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Science Technology

Anti-WiFi Wallpaper Available Next Year 167

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the orbital-mind-control-lasers dept.
hypnosec writes with good news for folks who want to live in a Faraday cage. From the article: "A new type of wallpaper, which has been developed by scientists from the Institut Polytechnique Grenoble INP and the Centre Technique du Papier, will go on sale in 2013 after a Finnish firm Ahlstrom acquired the license. What looks like a bog-standard wallpaper roll actually contains silver particles that allows it to filter out up to three different frequencies simultaneously. It is not the first time that such a technology has surfaced. Back in 2004, BAE Systems was tasked by Ofcom to come up with a similar solution based on what was then called a stealth wallpaper. It used copper instead of silver and blocked Wi-Fi signals while letting GSM, 4G and emergency calls through. Back then, though, a square meter cost £500, whereas the Wi-Fi wallpaper devised by the French researchers should be priced reasonably, with costs matching those of a 'classic,' mid-range wallpaper according to M. Lemaître-Auger, from Grenoble INP."
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Anti-WiFi Wallpaper Available Next Year

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  • by mapkinase (958129) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:12PM (#39943483) Homepage Journal

    Americans do not use wallpaper much.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:17PM (#39943541) Homepage

      Americans do not use wallpaper much.

      But if they would just use tin foil instead of silver (really, how bourgeois) it would be a major hit.

      At least here on Slashdot. Maybe ThinkGeek could sell it.

      • In the US, you usually buy colored paint by choosing the color from a display of color cards and an operator taps in the code to machine which squirts the right ratio of dyes into a white base paint. Another machine then vibrates the can to mix it, while you get on with the rest of your shopping.

        It wouldn't be hard to add a squirter of said silver particles to the machine. Pay a premium for a squirt of wifi blocker. Of course they couldn't patent this, because I just said it.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I'd line the walls that face my street with foil if it didn't look so tacky and I could find EMF-proof curtains for the windows. Every time a car drives by I lose my TV signal (Shitty RCA tuner).

        But wifi? Why paper your walls when you can just use encryption?

        • by Narmi (161370)

          Why paper your walls when you can just use encryption?

          To keep other Wifi signals out. It's a crowded spectrum.

          • by SomePgmr (2021234)

            Exactly. In my condo (looking now), I can see 16 SSID's just in the quick-connect. I'm sure if I turned up a proper monitor for a minute I'd see at least half-again that number. And of course, nobody knows or cares how to spread the things out , so it's an ongoing battle.

            I'd like a paint that blocks wifi, and some plain, less-expensive version of the same for the floor under the carpet.

        • by Gerzel (240421)

          Another layer of protection.

          Security is all about adding layers of protection at reasonable costs.

        • by Nirvelli (851945)
          You can actually get EMF-blocking windows. I lived in an apartment building that was built to one of those new LEED Green Building standards, and it had special windows to block out heat from the Sun or something. Also concrete walls. TV reception was completely blocked, but as soon as you opened a window, channels came in perfectly clear.
        • by Denogh (2024280)
          It's not for security, it's for physical safety. WiFi causes cancer [slashdot.org], you know.
        • If you've lived in an apartment complex recently you should know why. One apartment I lived in 2-3 years ago I had a list of about 20APs that were at least in range enough to come up on the list. It would be nice to block wifi but still allow cellular signals.
      • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @03:52PM (#39946005)

        what you really need is two layers the outside layer an antenna to pick up the neighbours wifi and this on the inside to keep them from picking up yours.

      • "But if they would just use tin foil instead of silver (really, how bourgeois) it would be a major hit."

        Foil-backed wallpaper has been available for decades at least. And it probably would indeed make a good Faraday cage, as long as you grounded it and your doors were metal too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hope the paint is expensive... poor people in the hood generally run open WiFi!! :D

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      I chuckled when they commented that it would "be priced at a modest premium vs classic mid-range wallpaper". Actual decorator mid-range wallpaper (nothing like the shit you will find at big box stores) is anywhere from $2 to $25 per *square foot*. That means a tiny 10x10 room can be anywhere from $640 to $8,000 to do the whole thing. This is why Americans generally eschew wallpaper (at least full-room designs) in favor of a nice coat of paint (about $50 for the whole room and you might have some left ov

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        Which is significantly cheaper than the $80 per square foot it is being compared with.

