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Communications Wireless Networking

New Houses Killing Wi-Fi 358

Barence writes "Poor Wi-Fi or mobile reception is one of the banes of modern living — and modern building techniques could be making things worse. PC Pro has photos of a new-build being covered from floorboards to rafters in a tin-foil like material. The "highly reflective" material could have unpredictable results for radio signals, potentially bouncing mobile signals away from the house or preventing Wi-Fi signals from reaching the garden. And the new householder is likely to be none the wiser."
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New Houses Killing Wi-Fi

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  • Non-issue really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @09:31AM (#35817036)

    Insulation isn't usually put on interrior walls and I have no need to broadcast my wifi outside of my house. Those that do can position their WAP near a window.

    I'm also certain this is not an a recent issue. Almost all the insulation I've seen, apart from spray insulation, has some kind of foil-like backing.

    Maybe complainers should spend 2 minutes trying a different wifi channel instead of blaming their home.

  • by SpiralSpirit ( 874918 ) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @09:36AM (#35817100)
    it reflects huge amounts of radiant energy transfer from your envelope materials away from the interior of your home, making it that much more efficient to cool, and during winter it helps keep the heat inside the house. The wifi 'issue' just doesn't seem to be that much of an issue when you're talking about one of the core efficiencies in your house, and one of the biggest loads on the nation's energy usage.
  • awesome (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spirit_fingers ( 777604 ) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @09:37AM (#35817126)

    At least I won't have to wear my tinfoil hat at home.

  • by capnkr ( 1153623 ) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @09:44AM (#35817186)
    A networking company I've done contract work for has a small hotel client constructed with steel framing instead of wood. Only 2 floors, 8 rooms per side/floor, front and back, but WiFi is a nightmare. There are *5* AP's in the building; one central, 2 each in the attic space either side of the central router, & one AP even has to have a yagi on it to reach into the bottom, corner room with signal strength sufficient to keep hotel guests from complaining. After working there 3 times in the past 2 years resolving issues, I think that steel construction is more of a concern than a radiant barrier layer on the insulation of an exterior wall...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2011 @09:46AM (#35817222)

    Yea, you might. The article has no evidence, conducted no tests, and received no information from the manufacturer or really anyone else. They saw something that looked like tinfoil on an unfinished house, and then wrote a completely speculative article claiming that it will affect wireless waves. My parents house is covered in a material that looks exactly the same (no idea if it actually is the same). I can sit by the pool 20 yards from the house and easily get a strong signal to the wireless router in the kitchen. Maybe this new stuff is different and maybe it causes a problem, but it's flat out irresponsible to write an article claiming that it's a problem without a shred of evidence.

  • by Fujisawa Sensei ( 207127 ) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @09:55AM (#35817318) Journal

    Wow, talk about content free.

    That article had even less content than the guy who was pushing his blog posts awhile back.

    Your insulation 'might' be blocking wifi &/or 3g. But we don't know, we didn't bother to do any actual research.

  • than spend $500 more in heating costs every year

    i for one welcome our new tin foil energy saving house overlords

  • Re:Grounded? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by macraig ( 621737 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [giarc.a.kram]> on Thursday April 14, 2011 @10:09AM (#35817470)

    The material is being used for its additive insulation value, PERIOD. It is not a moisture barrier, nor is it there to block "sheetrock mites". WTF? THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SHEETROCK MITES.

    Good grief. The original unsubstantiated hysteria in TFA was bad enough; don't heap more FUD on the pile.

  • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @10:09AM (#35817474)
    More over, this article contains no fact or anything close to it about whether this material affects transmission at all. It was simply a blogger walking past a house being built and saying "hmm", then googling. The material is said to have "reflectivity", but of what? It never says it's constructed of metal or a problem material, the blogger just describes it as "foil-like". What if it means heat reflectivity? What effect exactly has been studied in materials that appear to the eye to be "foil like"? This is just poppycock on the level of "Well I don't see how the towers could have fell down... gubment musta put nukes in the basement!"
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @10:19AM (#35817578) Homepage

    Only because you chose to not fix that problem.

    $1500 to have the house insulation upgraded.
    $6800 to have the AC and furnace changed over to a SEER 18 and a 98% efficient setup.
    $6500 to have new double pane windows installed
    $1100 to have the house checked for air leaks and those fixed with caulking.

    My winter heating bill IN January when it was 6-10 degrees F outside most of the time in michigan up where we get real snow was $80.00, December was less and Febuary was less.

    and you can do all of that in stages. the furnace and AC I got $1500.00 off my taxes because I bought them, that paid for the insulation. The windows we did over the course of a year one window at a time. I had a carpenter show me the first two times, I did the rest except for the big 8'X12' picture windows in the front room.

    Stopping restaurants for 2 years paid for the windows, insulation and air leak check and repair. The furnace and AC were paid for by not buying a new car this year, suffering with a 42" 720p plasma, and torturing my family by not going to Florida for a 1 week vacation but staying home. I know I should be turned in for torturing my family.

    Most people live in old houses with crap insulation and crap windows that have a 600 year old furnace in the basement that are never maintained properly. Your home is in disrepair, fix it and your heat and AC bills drop like a rock.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken