There are several solutions to these problems currently on the market now and several have been reviewed on AVForums already, including the Netgear Powerline 500Mbps Homeplugs and the Power Ethernet All-in-one wall sockets. The one we have for review today is Netgear's latest example, in the shape of the WN1000RP Wi-Fi Booster for Mobile. This claims to boost your existing Wi-Fi coverage for iPads, iPhones and other mobile devices, help to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones and work with any existing Wi-Fi equipment. Let's have a look at how it performs and see if these boosting boasts are accurate.
Styling and Design
To the front of the Wi-Fi Booster we have three LED indicator lights. The first being the Link Rate between the booster and your router - green shows the best performance, amber is a good and workable connection and red indicates a poor connection or none at all. If no LED light is illuminated here then no connection has been made between the booster and the router. The second LED light is the Status light and this illuminates when the Wi-Fi booster is powered on. The final LED light illuminates when the booster is connected to a PC or a wireless device.
There are two methods to setup the Wi-Fi Booster, both of which are very simple and take just a couple of minutes to run through. The first method is done by simply pressing the WPS button on the side of the booster, then pressing the WPS button (if you have one) on your router, gateway or access point. Once this is done the booster is now connected to your existing Wi-Fi network and will show up in a scan with the same network name as your router, but just with EXT at the end. You then just simply connect your Wi-Fi devices to this new wireless point using the same security key as you have in place on your router.
The second method is via the web browser setup guide. Once the booster is powered on, simply scan for wireless networks on your wireless device, looking for the one called Netgear_Ext and once connected you will be automatically taken to your web browser and the setup guide (or if not, just open a web browser and it will take you straight to the guide). Once in the guide you simply choose the existing Wi-Fi network you want to extend, enter the security key for that network, choose a name if you wish for the booster and that's it. Your Wi-Fi Booster is now all setup and ready to go. All you need to do with other wireless devices is connect to this new network with the same security key as your router and you should be enjoying Wi-Fi in areas that previously were out of range. It's really a very simple and quick setup process and once you have everything setup you can easily move the Wi-Fi booster to wherever you want to eliminate those Wi-Fi deadzones, just checking the Link Rate LED light to make sure you are still getting good performance.
Performance and Testing
The screenshots above and below show a speed test on our existing wireless network, a speed test once connected to the booster (tested right next to it) and then a final test in the part of the house that was furthest away. As you can see whilst the booster does not offer the full download speed that we could get on our existing wireless network it still offers a good level of performance. Even the test at the furthest part of the house where normally no Wi-Fi signal would be received, still gives a healthy 4.09Mbps download speed. Also as you can see in the screenshots the upload speeds are often curiously higher than the download speeds when using the Wi-Fi Booster.
Onto file sharing across the network and, as can be seen from the DU Meter screenshot, the speeds received are reasonably in line with those seen on the previous speed tests. A 1GB file taking roughly 20 minutes to transfer, so not an ideal device for heavy file sharing and perhaps best saved for internet use. Testing with an iPad on streaming video such as BBC iPlayer, the connection speeds received even at the furthest distance possible were more than adequate enough for good quality playback and no stuttering was suffered. This device is classed as a Wi-Fi Booster For Mobile so clearly if you require a device for HD streaming or fast file transfer across your network, then you may be better off choosing a Homeplug system instead.
- Quick and easy to Install
- Compact design
- Decent Wi-Fi speed
- Wi-Fi speeds appear limited to 10Mbps
Netgear WiFi Booster WN1000RP Review
Similar to other Netgear products we have already reviewed, this WN1000RP WiFi Booster for Mobile is another one that just does what it says on the tin. The product comes in the typical finger cutting armoured plastic, but thankfully Netgear have made it easy to open, so you won't destroy product trying to get it out of the packaging. No installation of software is required and setting up takes literally a couple of minutes at the most. You just plug it in, follow a few simple instructions and you will find yourself with a much extended Wi-Fi range. Any wireless capable device such as an iPhone, iPad or Laptop will now have a stable Wi-Fi signal in areas where previously you may have had a very poor intermittent signal or none at all.
After the initial setup connecting any wireless device is as simple as connecting to a different wireless network. You just select the new network, enter the same security key as for your router and away you go. Once it is setup you can easily move the location of the booster to wherever it suits best, just keeping an eye on the simple Link Rate LED on the front of the device to show when you are stretching it too far to get the best signal.
Whilst this is described as a Wi-Fi Booster for Mobile, obviously it will work with any wireless device, although keep in mind the speeds that it is capable of. During testing the best download speed we measured was just under 10 Mbps which was slightly disappointing. This was tested right next to the device, so whilst this is more than capable enough for streaming iPlayer or other content on a mobile device or even web browsing on a laptop, this is not going to be a device you can use if you want to stream HD from a service such as Netflix to your TV. But to be fair, it is sold as a Wi-Fi Booster for Mobile and in that regard it performs excellently.
The WN1000RP WiFi Booster for Mobile can be found for as little as £29.99 which makes it a very attractive and cheap purchase to instantly banish those Wi-Fi dead zones in your house. The only minor negative is the headline download speed of 10 Mbps, but apart from that this is another worthy winner of an AVForums Recommended award.
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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