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General News New low-cost device developed to boost wireless signal strength
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Scientists have developed a low- cost 3D-printed reflector that can increase wireless signal strength and boost security in offices and homes. Researchers led by Dartmouth College in the US developed the cheap, customized reflector that directs wireless signals to where users need them most.

“Through this single solution, we address a number of challenges that plague wireless users,” said Xia Zhou, assistant professor at Dartmouth. “Not only do we strengthen wireless signals, we make those same signals more secure,” said Zhou. Customising the coverage of wireless networks inside buildings is critical for users to improve signal reception in desired areas while weakening signals in others.

By shaping signals, users can increase wireless efficiency through lessening the signal-deadening impact of building materials and interior layouts. Such a system can also make it more difficult for attackers by adding to existing security measures like encryption through physically confining wireless signals to limited spaces, researchers said. Existing approaches to optimising wireless signals rely on directional antennae to concentrate signals, but this equipment is either difficult to configure or beset by high cost.

The team improves upon previous studies that placed an aluminium soft-drink can behind a Wi-Fi access point to strengthen signal in one direction. After assessing interior layouts and the target areas to strengthen or weaken signal strength, the researchers placed a “computationally optimised” signal reflector around a wireless router.

The reflector, composed only of plastic and a thin layer of metal, redirects wireless signals to the desired coverage areas. After testing the approach in two different interiors for signal strength and speed, the researchers reported that optimised 3D reflectors provide numerous benefits including: strong physical security, low cost, and ease of use for non- expert users.

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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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