The other day we stumbled across this review of a product called the Super Boost Wi-Fi, which claims it can solve the problem of weak Wi-Fi and slow internet speeds. Is this product really effective and can it give you better internet speeds around the home?
The reality on this is that single plug range extenders such as the Super Boost Wi-Fi are the most basic form of several different home networking products which can solve the problem of weak wifi around the home. They can work in the good number of cases but there are also more sophisticated products that are available that will work in a wider number of scenarios.
Also, some of the claims made in the article about where this problem of slow speeds comes from are somewhat dubious and misleading, which makes their recommendation to buy the product a little harder to trust.
In this review we want to put the issue into more of a wider context, so readers can evaluate the Super Boost Wi-Fi product in light of a proper understanding of the issue of weak Wi-Fi, and the broader range of networking products that are available to solve the problem.
This review applies not just to the Super Wi-Fi Boost, but all other similar single plug Wi-Fi booster/range extender models, since they all work in the same way.
The Claims Made About The Super Boost Wi-Fi
The article leads in with a “story” of how someone had a “secret” revealed to them from an unnamed ISP engineer about a supposed scam from the internet companies which leads you to get slower speeds as they throttle your connection.
The story is painted as very dramatic and conspiratorial, and Super Wi-Fi Boost is plugged as a product to help solve this problem and get your bandwidth back off the “greedy” ISPs.
As a networking enthusiast, I can tell you that the picture painted in the article is a complete fiction and nonsense. The ISPs are not up to anything here, and weakening Wi-Fi signals is nothing unusual and is in fact to be expected, since it is largely built into the way Wi-Fi operates.
The simple reality as to why you are getting slower speeds on a wireless connection is that Wi-Fi unavoidably weakens and disperses the further it travels from the source, in this case, the wireless router. This is built into how Wi-Fi and RF waves in general work – see our article on the topic. The more obstacles it has to pass through, like walls, floors, furniture etc, the weaker the signal will be.
In simple terms this means that if you are using Wi-Fi several rooms away from the router, you are almost certain to get a weaker signal and therefore slower speeds, than if you were right next to the router or plugged into it with a cable. This is just the way Wi-Fi works.
The article tries to paint the scenario as some kind of grand conspiracy, where the ISPs are “throttling” or cutting your bandwidth on purpose, and their product is a way of “beating” this conspiracy. This is just a nonsense narrative, but it can make it attractive to readers to portray that there is some kind of conspiracy that their product helps you to solve.
It’s “good old them” versus the “big bad ISPs”, and they’ll help you to win if you buy their product. As we said, this problem of weakening signals and slower speeds at distance is simply how Wi-Fi works. There is no conspiracy or drama needed. It’s simple science – see the inverse square law, which governs how all RF waves (of which Wi-Fi is a type) operate.
Of course it is true that we almost never get the full “up to” maximum internet speeds we pay for on our package – again this is built into networking and can’t be avoided – see our article on the topic. ISPs also do sometimes throttle connections, especially when someone is on certain blacklisted torrent sites, or hammering downloads every single day.
Even “unlimited” download packages still have a Fair Use Policy (FUP), though you have to be really going ridiculous on downloads to trigger it.
But there is no grand conspiracy by ISPs to systematically throttle connections and give you less bandwidth than you paid for. In the UK at least, tighter advertising regulation has been introduced to make sure ISPs can only advertise average peak time speeds customers can expect to get from a certain package, and not theoretical absolute maximums they will never actually get.
So the discrepancy between the “maximum” speed you pay for and the speeds you actually get when you test at peak times is far less now in the UK.
The bottom line reality is that if you are using Wi-Fi and getting much slower speeds than the maximum you could potentially get on your package, then it is probably because a) multiple people are using the internet at the same time in your home; or b) you are at some distance from the router, usually with lots of walls etc. in the way, and the Wi-Fi signal is weaker as a result, delivering less bandwidth. Both these outcomes are totally normal and there is no conspiracy by your ISP here.
Now lets take a realistic look at the Super Wifi Boost, and where it stands in the general range of home networking products which can solve this problem of weak Wi-Fi and slow speeds.
If your internet speeds aren’t what they should be, it usually isn’t because your ISP is “throttling” or restricting your connection
The Reality on The Super Boost Wi-Fi Extender
The reality on this is that as far as we can tell, the Super Boost Wi-Fi is just a simple wifi booster/range extender product, which are more basic, lower end home networking products. They consist of a single plug, which is simply plugged into a wall socket and “catches” or amplifies the existing Wi-Fi signal and boosts it further around the home.
A Super Boost Wi-Fi Extender installed….and working very well
Click here to view the Super Boost Wi-Fi on Amazon.
The model does not carry the Super Boost name but is the exact same range extender model. The Super Boost branded model is also available on Amazon at the time of writing if you search for it. It appears to be exactly the same product with a specific brand name on it.
The idea is to extend the Wi-Fi coverage and create a better signal in all parts of the house, and sometimes these products do work very well. If you are several rooms away from the router and you place the booster somewhere in between the router and yourself, then you can often get a better and more reliable Wi-Fi signal than if you didn’t use it.
Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of the Super Wifi Boost product that we can see:
- Very cheap product – when purchased from Amazon. Much more expensive when purchased through the product’s own site and spin-off affiliate sites.
- Very easy to install and use – plug in, do some very basic setup and you are ready to go.
- Definitely does work for a lot of people in delivering more of the available bandwidth on your connection over Wi-Fi, versus just using the standard router before. Some excellent reviews from people saying it definitely helped them.
- Theoretical transfer speeds up to 300mbps. Actual speeds will vary and are of course restricted by the maximum speeds on your internet package.
