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If you live in the 21st Century and have an internet connection then you've probably used WiFi. Gone are the days of plugging your computer into a socket in the wall, now all you need is to press your wireless button and away you go! Unfortunately this only works if you can get a bloody signal. If you live in the 21st Century and have used WiFi then you've probably used come to a point where you can't get a signal from your router. This can be due to a number of issues, insufficient output from the router itself, interference from other electronics or simply because the walls in your house are too thick to allow proper conduction of the signal. Whatever the reason for the dropped signal the good folk over at Netgear, the company that seems to produce 95% of the world's routers as far as I can see, have produced a booster box for your signal. The premise is simple, you have an ordinary router which outputs a signal, then you have a booster box which takes this signal and magnifies it, allowing you to surf the web further away from your router than usual.
My apartment is in a reasonably old building so the walls are pretty thick, which is fantastic for my heating bills and for noise complaints. It is like a sponge for WiFi signals however. My router is in my front room while about 35-40 feet away is my bed. Like most people I imagine I like to surf the web in bed, writing reviews for DooYoo and whatnot! The concrete blocks in my walls soak up the signal as it makes its way through and severely limit my connectivity while I'm in bed. This became a real pain for me as I can't stream movies or talk on skype without moving out to the front room. I was considering moving the router but then I figured I'd lose it in the front room! Thankfully an IT techie friend of mine suggested I use a "booster box". He happened to have one left over from a previous job so he gave it to me for the bargain price of a 6 pack of Heineken (I can't see anyone beating that price!) The model in question is the Netgear WN3000RP WiFi extender, a model which my research indicates is only available in the USA. No wonder he was happy to get rid of it!
The extender itself is a white box with two aerials and the standard american 2 pin plug. The box is around 10 x 7.5 x 5 cm in size so isn't too obtrusive on your wall. Using a travel adapter I quickly had the box up and running on a wall mounted socket in my bedroom. Despite my comfort with computers I have never really understood the intricacies of networking or even how a WiFi system works. Thankfully installing the box could not have been simpler. All I had to do was power up the box, hit the renew connection button on my router, then hit the connection button on the box itself and I was away. How this box seems to work is that it mimics your original network and gives you a new one with increased range. This means you don't have to setup any new passwords or anything. All I had to do was select the new network and put in my password, within minutes I was able to load up BBC player and stream to my hearts content! There didn't seem to be any change in speed on the network, nor was their any issues if my girlfriend was connected to the "original" network in the living room. I haven't done any specific testing of it mind but we both were streaming separate TV shows one evening and there was no lag in speed. This may differ on slower networks though I imagine.
Overall I'm quite happy with this booster box, it's solved my network problems overnight. The only real downside with it is the American style plug. I reckon it's probably not safe to remain using an American device on our power grid. There are similar netgear models available on Amazon for around 50 pounds which are designed for the British market, once I get some more DooYoo vouchers I'm going to splash out and buy one, just to ease my mind about the plug. Overall this is a great product that does exactly what it claims and does it without any fuss or complicated setup. An easy 5 stars.