    • How about lead paint? My apartment is covered in the stuff!

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      That is true if you don't want to use your cell phone either. The pattern is designed to filter frequencies used by WiFi but not those used by cell phones. You can not do that with paint.

      • Well I wish they'd paint movie theatres in non-selective paint.

        • *THAT* would be awesome.. :)
        • by jklovanc (1603149)

          But what about if there is an accident in the theater and no one can call 911; panic will ensue. I can't phone friends to tell them how bad the movie is it is censorship and agains my right to freedom of speech.Sounds kind of dumb doesn't it but this is the logic used by many to blast BART for shutting off cellular coverage [slashdot.org] in response to a planned protest.

          • by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:13PM (#39946287)

            To be fair, the chances of an emergency requiring radio or cellphone on BART are far higher than in a movie theatre. And there are plenty more non-emergency but reasonable needs for communication whilst travelling.

            For sure it's not many years since no one had any cellphones anyway, so it's far from disaster if people lose it for a while. But I think it's an over-reaction to take the service down because of a protest. Protests are an intrinsic part of being in a democracy and shouldn't be thought of as something to be suppressed.

            The significant difference between the two is that when a movie ticket is bought, there is an implicit contract that you're not going to disturb other patrons by using cellphones. If you're unwilling to forgo them, then you shouldn't be buying a ticket.

            But you don't reasonably forgo the expectation to use a cellphone when you travel on BART. Now it's part of the facilities it shouldn't be taken away without good reason. And I don't think a protest in the area is a good reason.

            • by peragrin (659227)

              That's why I prefer low powered jamming tied to the house lights for theaters, etc.

              you generally only need one strong enough to drop out the signal strength.

            • by jklovanc (1603149)

              And there are plenty more non-emergency but reasonable needs for communication whilst travelling.

              People seemed to get along fine before cell phones were invented and traveling. Cell phones are a convenience and not a right.

              Protests are an intrinsic part of being in a democracy and shouldn't be thought of as something to be suppressed.

              There are plenty of other venues to protest rater than a crowded platform with trains moving by. How about the the court house that convicted the officer of involuntary manslaughter? The protest was planned only because some people didn't think that involuntary manslaughter was a stiff enough conviction.

              The idea that people should be able to protest anywhere any time is not reasonabl

              • I don't agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

                The protesters did not apply for or get a permit for this protest and it is therefore an unlawful protest.

                There's a big problem with the concept of protests being illegal unless sanctioned by government. Ref China, Russia, Syria etc.

                For sure you personally might find the US government within some acceptable bounds right now, so it's reasonable to give them the right of veto over protest. But what about people who differ in that opinion? Is their opinion less important than yours? And what if in a few years time the US government

                • by jklovanc (1603149)

                  BART did not cut off all protest just protest in that one type of area.

                  There's a big problem with the concept of protests being illegal unless sanctioned by government. Ref China, Russia, Syria etc.

                  There are a very strict list of reasons that a permit can be denied and "we don't agree with you" is not on that list. The government is required to do anything reasonable to allow protests to go forward. This is very different from the countries you list because they deny protests because they do not like what the protesters have to say.

                  And what if in a few years time the US government is not one that you trust anymore, and they are suppressing your protest?

                  Any denied permit can go to court to get a ruling. If the government and the courts turn against the

                  • Yet another person who never read about how BART

                    I never read about it at all. It's a local rail system in the US and I'm not American. We're only discussing it at all because you brought it up in a reply to one of my posts. I'm only going from what you said. I don't really care enough to check the details myself.

                    • by jklovanc (1603149)

                      If you don't care enough to verify facts then don't make statements like "that's even more reason not to cut off the emergency communication lines." So, since you do not care enough to check facts, you are admitting that your statements are un-researched assumptions on you part that may or may not be true. I will keep that in mind when reading your posts.

