Although the antenna on your wireless router is more sophisticated than a plain old radio antenna, it can sometimes be just as finicky, requiring some modification so that it can send and receive signals in conjunction with your computer’s wireless adaptor. Depending on your situation, it’s possible that a reflector shield can serve as a cheap wireless router signal booster. Sold for as little as $5-12, these devices can sometimes do the trick by focusing your signal in a particular direction, boosting the distance slightly, and blocking out “noise” from interfering wireless devices.
What is a reflector shield?
There are basically two styles of cheap reflector shield available commercially. The first is a folding screen that resembles a miniature room divider, with the panels standing on their own accord behind the router’s antenna. A smaller band attached to the panel edges then hugs the antenna. Another style actually slides over the antenna with a parabolic reflector collar, looking – don’t laugh – like a cross between a maxi pad and a parachute. Both types of wireless signal reflectors are cheap and effective, so the only real difference is appearance and space.
But what does it actually do?
Essentially, a reflector shield can do two things that render it a signal booster for your wireless router. First, it helps block out interference that may be coming from other 2.4 GHz wireless devices, like certain high-quality cordless phones (not the 900 MHz type). When your wireless router is sending and receiving signals to and from your computer, the shield can help block out interference that is “behind” it – maybe even something unknown coming from a neighbor’s apartment! Second, a reflector shield focuses the wireless signal in a particular direction and extends the range slightly. Though you give up the router’s ability to work in all directions (360 degrees), you gain some strength and distance in your chosen direction (usually the 90 to 120 degrees to which the reflector shield is “open”).
Is a reflector shield the right form of signal booster for me?
Because there’s a loss of directionality, the reflector shield may not be a good wireless router signal booster if you have multiple computers spread out in different directions with the router in the center. However, if you have a computer experiencing a weak wireless signal *and* you can focus the signal in that direction without cutting out other computers’ connectivity, then this cheap solution may work. It’s also great if you know that you have another 2.4 GHz wireless device causing problems with your router but don’t want to get rid of it.
Just how cheap is a reflector shield?
Just like the best superboost wifi review, reflector shield is also cheap and really affordable. The typical price range is $5 to $12. Comp USA sells its own cheap “wireless reflector signal booster” for $5, and a similar device is made by Startech.com. For an alternate style, check here. (It’s a British site, but you can similar US versions if you prefer this style).