Colin Sweetman researches ways of increasing wireless signal levels on your laptop – along with increased levels of embarrassment
No joke: until recently, I was able to walk to my local shop and still receive an internet signal from my house. Now, I practically have to be standing right beside it. WiFi reception is also a problem in the James Joyce Library at this time of the year, plaguing students who “Just want a damn internet connection that fookin’ works!”
We all know how it feels. If you don’t make it to the library before all the nerdlings at half eight in the morning, you suffer the chance to walk around in your big heavy coat, harshly gripping your laptop and fellow cable while what can only be described as a ‘sweaty itch’ consumes your body, the stress of finding a table and plug haunting your mind. All the while, that emphatic sand clock is drumming away down to your latest deadline.
To counter the jealousy that overcomes the student who is looking around the library at various laptops with working browsers and thinking “why is it just mine that isn’t working?”, there is a technique in the shape of end-tunnel light.
I present to you ‘The Windsurfer’, cheaper than buying any other gizmo providing higher frequency to your laptop, and is pretty easy to make at home. All you need is cardboard, tinfoil, a working printer and browser (eep!), and some Pritt Stick. The concept is pretty basic. Hell, this is something you should have learned to do in primary school.
• Download the image (just Google ‘Windsurfer’) and print.
• Cut around the lines and trace onto Cardboard
• Cut out copy of cardboard
• Wrap the cardboard cut-outs in Aluminium foil
• Connect the resulting two-pieces into support slots
• Stick Windsurfer onto piece-of-crap antenna on Wireless Router
• Point it in the direction of your laptop
It is worth mentioning here that attempting to fiddle with the UCD’s routers is probably an offence that will be frowned upon. But nonetheless, desperate times call for desperate measures! This homemade device should effectively rob the signal off the laptops behind the ‘shield’ and direct all towards you and your vicinity.
If you want to take this a step further, you can also steal signal off your next-door neighbour: simply wrap an ethernet cable around your mobile phone, plug one end into your laptop, et voila! Mobile phones are automatically set to find and heighten connectivity; unfortunately, they cannot break security codes though. Boo.
Other practical signal-gaining devices can be found at www.freeantennas.com