Virgin Media has built two large life-size houses inside a warehouse located in High Wycombe where it tests its latest broadband technology.
Fitted with a spacious living room, a kitchen and bedrooms, the homes are furnished and feature an entire plumbing system, which can impact wifi connections, to provide a realistic testing environment.
The 450 square metre houses are at one of the company’s newest secret testing locations. They are three floors high and took 18 months to build.
A metallic composite is used around the facility to block any radio frequency signals from getting in, while a sponge-like material is coated on the inside to absorb wifi.
One of the bedrooms uses a metal mesh which turns the room into a wifi black spot. Other interferences can be brought in to see how connections react.
A robot tunnel runs through the houses to see how wifi works as the person walks through the house. A trench also runs from each house to the other, allowing the robot to test connections further afield.
Engineers are currently looking at the possibility of a new robot solution that goes from room to room, so it can test upstairs too.