October 19, 2011, 11:38 AM — A few weeks ago The Chive posted illustrated instructions on how to use an empty beer can to improve a WiFi signal.
Does it work? Beats me; I drink bottled beer. However, Jerry James Stone over at the Discovery website seems to believe the technique has some merit and offered humorous instructions to go along with The Chive's illustrations.
While that might not exactly qualify as peer review, Discovery has always appeared to have an interest in legitimate science, so I'm willing to believe this works until someone can prove it doesn't. (You gotta have standards!)
In a nutshell, here's what you're supposed to do:
1. Take a clean, dry beer can (yes, you also can use a soda can, but that's not as much fun to write or read about).
2. Cut off the bottom.
3. Cut around most of the can near the top, but leave about a half-inch attached (near the pull-tab hole) to keep the cylindrical part of the can connected to the top.
4. Cut up the cylindrical part of the can (bottom to top), opposite the half-inch of aluminum connecting to the can's top.
5. Put an adhesive (blu tack is suggested) on the top of the can.
6. Spread the cylindrical part of the can out so it forms a semi-circle (it should look vaguely like a sailboat).
7. Attach the can to the top of your wireless router.
While the "beer can" WiFi technique appears designed for home wireless routers, there's no reason it can't be adapted to the enterprise. Sure, it's not likely to ever make it into IT "best practices," and might be a hard sell to a CIO. But there's always the cost-savings argument.
Plus, it never hurts to be known in the workplace as an "out of the box" drinker-- I mean, thinker.
If any readers have tried this -- or have their own WiFi signal-strengthening hack -- please let us all know through the comment box below.