- Also has an ethernet port to deliver a wired connection if needed.
- Readily available through Amazon or directly from the article here.
- The most basic of the home networking products – a single plug only which attempts to capture and amplify the existing Wi-Fi– see the section below for more advanced products.
- Furthermore, the article paints a slightly misleading picture on some things, and also links off to a sales page which sells the product for a much higher price than the same or very similar products that are available for on Amazon.
- Does not work for all people – the article plugs the product as a fantastic and popular solution but reviews on the different Amazon sites are actually mixed. Some people say they are superb and others are disappointed. Because they are such a basic product, they may not work in some scenarios, especially over larger homes. See below for some more advanced networking products to solve this problem.
- In general, be cautious of using simple single plug extenders in very large homes, homes with thicks walls and floors and multiple storey homes and apartments. See our section below for more advanced products.
- The article which promotes the Booster paints a not entirely accurate picture of the problem and how to solve it. They put out some information which is plain false and don’t really provide a realistic context of the problem, why it exists and all the networking solutions available. This is what we are trying to correct with this article.
The Bottom Line
The Super Boost Wi-Fi extender product is a very cheap, easily available and sometimes very effective product in boosting and amplifying the wifi signal around the home. It is by no means the only product of it’s type – there are plenty of single plug Wi-Fi boosters and range extenders available on Amazon which work on exactly the same principle – and is definitely not the most sophisticated and reliable product to solve weak Wi-Fi. It has definitely worked for a lot of people though.
However, if you are looking for a cheap home networking product to try to see if you can get better wifi coverage around the home, then the Super Boost Wi-Fi Extender can be an excellent, low risk place to start. Even if it doesn’t work effectively, you won’t be out of pocket that much, since it is an entry level Wi-Fi booster product.
We recommend using our links to Amazon though, since the sales page on the linked article is trying to sell the product for in some cases more than double what you can get the same (or a very similar) product for on Amazon, all the while claiming they are giving you a “50% discount”. How nice of them!
Click here to view the Super Boost Wi-Fi on Amazon.
They also try to use classic “sales pitch” tactics, pitching the story of an everyday guy who stumbled across a scam, but was lucky enough to get a engineer round who would break the secrets of the scam to him and recommend a product to solve it. The whole conspiracy narrative is silly, and makes the content harder to trust. The sales page it leads you to looks like “one of those” pages.
Let’s look at some more expensive but also more advanced and reliable products for solving weak Wi-Fi around the home.
Other Home Networking Products To Solve Weak Wi-Fi
Powerline Adapters and Wi-Fi Mesh Systems are two more advanced types of home networking product which can solve the problem of weak Wi-Fi and lower internet speeds around the home. We will give a brief summary of each, so you can have a wider context of where range extenders such as the Super Wi-Fi Boost stand in the complete range of networking products that are available.
1. Powerline Adapters – powerline adapters consist of a pair of adapter plugs (not just one plug like an extender), one of which is plugged in and connected to your router, ther other of which is plugged in and connected to your device.
The two plugs then communicate through the electrical wiring of the house to deliver a strong, wired internet connection to the receiving end. They are an excellent home networking solution and can be considered a step up from the basic single plug extender models like the Super Wi-Fi Boost.
Standard wired powerline adapter models deliver a wired connection only using the house’s existing electrical wiring. As long as the wiring is in good enough shape, they will work very effectively as well and bypass the need for using Wi-Fi.
However, wireless powerline adapters are also available, which do the same job, except they also provide a cloned, wireless access point at the receiving end, as well as having one or more ethernet ports to connect wired devices. In this way they work in much the same was as the Super Wifi Boost, but deliver more connectivity options.
See the embedded video for a good summary on how powerline technology works.
Pros – Can deliver a strong, reliable, wired connection for maximum bandwidth for gaming, streaming and download. Superior connection to all forms of Wi-Fi when they work. Simple plug and play devices. Entry level models very cheap. Wireless models also available to connect up portable devices.
Cons – Will work in many houses but not in all houses, when circuitry is complex, old, worn or runs off separate meters. See our article on this. Can be less effective over really large properties – see mesh systems below for an alternative.
2. Wi-Fi Mesh Systems – Wi-Fi Mesh Systems are a step up further still in home networking, and can be seen as a more advanced version of basic extenders like the Super Wi-Fi Boost. They basically use the same principle but are more sophisticated and effective products which can spread Wi-Fi more effectively over larger areas. They are far more expensive as a result.
Mesh systems consist of a kit of two or more nodes or pods which are placed at certain parts around the home to “catch” and amplify the existing Wi-Fi signal, extending it to more remote parts of the home for better overall coverage and speeds for all users, even far away from the main router.
This is basically exactly the same idea as the Super Wi-Fi Boost and other range extenders. However, the technology is far more advanced and refined in mesh systems. They have their own special airwave band or dedicated data backbone to transfer data between the nodes, and when properly installed will tend to work far more effectively and over a larger area than single plug extender models.
See the video for a demonstration of how mesh systems work.
See our Mesh System page for links to some of the more popular systems.
Pros – Mesh systems can be very good for spreading reliable Wi-Fi over very large homes and offices, where powerline adapters or simple boosters may be less effective. Allow you to stay completely on Wi-Fi if this is what you prefer.
Cons – Very expensive products, often costing several hundred dollars or pounds for good models. Can still be somewhat unreliable, though the technology has improved with continual firmware updates from manufacturers. Still a relatively new product; reliability is fairly good now and continues to improve.
See our full article comparing mesh systems to powerline adapters for more in depth comparisons of the two products.