm fine with it. As long as I know it works..

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PEBKACAttacK Jan 15, 2011 08:49 PM Reply | Bookmark
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I take it you have one of those crap linksys routers with no antennae on it is what you are referring to..

You might be better off getting a repeater or trying to move the router higher up in the basement to see if you can get it to punch through floor boards. False ceiling is the way to go if you have it

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{--M--} Jan 15, 2011 09:29 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Quote: (Joezillah @ Jan 15 2011, 06:58 PM)

So the consensus is that the aluminum foil (or can) actually does reflect the signal (and thereby amplifying it)?


It doesn't amplify the signal. You can think of it more as a focusing the energy in one direction rather than allowing it to propagate in all directions.

Quote: (Joezillah @ Jan 15 2011, 06:58 PM)

Can anyone point to any scientific studies or anything about this?


Google and you shall find. Might also want to research electromagnetic wave propagation, lots of neat stuff there.

Essentially your tin foil is just an improvised parabolic antenna. You can actually buy manufactured parabolic antennas as well as other types of directional antennas such as yagi antennas.

Anyways, as far as routers with built-in antennas go, it's not going to work as well. The antenna in such routers is often just a circuit trace on the board with a shape and length designed to radiate the signal in as many directions as possible. Unlike a router with a monopole antenna, you don't have a clearly defined focal point for your parabolic reflector. You'd pretty much have to build a giant tin foil parabola and stick the entire router in it's focal point.

Yet another disadvantage of the aesthetically pleasing design of routers these days. I never considered external antennas to be unsightly but I guess someone out there did...

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NArkshaRK Jan 15, 2011 11:01 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Quote: (Joezillah @ Jan 15 2011, 06:58 PM)

Can anyone point to any scientific studies or anything about this?


Seriously, did you even read my post? I showed you exactly how to test for yourself. It takes just a few minutes.

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Joezillah Jan 15, 2011 11:08 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Can't use Inssider. The only laptop I have is a macbook pro. Plus the one I saw on there is for linux?

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