                    • Stupid cunt.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Goedendag (2618275)
        Neither will this magic snake oil paper filter only wifi signals. The frequency (actually wavelength) of signals that can penetrate (or exit) a faraday cage are determined by the size of the holes in the cage. Holes will let wavelengts through that are shorter than the hole's size. Or to put it in another way: everthing up from the lowest frequency that can fit through the hole will pass the holes. Wifi happens to use a higher frequency (shorter wavelength) than GSM (and most mobile phone frequencies). If
        • by jklovanc (1603149)

          That would assume that it was a Faraday cage. That is a reasonable assumption as that is the standard way of blocking radio waves. According to one of the articles it is a diffraction grid that can be tuned to the frequencies that it will absorb and filter.

        • If you look at the article photos, you'll see the filtering is by means of a printed conductive ink in patterns that are quite complex, visibly featuring capacitors at specific frequencies etc.
          To me it is obvious this is not a simple Faraday cage but a frequency-specific damper.
          So there is nothing lile "if a GSM fits the hole then..."
          If the damper is well designed it'll kill a specific Wifi frequency, and it alone.

  • If I put some of this wallpaper on the walls between me and neighbors in an apartment building (and maybe even something similar on floors/ceilings), could this plausibly increase signal quality by reducing interference from the 50 (!) other access points I currently see within range?

    • by LordNimon (85072)

      Yes.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:18PM (#39943573) Journal

      That's kind of the entire point.

      • by Trepidity (597)

        From the article it sounds like they were advertising it as a way to keep your signals from getting out, as a kind of physical security barrier--- not as a way of keeping others' signals from coming in. But perhaps it's true that they'll end up marketing it that way as well.

    • So long as your devices are not near windows. If so, a special window tinting will be required.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Talk to your local RF/microwave EE about waveguides and cutoff freqs and operating way the heck above cutoff. You won't like what you'll hear.

      I almost guarantee you'll be constructing an efficient waveguide system in the lower VHF region, maybe UHF in hallways, depends on design. My open plan bachelor pad probably would have made a decent 20 meter ham band waveguide, but my little dorm room in college would have been more like 6M waveguide. Anyway this is probably going to increase noise levels. Even wo

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        Since probably most people here have no idea what multimode is:

        Think echoes or reverberation, but for radio waves.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Back in the analog TV days we called multimode interference "ghosting." It's a lot worse with digital, rather than two of something on the screen you don't get a picture at all (I have multimode interference whenever a car drives by my house).

          • by X0563511 (793323)

            What? That doesn't make any sense, unless things are JUST right and you're getting a reflection from the car.

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              I figure either reflections, or more likely interference from spark plugs, since even a motorcycle will kill the picture and sound for a second. Perhaps both. Mostly, though, I think it's my shitty tuner.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        In other words: a conductive shield is a solution with serious side effects. An absorbing (dissipative) wallpaper would be much better. Perhaps a little bit of bulk conductivity but not too much would do the trick? No, this [davidkiyokawa.com] isn't what I had in mind, why, thank you.

        • by vlm (69642)

          Filling your walls with BBQ charcoal and grounding it would probably work "OK", or at least better than nothing.

          At microwave-range freqs finding a good absorber is no picnic as they tend to be annoyingly freq dependent. I had one piece of comm gear operating around 3 GHz that insisted on oscillating whenever I placed the cover on the enclosure... I tried all the usual conductive foams on the cover and it just wouldn't work. I ended up repackaging the amplifiers into smaller enclosures inside the main syst

      • On the other hand, all that interference will presumably make it even better when your objective is to stop people using wireless devices in the shielded room. Like for example discouraging device use in a movie theatre.

    • If I put some of this wallpaper on the walls between me and neighbors in an apartment building (and maybe even something similar on floors/ceilings), could this plausibly increase signal quality by reducing interference from the 50 (!) other access points I currently see within range?

      It will also improve your own network by limiting interference between the APs you have in each room.

