Literary Camouflage For Your Router

What is suspicious about the books in the image above? Is it that there is no bookend? How about the radio waves pouring out of them? [Clay Weiland] does not like the way a bare router looks in the living room, but he appreciates the coverage gained by putting it in the middle of his house. He added a layer of home decorating camouflage in the form of some second-hand book covers to hide the unsightly bit of tech.

There isn’t a blog post or video about this particular build anywhere. The photos were submitted to our tip line as-is with the note that a table-saw is involved. We can safely infer that book covers are stripped of their pages and filled with wooden blanks painted white and stuck together to look like a cluster of literature. The takeaway from this example is that our tech does not have to be hidden away like a secret, or disrupt the decor, it can be placed as functionally as possible without sacrificing Feng Shui.

If hiding behind books piques your interest, try a full-fledged version, or this smooth operator.

Thank you, [George Graves], for encouraging people to use our tip line.

39 thoughts on “Literary Camouflage For Your Router

  1. These books look way to interesting. One would do best to choose titles that no-one in their right mind would dare read like that old sociology textbook you had to buy for college, ExCel ’97 for Dummies, Chilton repair manuals for the Renault Alliance, & the most disturbing book ever written…”Cooking with Pooh”.

    …otherwise, this is a great idea, though I would add bookends like the author noted were missing. :-)

    1. Those all sound like things I’d pick up and leaf through.

      Finding books nobody would look at is a special sort of useless art, because really bad books are even more likely to be picked up and leafed through than really good books! More people are going to pick up “Cooking with Pooh” than “The Collected Works of Xenophone,” even though a significant number of people in the world are reading Xenophone right this moment. Most days in the past ~2500 years somebody in the world was reading Xenophone, and many more libraries carry the title than carry Cooking with Pooh, and yet people who are not intending to actually read anything are much more likely to pick up Cooking with Pooh casually while waiting for their host to return to the room.

      If you’re absolutely sure that 100% of your visitors would be neckbeards, then surely any Sociology text would have an implicit +2 Protection from Reading spell on it, but what if an educated person visits? Surely lots of people would want to review Weber or Bourdieu while they wait. Same problem with Anthropology; if you’re one of the people who aren’t interested in it, you won’t know which books would interest the people who are interested. You might grab an old text from college, but whoops, lots of people would rather flip through an old Kano book about trait distribution in chimps than sit there staring at the binary POV clock doing duty as an art object.

      1. I suppose even ten year old phone-books wouldn’t be safe either. I assure you if all my friends had gone through the same crappy sociology class I had to sit through, they would avoid the textbook like the plague just like I did. Sold it the next day after finals. It’s the only college textbook I didn’t keep. I’ve got some math books that would scare off 95% of my friends but then there’s the other 5% that would be attracted. Best to choose books that most of your friends associate with pain and suffering or known outright BS. Still, would one want them out on exhibit? Perhaps nameless, label-less books would be best, but even that could generate curiosity.

        The best title may very well be, “Aesthetically Concealing Your WiFi Router by John Smith” :-) 🦊

    2. I recommend using the pinnacles of world’s literature, like Josip Vissarionovych Dzhugashvilli’s (aka Stalin) “Socialist state, socialist justice”, Klement Gottwald’s “The lessons learned from the crisis development”, Karl Marx’ & Fridrich Engel’s “The Manifest of the Communist Party”, or Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”. Noone with functional brain is able to read more than a few pages without ones brain escaping in panic through all bodily orifices at once, and no sane person will reach out to open any of this repulsive crap voluntarily. Yet, in this part of world, the first three were mandatory reading for decades.

    1. All you have to do is ignore the pleb consumer gear and go for the “industrial” offerings… a separate router and access point will probably cost a little more, but will give you more flexibility in their placement. You can also have the benefit of managed APs, if you have a bigger house and more then 1.

      If you have drywall ceilings, you can hide the AP(s) there. Even if you don’t hide them, once they’re bolted to the ceiling, they don’t bother most people and they have the perfect coverage ;-)

  2. Ideas like this might be highly compatible with using a raspberry pi as a router. One might be able to carve out the inside of only one sturdy book to conceal such a unit. Heat dissipation would be something to watch but would most likely be OK without having to do anything more creative beyond leaving the back open. One could also make the book more stable and load the bottom inch or two of the book with lead (or bismuth if you want to be more environmentally friendly). :-)

    1. Yes, you beat me to that joke.

      Many modern routers run quite hot. Although one would hope they’d have thermal cut-offs, I wouldn’t bet on it.

      And the price of that bet is a house fire.

          1. I don’t think electrolytic caps dry out anymore, the layers just eventually short out and then it inflates until failing open.

            I doubt many will dry out until so many years after they left service that the metal can corroded away; and it likely will outlast most of the solder pads in that regard. Through-hole will corrode before the solder pads, but still it won’t leak until the leads have corroded heavily. Assuming the outer plastic case on the router is intact, that might take hundreds of years. If it is all surface mount and they used a conformal coating, as is usually the case, then maybe thousands of years unless submerged.

  3. During World War II, listening to allied radio stations was strictly verboten in the occupied countries and many radio sets were confiscated. So people used all kinds of tricks to hide a receiver.

  4. Does anyone know of using a router for TDR measurements to determine breaks in cables? Seems like some have that function and maybe is a OpenWRT or other function or area of opportunity. Neat router concealment method.

      1. I was thinking I read about the TDR functionality recently in routers/switches and since I haven’t created a new account and am still banned from posting on the [TekScopes] groupio group… I figured I’d look into on HaD since I can’t post on the “Kludging together a TDR or similar” message thread. Just reading that some of the Catalyst Cisco switches and ACX routers can also:
        Cisco:
        https://supportforums.cisco.com/t5/network-infrastructure-documents/how-to-use-time-domain-reflectometer-tdr/ta-p/3119327
        ACX:
        https://www.juniper.net/documentation/en_US/junos/topics/concept/tdr-overview-acx-series.html

      2. Seems since the hardwired devices are full duplex, then the transmitter can act as the pulse generator and the receiver can act as the oscilloscope: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-domain_reflectometer

        Seems even without the “Cleverscope” ethernet oscilloscope systems… though I may not be thinking enough into regarding the signals format and interpreting the signals of just an ethernet card. Would be interesting to see a modem and/or ethernet card hacked into detection equipment.

        I’m guessing the WiFi half duplex has some sort of TDR principle function to detect signals… though maybe is just passive detection even for direction and I am assuming the modern consumer grade has more a radar function.

  5. For anyone concerned about the type of books, I chose gardening selections for a simple reason: they’re the only ones big enough. I searched through the entire book section of a thrift store and almost all of the books that were big enough were gardening books. Some travel and art books were big, but mostly gardening.

    I just used a table saw and then stanched and glued them, with a few shots from the finish bailer.

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