WiFiBlast Range Extender Review
WiFiBlast Range Extender is a wireless signal extender that captures your existing Wi-Fi signal and extends it farther so you can, in theory, access your Wi-Fi from rooms and areas that were once too far away.
The devices claims it can bring a signal to rooms that were once dead, can provide speeds of up to 300 Mbps and that the set-up process is simple.
Part of the pitch that makes the Blast Extender so interesting is that, aside from the website where you buy the device, there’s another site that has a news-style story of someone named Rick Bennett. Bennett is preparing to work from home, the story says, but he’s frustrated with slow internet speeds – checking email takes five minutes to load the page.
Bennett calls his internet provider and they send out two technicians. One of the techs tells Bennett his internet is slow because the service provider is ripping him off. The tech goes to his truck, comes back and plus in a Wi-Fi Blast Extender.
“You didn’t get this from me, man. It’s a WiFiBlast. It reconnects the split channels from your router and blasts it across the house,” the tech tells Bennett. “Trust me, you’re not gonna have any troubles with speed anymore.”
While the story is pretty convincing, we felt it was important to analyze exactly what the WiFiBlast provides, talk about some of the claims its marketing makes and then give you a clear layout of how much it costs.
We’ll also spend a few minutes comparing this extender to others on Amazon that received high ratings from users.
How the WiFiBlast Range Extender Works
The Blast Extender plugs straight into a wall like many of the Wi-Fi extenders you’ll find. To set up the device, you’ll need to plug it in. Then, you’ll have the option of either setting up the extender via your phone/tablet or through your desktop computer.
The phone set-up is much easier, according to a YouTube instructional video from the company:
- Open Wi-Fi settings and connect to “WiFi Repeater”
- Type “192.168.101” into the field that pops up
- Use “admin” and “admin” to log into the next page
- Then, tap “repeater mode”
- Create a customized name and password for the repeater
- Connect to the repeater with the password you created
The installation process for a desktop computer (Windows is the example in the video) is a bit more complex, so we’ve included the set-up video below. The desktop instructions start at 0:57:
Interestingly, photos of the WiFiBlast show a one-touch set-up button but the installation video does not mention it. We tried calling customer support, were told there was a fiv- minute wait, then hung up after waiting 11 minutes.
The Blast supports up to 300 Mbps internet speeds. Anything beyond that will be limited to 300 Mbps.
Once you set up the device, it will extend the existing signal but the Blast Extender’s website doesn’t say how far it sends your signal. What we do know is what the site tells us:
- “Increased WiFi coverage in larger homes or those prone to dead spots”
- “Boost your existing network range”
- “Boost the range of your existing WiFi and create a stronger signal”
What’s really important to point out here is that signal extenders don’t make your internet speed faster. Rather, they send the existing speed farther. So, if your internet speeds are up to 75 Mbps, your extender will only extend speeds of up to 75 Mbps. The device cannot turn 75 Mbps internet into 300 Mbps internet.
One of the interesting claims the Blaster news story makes is that cable companies are using techniques to limit your internet speeds in a way that benefits them. WiFiBlast claims their extender can remedy the problem. We’ll talk about this in the next section
Does WiFiBlast Range Extender End Internet Company Greed?
In the news article we mentioned earlier, the internet tech explains to Bennett that internet companies are scamming customers. The companies will send you, say, the 75 Mbps you paid for but they’ll split it into two channels – 35 Mbps and 35 Mbps, for example – but one of those channels is hidden and you can’t access it.
The point of this trick is to get you to upgrade your internet speed, the article says.
We did some research about this concept and found an interesting article from well-known tech site Gizmodo, as well as some good input from customer service agents at local tech/electronics stores.
Here’s a summary of their thoughts about if internet companies purposely throttle your internet speed as the Range Extender’s marketing suggests.
As Gizmodo reporter David Neal points out, router channels exist kind of like lanes on a freeway. Your devices are cars traveling in those lanes.
The more non-overlapping channels a router provides, the more individual lanes your devices can access and the better speeds they’ll get “without them interfering with each other,” Neal writes.
We called a local Best Buy Geek Squad department, explained what WiFiRange as claiming and the phone rep responded, saying, “I’ve never heard of anything like that. To my understanding that’s not something that should be done.”
We then called a local AT&T store and found out a bit more. The person with whom we spoke, a store manager, told us that some internet providers actually do the split-channel method because they offer wireless hot spots.
What this means, the manager told us, is that your internet is split into two channels: one reserved only for you and one reserved for other customers who may want to connect to the provider’s network when they’re within range of your router.
However, the manager told us, you can access both channels if someone isn’t using half your signal for a hotspot. This assertion is contrary to WiFiBlast’s claims that their router can unlock that second channel—it unlocks for everyone, no matter which device or router they use.
WiFiBlast Range Extender Pricing
The cost of one of these devices gets lower the more you buy. Here were the prices at the time of publishing:
- One WiFiBlast: $39.95
- Two: $69.95
- Three: $99.95
- Four: $129.99
Purchasing four of these extenders ends up costing you $22.50 per device, which is around $17.50 cheaper than buying a single extender.
The extender comes with a 90-day guarantee, the website says. If you don’t like it, you can send it back and get a full refund, minus any shipping you paid to ship the return.
The company’s customer service email is email@example.com and their phone number is (833)394-6516.
How WiFiBlast Range Extender Compares to Similar Devices
We did a quick search for range extenders on Amazon and found several top-rated options that offered the same features as the WiFiBlast:
- NETGEAR N300: $24.49, 3.9 stars from 34,309 reviews
- TP-Link N300: $17.99, 3.8 stars from 15,198 reviews
Both of these extenders come from reputable companies and they provide the same speed support—300 Mbps—as the WiFiBlast.
What we noticed is that the TP-Link extender provides the extra advantage of doing a one-touch connection to your router instead of having to go through a set-up process via your phone/tablet or computer.
To accomplish this, you’ll press the “WPS” button on your router then press the same button your extender and it should connect automatically.
Based on features, reviews and pricing, we believe that the TP-Link extender offers the best value because it has a simpler set-up process and costs more than half what you’d pay for a single WiFiBlast device.
The Final Word: Pros, Cons and Tips for the WiFiBlast Range Extender
Based on our research of this product, we believe its greatest strength is that it’s pretty affordable if you buy four of them. For someone who has a big house, a four-pack for $129.99 is cheaper than many options on Amazon.
The drawback is that buying a single extender is relatively expensive, exceeding by more than $10 the price you’d pay for a device from a well-known company like Linksys or TP-Link. Also, the device offers no one-touch setup in its instruction manual despite having a one-touch button in photos provided by the website.
Whichever extender you decide to buy, remember the following tips and advice that we’ve gathered during our research:
- The average router can reach about 100 to 150 feet.
- Walls and other barriers can reduce how far a wireless signal travels
- Name-brand extenders usually have one-year warranties
If you’re the type of person who prefers reading through reviews before buying a product, we suggest heading to a site like Amazon to do your research. The WiFiBlast has limited reviews on its site and none on any other sites we visited.