    • Bah! Just modify the firmware on your access point to boost the transmit power and drown out all the other APs! If you do it right, you won't be able to see any other APs. And you may even be able to warm food on it, to boot. :)

      • by Jeremi (14640)

        Bah! Just modify the firmware on your access point to boost the transmit power and drown out all the other APs! If you do it right, you won't be able to see any other APs. And you may even be able to warm food on it, to boot. :)

        Alas, the neighbors have already done that trick. Now I get Moire patterns on my retinas whenever I enter the kitchen.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      EM-blocking wallpaper would also block radio and TV reception. Or maybe just the UHF band. (Then again maybe I'm the only one who still uses that old technology, and most people don't care.)

      • by Trepidity (597)

        It sounds like this one is frequency-specific, so it would only block wifi frequencies. But I suppose it depends on just how narrow the blocked band is.

      • by aslagle (441969)
        It's not old - most OTA HD signals are over UHF, at least in the US.
    • Why not just use a non-wireless router and a couple powerline adapters [tigerdirect.com] in an apartment building. It might be slightly more expensive, but if you only need to hook up a couple computers it would likely be worth it. You'd also have the option of putting in a wireless repeater/range extender in a given room for guests et al.
    • Maybe, maybe not. The signals will still come through windows, through unpapered areas behind cabinets and shower stalls, etc... Even on papered walls, there's going to be leakage through light switches and electric plugs (especially if you have plastic boxes).

  • The French "classique" should be translated as "traditional".
  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:25PM (#39943657)

    being from europe my mom made my dad put it up on the walls. if you want to change it you have a hellish experience ahead of removing the old wallpaper

    i will never use wall paper

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Clearly you're not a redneck.

      I've helped tear out a wall that had at least 20 layers of wallpaper on it...

    • by azalin (67640) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:54PM (#39944071)
      If it's properly applied (like using wallpaper glue and primer instead of say paper glue) just put on some remover (or even water) and the whole line pulls right of. A six year old with a ladder could probably do it. If you apply the wrong glue though, have fun.
    • by tibit (1762298)

      I agree. Imagine what fun it was to attempt to pull 30 year old straw wallpaper. It was a mat of ~1/32" diameter straw with a fine thread woven into it every few inches, to keep the straws aligned. They obviously did a good job of installing it -- the glue held very well, and somehow didn't think much of being soaked in water for hours. After suffering through removal of perhaps 50ft^2 of it, we decided enough was enough. It was easier to replace the drywall in the room. Hey -- the walls look new, and it wa

  • by davidwr (791652) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:30PM (#39943731) Homepage Journal

    Churches and theaters would love it, because the FCC can't say "you can't do that" without a serious court challenge.

    • Because of lawsuits. So person goes to theatre, it blocks cell signals. they have a heart attack, try to dial 911, it doesn't go through, they die. Now arguments aside as to if that would have saved his life, there is still likely a lawsuit. He tried to call for help, couldn't because of the evil, bad, naughty, etc, etc theatre and he died of the poor dear, nwo give us $50 million dollars.

      Can't see it happening on account of that.

      It also might not be entirely without merit. If someone is having a problem fi

      • by Imrik (148191)

        Well if they don't hide the fact that you can't get a signal in the screen and seats area, you'll probably know where you have to go to get signal. This would probably save them the liability of a lawsuit and they could even bill it as a feature of their theater.

  • This will not help those who claim to be allergic to WiFi signals since their problem is psychosomatic.
    • by azalin (67640)
      As long as you tell them convincingly it works, it might actually help. If the allergy is in your mind the cure is also there.
      • by Imrik (148191)

        The best part is you don't even have to pay for the expensive wallpaper, just get the regular stuff.

    • That's not true.

      These people -- whether they have a physical pathway that is known to medical science or not -- have a reaction to electromagnetic waves. This product blocks out those frequencies that they claim sensitivity to. If they feel better having bought the product, then what's the harm? You're not engaging in fraud, you are selling a product that blocks what they don't want in their house.

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        These people -- whether they have a physical pathway that is known to medical science or not -- have a reaction to electromagnetic waves.

        No. These people are having a reaction to something, and are blaming electromagnetic waves.

        This is an important distinction. We must separate the effect from the claimed cause.

