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Summary:

Relying on a wireless home network is typically far cheaper than using mobile broadband for smartphones and tablets. Even with today’s new Wi-Fi products, however, coverage can still be an issue and thus use up precious cellular data. Netgear’s $39 Wi-Fi extender aims to solve that.

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Using your own wireless network at home can save on mobile broadband data charges, but how do you manage those dead zones in the house? Netgear has a new solution and it’s relatively inexpensive. The $39 Netgear WiFi Booster for Mobile is a plug-and-play piece of hardware that extends the range of your home Wi-Fi network.

Netgear says the booster device is simple to use, and based on the description, I’m inclined to agree. You just plug the device right into an electrical outlet and press a button to connect to and extend the range of your existing wireless network using the WPS, or Wi-Fi Protected Setup standard.

This product, not available until later this summer, has my interest because I recently upgraded my home broadband to 75 Mbps service and I’m finding two problems. One is that traditional 802.11n routers have theoretical top speeds of 54 Mbps, so I’m not getting the full bandwidth on my wireless devices. I can live with that problem (for now), but the bigger issue is one of coverage.

No matter how I place my current router and base station extender, I’m losing my wireless signal in some places at home. That means my phone, for example, is automatically switching to more expensive mobile broadband service. The Netgear booster won’t solve the first problem, but it should help with the second so I’m hoping to take the product for a spin once it hits the market in the coming weeks.

  1. If it functions like most wifi repeaters, you’ll cut your available throughput in half.

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    1. Right now my throughput in some spots is zero, so half of anything is better. ;)

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      1. Have you looked into the new touch screen router from Securifi? It can be used as a Range Extender. Say goodbye to 192.1.x.x nightmares

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  2. Kevin, you need to upgrade your 11n access points, they should be able to get to 150 Mbps, no?

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  3. 300Mbps devices have been around for at least the last two years, if not more. If I were you Kevin, I’d first toss that 54Mbps thing out of the house and get a proper wireless router.

    http://lgponthemove.blogspot.com/2012/04/accessory-corner-netgear-dgnd3700.html

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  4. 802.11n should go faster than that, but only when using WPA2 encryption. Otherwise you’re stuck at 802.11g 54Mbps speeds.

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  5. I just got the Amped 600mw dual band repeater. After I got it working, I have N access across our home with no dead spots. I wish setup wasn’t so hit and miss. I currently cannot access the setup page, so I’m hoping nothing goes wrong.

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    1. Isnt it a pity that routers remain a PITA to setup and maintain? At last one company had the commonsense to put a touch screen on the router to make the setup process less miserable.
      http://www.securifi.com

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      1. Wow Morgan! Touchscreen router for only $35? Thats a great deal! Its a wonder they can afford to pay you to spam!

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      2. At least pretend like you’re not advertising.

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      3. Who wants to bet Morgan and Rich are paid shills, LOL? Anyways, isnt WPS supposed to be seriously flawed. Are these WiFi vendors asleep at the wheel?

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      4. I would rather spend the extra dough on a dual band router than touch screen. But I gotta admit, it has some benefits. It will be perfect for my parents.

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  6. A repeater is one way, but you could also use an external antenna to increase signal gain. This is another inexpensive improvement, even if it is only one way (transmit from the AP). You could also add an external antenna on the mobile device, to improve 2-way communication.

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  7. Bought a Netgear Router ( which was great) , and bought a Netgear repeater ( a piece of crap) it worked so well I returned it and got a Linksys repeater and use it with a Netgear Router, spend the extra money on the Linksys repeater, less headaches easier setup

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