Yesterday, I got poking around the Lair’s wifi with some signal analysis tools. The interference and terrible signal to noise ratios I had to fight in the recording studio are just as bad in wifi, if not worse. It’s really terrible.

But check this out – I think I’ve sussed part of it. In the illustration below, the red bar is the giant cement retaining wall. The bar is not actually to scale, sorry about that – it should be thicker, because it contains a lot of rebar. The gradients of colour are wifi strength, from a nearby hotspot which is not ours. I picked this one because it shows the effect best, but it shows up in imagery of other transmitters as well.

Do you see what’s going on here? The rebar in the retaining wall appears to be acting as a crude parabolic reflector. This relatively-hot-spot is showing up in all of the maps, pretty clearly, except for the ones where that area shows up as a shadow of reduced strength. I think those are signals from transmitters from the other side of the wall.

I mean honestly, look at this. Am I wrong? This is so neat. And I’m wondering if this is the cause of some of our other interference problems as well, like possibly even the BBC-World-Service-on-the-house-mains issues.

All sorts of wireless things act very strangely here. Even AM/FM radio. And I’m starting to wonder if there’s a way to improve the grounding on the rebar. I can’t imagine how, but still.

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