        If the problem is truly psychosomatic and the thing they're reacting to is in their own heads, then in theory if you take away their chosen bugbear (and they are aware of it) they should feel better. But then again they may not, and will just say the Wifi wallpaper doesn't work or it's one of the many frequencies the wallpaper does

        • These people -- whether they have a physical pathway that is known to medical science or not -- have a reaction to electromagnetic waves.

          No. These people are having a reaction to something, and are blaming electromagnetic waves.

          This is an important distinction. We must separate the effect from the claimed cause.

          It's detrimental to their own quest for health because nobody can get past the idea that it must be caused by Wifi.

          Oh, I had never thought of it that way. I just assumed they were having purely mental symptoms, so that blocking RF would help them out once they knew they were in a shielded room.

          I would not have thought to look for a different cause. Now, if one can block RF and remove that from the list of possible causes of suffering, wouldn't that make it easier to diagnose what the problem could be?

    • by macslut (724441)

      I hate those people. Now I have to put up with Anti-WiFi Wallpaper, which I'm all kinds of allergic to!

  • by BenJeremy (181303) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:37PM (#39943835)

    I used this wallpaper on my desktop, and now my wifi no longer works.

    Took me a while to figure it out, but I've since switched back to my old wallpaper, and everything is fine now.

    • by azalin (67640)
      very nice. I will have to use this on the next guy who comes with "I have problems with my wifi".
  • Just make it ugly enough, and it can be effective at reducing your chances of getting married.

  • It makes the walls optically transparent.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:50PM (#39943987) Homepage

    Paint your wall with magnetic paint, wallpaper over it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Rustoleum-223081-Rust-Oleum-Magnetic-Primer/dp/B000PU1D3I [amazon.com]

    Paint your walls with two coats of this primer, and paint into the electrical boxes to where you can ground it. I used under wallpaper speaker wire that is just a stick thin copper foil, I ran a 3" strip out the electrical box connected to the ground, painted over it.

    Wifi and cellular coverage in that room is completely lost when the door is closed (which is also painted) and I have aluminum storm windows and aluminum screens on the windows.

    Made a huge difference to RF interference to my ham shack. the number of "birdies" from crap in the home went down to nothing so I could pull in signals that were closer to the noise floor a lot easier.

  • Most businesses when re-doing floorspace are going to move a few walls around. If they embed the silver particles in the drywall the business owner has the option of painting or wallpapering.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:52PM (#39944029)
    Rather than "tune" the wallpaper to block or allow certain frequency bands, surely it's simpler to block the whole lot and then install hardware inside the screened room to retransmit the sorts of signals (not just their frequencies) that you wish to allow.

    That way, as technology changes, you can easily reconfigure the system to accommodate new requirements.

    I'd guess that's what most people do anyway - since this wallpaper has taken so ong to be developed.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:56PM (#39944107) Journal
    The anti-WiFi wall paper will be the second product to be certified by the Tin Foil Hatter's Institute. The first one to earn the esteemed and much sought after certification was Reynolds kitchen aluminum wrap.
  • The wide, heavy duty stuff, contact cement, conductive tape on joints, grounded at two points per unbroken plane. then cover with regular wall paper.

  • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @02:27PM (#39944689) Journal

    Silver wallpaper? Cool! It will go with the 5000-dollar brick I put on top of my stereo amplifier to screen out cosmic rays.

    How long do you think it will be before Monster gets into the wallpaper market and starts suing anyone who uses the term "wallpaper" in their domain names?

  • What comes in mind is the apartment form The Darkest Hour movie :

    http://collider.com/wp-content/uploads/Sergeis-Faraday-Cage-The-Darkest-Hour-concept-art.jpg

    Yeah, the movie wasn't great, but it was different enough from the usual space-monster-crap to be interesting. And the Faraday-cage apartment rocked :)

  • I'm going to patent the method and process of applying this technique through haberdashery to prevent control or surveillance of private contemplations.

  • I've an older home, where there is horsehair plaster on metal lath. That metal lath is the best wifi blocker I've ever seen...... I'd think the world's intelligence agencies have sensitive rooms covered with something like this anyway.

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