By Philip Michaels
Influx's Wi-Fi Maximizing Router Dock not only blocks competing traffic, but redirects your Wi-Fi network, boosting its signal strength.
LAS VEGAS — Along with the other things you're blaming your neighbors for — late-night parties, questionable design choices, those tools they borrowed and never gave back — you can add crummy Wi-Fi to the list. If your network performance isn't as good as it once was, it's almost certainly because nearby networks are creating congestion. But Influx thinks a $60 dock for your router can help your network give competing signals the cold shoulder.
The Wi-Fi Maximizing Router Dock blocks out neighboring networks while also redirecting wireless signals to the parts of your home starving for connectivity. Influx's dock is set to ship at the start of next month.
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With a black surface and little legs that prop up its base, the dock looks like an Aeron chair for your router. But both the curved base and back of the dock look that way to boost performance, not for aesthetics. Even the patterned border around both parts of the dock is there for performance reasons.
Influx is tight-lipped about what the dock is made out of, saying only that it's a proprietary material made up several layers. How the material is layered impacts the dock's performance.
Influx makes different types of docks depending on the size of your router and where you place it in the home. For example, a tri-band, multi-antenna router — one that looks more like a drone than a piece of networking equipment — would require a large dock, but a router in the middle of your living room just needs a base to direct signals upward and outward.
"It's simple technology, but it's insanely effective," Influx operations manager Alison Scoffins said.
How effective? While I couldn't test network strength right there in the middle of the show floor, Influx says its dock causes an average gain of 1.3 decibels for a 50 percent signal improvement.
That said, the Wi-Fi Maximizing Router Dock isn't for every home. If you live in a rural area, or even a suburb, where there aren't a lot of competing networks near your home, any boost you get from the dock will be marginal. But for apartments and homes in neighborhoods where there's a lot of Wi-Fi going around, Influx's dock may be the answer to keeping your neighbor's competing network signals where they belong.
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