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  • Smart surface for $5 can double the Wi-Fi signal

    An unstable Wi-Fi connection can occur both at home and in the office — not only because of the long distance to the router but also because of interference from other wireless networks. To solve this problem, engineers from the University of California have developed a "smart surface" that allows you to increase the speed and range of the signal.

    Smart surface for $5 can double the Wi-Fi signal

    The device from engineers at the University of California at San Diego is a 10 by 30 cm circuit board containing 48 small antennas. They combine and reflect incoming Wi-Fi signals from the router, creating a second data stream that provides a more stable connection to the Internet. In addition to increasing the range of the signal, the device can also double the data rate.

    These results were made possible by innovative hardware and algorithms developed by the team. Each antenna is programmed to adjust the phase of the incoming signal or the radio wave it receives. As a result, all waves reflected from the surface have the same phase at the receiver. These waves then merge into one amplified radio wave.

    Smart surface for $5 can double the Wi-Fi signal


    "Initially, the antennas receive incoming signals of different phases, so you get either a weak reflected signal, or there is no signal at all. This is like adding "+1" and "-1". But by changing the phases, we increase the signal strength, " says Manideep Dunna, a doctor in electrical and computer engineering.

    In indoor tests, the device expanded the Wi-Fi range from 30 to 45 meters and doubled the data transfer rate at the signal receiving points. The surface itself can be hung on the walls by analogy with paintings, and thanks to its small size, it does not spoil the interior. In addition, in mass production, one circuit board can cost as little as $5.

    Note that in the past, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created a similar surface that amplifies a Wi-Fi signal by 10 times.

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