Netgear’s $39 Wi-Fi extender could be a mobile data saver

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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.

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