Business Technology

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Weak wifi? Use a baking tray

Published 07/11/2011 | 10:32

Technologist Peter Cochrane using a baking tray to improve his computer's wifi access Photo: Peter Cochrane/silicon.com
Technologist Peter Cochrane using a baking tray to improve his computer's wifi access Photo: Peter Cochrane/silicon.com

CONFRONTED with a weak wifi signal and no mobile reception, a top technologist knew exactly the right solution. Use an old baking tray as an amplifier.

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Peter Cochrane, formerly the Chief Technology Officer at BT, was on a boat on the Norfolk Broads but unable to get online. By improvising, he could boost a flagging, useless signal to something much more effective.



Writing on his blog at Silicon.com, Cochrane said that “My mobile phone is showing one bar of 2.5G and one bar of wi-fi. My laptop isn't doing any better, and a data connection is proving impossible. There are some buildings behind the trees on the other side of the river, and my scanner is showing a number of open access wi-fi opportunities. But all I have is what I carry, and that does not include a high-gain antenna.”



The solution was not, however, to stop and visit a nearby community on land. Cochrane instead used an old baking tray to focus the reception.



“Time to improvise,” he wrote. “A visit to the galley turns up a much-used baking tray. A few simple experiments later and I'm able to locate the direction of the 2.5G base station and the strongest wifi signal. So I now have three bars of wifi and 2.5G by way of the unlikely combination of a baking tray and some judicious positioning.”



He concluded: “No matter how well prepared you are, there are times when you don't quite have to hand all the technology you really need. All the other options would have been far more expensive and far less convenient.”



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