Wi-Fi Rating: AC300
Size: 3.1 x 2.2 x 2.0 inches
Number of Antennas/Removable: 2 internal/No
Wi-Fi Specs: 802.11b, g, n/2.4GHz only
Ports: One Gigabit Ethernet
Performance at 15 feet: 2.5Mbps
Extender Range: 65 feet
Estimate Annual Costs: $2.30
One of the cheapest and most popular Wi-Fi extenders on the market is sold under the Super Boost brand name. The Super Boost Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater is the most affordable of these, one of a dozen identical generic Wi-Fi extenders. The Super Boost extender is part of a small legion of clones, cheaply made Wi-Fi accessories imported from China to be sold at low prices and pushed with aggressive online advertising.
We get a lot of reader questions about Super Boost extenders. The good news is that the Super Boost Wireless-N WiFi Repeater is, indeed, affordable. But the Super Boost extender fell short of the mark on just about every performance indicator, lacks the ability to extend a home’s 802.11ac network and can block the use of an adjacent AC outlet. It can be used as a wired access point and has customization options usually reserved for bigger and more expensive networking devices but it fails to deliver for those seeking to fill Wi-Fi dead spots.
Super Boost Wi-Fi Repeater review: Design
Small and easy to hide, Super Boost’s Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater may have had a place in a networked home several years ago. That time has passed because it not only ignores Wi-Fi’s high-performance 5GHz band but lacks compatibility with 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5), much less newer 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), routers.
At 3.1 x 2.2 x 2.0 inches, the Super Boost is among the smallest devices of its kind. It has a two-prong plug but chances are that its vertical overhang will block an outlet above or below the one it uses. The curved white and black front has a prominent Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button and four LEDs to show that it’s online, is transmitting and is using the WPS process. Its use of red for the power LED sends the wrong message.
The device is barebones in the extreme. It does without a way to turn the lights off, an on/off switch or any sort of signal strength gauge. It does have a reset button on the left.
Super Boost Wi-Fi Repeater review: Performance
Able to theoretically move 300Mbps, the Super Boost Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater can only extend a 2.4GHz signal. It ignores 5GHz data networks and lacks anything like MU-MIMO and beamforming technology.
Using Ixia’s IxChariot networking performance benchmark and a TP-Link Archer C5400X router set to 802.11b, g, n compatibility mode, the Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater couldn’t handle using our normal benchmark settings that simulate 10 users. We reduced the load to a single client and still, the extender still only managed 2.5Mbps of throughput at 15-feet, or less than one-hundredth the data flow seen in our Netgear AX1800 Mesh Extender (EAX20) review.
With it set up 40-feet away from the host router on the same floor, the Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater was able to send a signal across the house to a receiver 50 feet away but provided only 610Kbps of data. It's only slightly better with the extender upstairs from the host and the receiver 40 feet away, where it moved 2.4Mbps. Either way, this trickle of data should allow basic Web browsing and email but will likely disappoint on video. It had a disappointing 65-foot range.
The Super Boost Wireless-N Range Extender used only 2.0 watts of power, making it an efficient extender. If it’s left on, the device might use only $2.30 of electricity over a year if you pay the national average of 13 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity.
Super Boost Wi-Fi Repeater review: Features
Using the Super Boost Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater is like driving on a rutted dirt road after cruising down a newly paved freeway. It just can’t compare with today’s best (or even mediocre) extenders.
To its credit, the Super Boost Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater can also be an access point that gets its data from a wired connection. Happily, it allows a good assortment of customization options.
Super Boost Wi-Fi Repeater review: Setup and software
Setting up the Super Boost Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater doesn’t require using an app or creating an account. Using my ThinkPad T470, I connected to the device’s built-in 2.4GHz LAN, transparently called “WiFi-Repeater” network name. Then, I entered “192.168.10.1” into the browser window and the device’s set up screen appeared.
After entering “admin” for both the name and password, I was in and the repeater searched for LANs to extend. It found my host network and I typed in the network’s new name but had to use the same password as the host network. When finished, the system provided a summary page of the new settings.
Its antediluvian nature allows the Super Boost Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater to be one of the rare Wi-Fi devices that can work with the antiquated Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) standard. On the other hand, it is not as secure an encryption system as WPA 2 and WPA 3.
The interface’s Advanced page only works in access point mode but is a cornucopia of settings adjustments and customization. In addition to things like picking what 2.4GHz band you want to use, it lets you turn Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) that might help with transmitting video streams on or off. It also lets you enable or disable the ability to use both 20- and 40MHz channel widths for finetuning the network’s capacity.
Super Boost Wi-Fi Repeater review: Warranty and support
The Super Boost Wireless-N Wi-Fi Repeater includes a one-year warranty and support. That’s half the coverage provided by TP-Link’s RE650’s two-year warranty, but is better than Netgear’s 90-day support policy. It's not clear how helpful that warranty coverage will be, however, since, the company responded to neither my calls nor my emails. The Super Boost website isn't any help either, as it doesn’t supply troubleshooting help, set up videos or firmware updates.
Super Boost Wi-Fi Repeater review: Verdict
You get what you pay for and the $14 Super Boost Wireless-N WiFi Repeater may be cheap, but few will be satisfied by its performance, compatibility or support. Your best bet is to spend a little more and get an up-to-date extender, like the $40 model seen in our Netgear WiFi Range Extender EX2800 review.