Boffins figure out way to boost Wi-Fi transmission through walls by sticking something in front of them

Retro

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Huh? What? That's what I thought, but hang on, by using this new technique, Wi-Fi signals can go through thick walls almost unimpeded. And it's not an April Fools joke or a hoax, either.

According to the team of scientists, which have published their results in the journal Nature (PDF), the solution to this challenge is to take that “randomly disordered medium” (i.e. a wall) and effectively make it translucent to all incoming light waves (radio waves are just another form of light) by placing a tailored complementary medium in front of it.

The idea of essentially adding a second (additional) obstacle to the first one in order to enable such signals to achieve an “almost perfect transmission” when passing through the wall is somewhat of a counter-intuitive solution, but there’s method in the madness.

It's still at the research phase, so don't give up the established ways of improving Wi-Fi signals yet. This would have been the stuff of science fiction once. Don't you just love science? :cool:


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04843-6.epdf (paywall, but abstract can be read in the web browser)
 

Arantor

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Actually doesn’t seem that counter-intuitive to me, but it helps that my wife works in the broader field of radiotherapy so I’ve passively picked up a lot of stuff about how linear accelerators work and the beam targeting involved in targeting cancer cells from outside the body.

An analogy: put a glass of water in the table, look through it - you see the other side refracted and reflected. This is the light waves bending through the material. Now you’re putting a second glass in front of it but magically make it bend back the other way.
 

Retro

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That works for transparent materials, but what they're saying here is that it somehow prevents the walls from attenuating the signal, which doesn't sound straightforward at all, even a scam. I'll properly believe this when I see hard evidence of it working. That's why I worded my OP like that.
 

Arantor

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That’s the thing, it’s actually the same thing.

Radio works by the waves passing through solid objects. Light passes through solid objects too. (Opacity is how we describe how much light gets diffused, refracted or reflected.)

It’s really just what happens when electromagnetic waves meet objects, the waves get bent or shifted, this concept is suggesting that if you pre-bend the waves before it hits the wall, that you can let the wall do the bending it was already doing to “bend the waves back”.

Electronmagnetic waves are cool if hardcore science. I hope someone can explain it better than me though…
 

Retro

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Yeah I don't pretend to understand that science either. I'd probably get a better idea if the research paper wasn't behind that paywall.

A lot of it would be over my head, but I'd probably still understand enough of it to figure out the basics.
 

Crims

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I'll add 2 cents here. I think that coffee shops and hotels etc far in the future with technology that boosts WiFi will probably get more gatekeeping as the amount of WiFi hotspots decreases: It's lucky though no one visits coffee shops unless it's for WiFi.
 

Arantor

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I'll add 2 cents here. I think that coffee shops and hotels etc far in the future with technology that boosts WiFi will probably get more gatekeeping as the amount of WiFi hotspots decreases: It's lucky though no one visits coffee shops unless it's for WiFi.
Fun fact, if I'm in a coffee shop it isn't for their wifi since my tablet with 4G inevitably outperforms their over-contested wifi.
 

Retro

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My fun fact, is that one doesn't know what spying such a third party is doing. If I had to, it would be with the VPN.
 

Crims

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I'd just be happy somewhere someone was trying to decode my stupid texts and not doing something to directly infere with my browsing lol
 
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