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What is a network booster and are they worth it?

If you’re one of the 88 percent of Aussies who use the Internet regularly you’re spending an average of five hours and 34 minutes every day online. Which means you need good Internet service in your home, regardless of how close or far you are to your router.

But sometimes, you can experience dead spots, which isn’t just inconvenient, but downright frustrating when you’re using a mobile device.

That’s where a network booster can help. But should you get one and are they really worth it?

What is a network booster?

A network booster, network extender, repeater, or WiFi booster is a device which strengthens the signal in your home or business and extends the range of your WiFi. So, if you have a wireless network that is hit or miss in particular places in your home or backyard, you can increase the coverage to a greater area. It’s a good choice for people who have multilevel homes or requirements to have internet beyond the main dwelling.

Do I need a network booster?

Your first question might be, “Do I really need a network booster?”  The answer is, “well, maybe…”  You see, just because you aren’t getting your Facebook account clearly in your basement, doesn’t mean you really need a network booster. It may mean that you just don’t have your router or Internet hookup in the right place to cover everything. Or it may mean that your router needs a software upgrade. So, by moving your router, or upgrading the software or firmware on your router, you just might avoid having to shell out more money for a network booster.

But what if that is where the router has to go, or it is in the most optimal place and has been updated? Then, yes, you’ll need a network booster if you have dead spots in your home.

How does a network booster work?

A network booster works by receiving the WiFi signal and repeating it as a broadcast, thus amplifying the signal. It has a receiver and a sender within it, capable of passing along the information you send it.

Is a network booster secure?

At this stage, you’re wondering if the network booster is secure. Network boosters have WEP, WPA, WPA2, and other security protocols built in, but it doesn’t help if you don’t use them. The network booster is only as secure as your network. In other words, if you have an open network or a network that has a password such as “password” or “1234,” you’ve given your neighbour permission to snoop on your private chats.

Will a network booster solve all my problems?

Most definitely not. It won’t stop your Aunt Mabel from sending you Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes, nor will it eliminate the spam you get from Nigeria. Oh, you mean in terms of Internet coverage? Well, yes and no.

You see, even though the network booster does a superb job in relaying the data, there is a loss in speed. The more repeaters you have on your network, the slower your network will be. With a dual-band repeater, you can reduce the speed loss.

The other issue is data integrity. If your network is normally noisy and slow because of network issues, the network booster isn’t going to solve your problems when it comes to a slow network or one where you don’t get all the data or there are lots of errors. Your best bet is to talk to your Internet Service Provider and see if they can remedy the problem, if it’s on their end.

Still, if your WiFi router isn’t covering your entire home, a network booster is an excellent way to increase coverage.