Want to double the range of your Wi-Fi access point without resorting to pricey high-gain antenna upgrades or proprietary tweaks to the 802.11 standard? Then UK start-up Tritium reckons it has the answer.
Enter the Flatenna, a DIY parabolic reflector which when punched out of its cardboard surround, assembled, mounted on your access point's external antenna and - crucially - turned to face your PC, will yield the boost to range or signal strength, its maker claims.
Indeed, add a second £10 Flatenna to your PC's aerial, and you could "achieve five times the [usual] range under the right conditions", Tritium says. Essentially, the foil-backed cardboard add-on acts as a parabolic reflector, allowing you to maximise the signal in your chosen direction.
Tritium managing director Carl Schofield says the gizmo was developed to facilitate a community shared broadband network in London's Isle of Dogs area. The group needed a cheap way of improving the inter-building wireless links that make the network possible. Having come up with a successful design for the community project, Tritium decided to offer the add-on to other users.
"We designed something to meet our local need and realised that we had a great product on our hands," he said. "There is a need for Wi-Fi range improvements in the home to reach the bottom of the garden or that room in the attic."
We haven't tried it, but if you feel like giving Flatenna a go, it is available now from Tritium's web site. ®