If you have ever felt frustrated due to the bad signal of Wifi in certain buildings or rooms, we may have some good news: a fix could be on the way.
A team of researchers from the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) and the University of Rennes found a new way that could help Wi-Fi signals pass through walls.
Most of us are familiar with that annoyance: the Wi-Fi signal works fine when you’re in the same room as the router, but things go south when you go to a different part of the building. While the issue isn’t completely fixed yet, researchers may have found a way that it could one day be resolved. They published their findings in the journal Natureand the article was later shared by TechRadar.
As things stand now, Wi-Fi signals are reflected or absorbed by solid walls. This drastically reduces the quality of the transmission, to the point where you may find yourself losing signal in some parts of the house. The researchers found a way that could alleviate that problem almost completely. They refer to it as “calculating” an anti-reflective structure that allows the signal to pass through without any problem.
TU Wien professor Stefan Rotter compares this technology to the use of an anti-reflective coating on the glasses that many of us wear every day. Rotter said, “You add an extra layer to the surface of the glasses, which makes light waves get through to your eyes better than before: reflection is reduced.”
To achieve this, the researchers set up an experiment that sent small waves through a difficult obstacle course. Obviously, the result was what many of us might have expected: a patchy connection in certain areas. However, the recreation of the same environment with the addition of an anti-reflective structure almost completely eliminated the reflection of Wi-Fi signals, clearing up all the problems encountered in the previous attempt.
Michael Horodynski of TU Wien elaborated on this, saying: “First, you simply have to send certain waves through the medium and measure exactly how these waves are reflected by the material. We were able to show that this information can be used to calculate a corresponding compensation structure for any medium that scatters the waves in a complex way, such that the combination of both media allows the waves to pass completely.”
According to the researchers, their calculations could one day create a coating that completely blocks all reflection. They suspect that wave dynamics and wave dispersion will be an important part of the introduction of 6G connections. For now, we still have to make do with less than stellar Wi-Fi, but it’s good to know that help could be on the way in the future.