Fix Your Wi-Fi With Tinfoil
Updated: Sep 2, 2020
I called Tech Support when my Wi-Fi quit working. The person I spoke to was named Sjidoee, “but you may call me Paul.”
“First, physically connect your computer to the router box with a cable.” Easier said than done. I live in a modern home where the only internet connection comes in through the back of the closet. No need to keep the ugly router in plain sight.
Paul had me go to a screen with a bunch of settings. “What channel is it on?”
“Try channel 4 and see if it’s better. Sometimes your pipes or the cement in the walls block the signal.”
What? All this modern technology and I’m trying another channel. Maybe I should give the box a good kick and see if that helps. It’s not like I moved the pipes or cement in my house since the last time the Wi-Fi worked.
I tried several more channels before Paul gave up on me and sent a new router. The experience reminded me of the days of putting tinfoil on the rabbit ear T.V. antenna to improve the signal. I actually found a YouTube video about how to cover your rabbit ears in foil. This red-neck guy even promises another video about how to get free cable legally.
I never carefully wrapped my foil like this guy does. I wadded it in a giant ball. Someone would watch the TV while I adjusted the ball for the best reception. Then, when I let go, the picture went fuzzy. I had become part of the antenna. Someone would have to hold the antenna with the foil while watching the show, hopefully not me.
Occasionally, I still do this with the radio. My teenage daughter and her friends marveled at the strangeness of the foil. When one girl wanted to try something, I handed her the roll. She got excited. Soon everyone was wearing alien hats.
No matter how fancy technology gets, it is still subject to the laws of physics, which is why Paul talked about cement and pipes and such. Some technology seems obsolete, like walkie-talkies and old-fashioned land surveying equipment. Why not just use cell phones and GPS?
These things work great as long as I stay in the invisible network of wireless signals.
Ask a farmer or forest ranger how well a cell phone works for them. I got a great signal on the top of a fourteen-thousand-foot mountain, but there are lots of dead spots on the way up.
GPS doesn’t work in an underground mine at all. As old-fashioned surveying becomes a lost art, the miners will be the only ones who know how to operate the equipment. Good thing I’m married to a miner.
As for me, I tend to live in out-of- the-way places and have “prepper” tendencies. I’ll hang on to my roll of foil and walkie-talkies. I may look like an alien, but I’ll be ready.
And next time my router fails, I’ll try the tinfoil before I call “Paul” in tech support.