BT release new home wi-fi signal booster

simon chandler
By Simon Chandler

bt building logo

BT have released a new "Whole Home Wi-Fi" system that provides homes with complete broadband coverage, eliminating any "dead spots" in the process.

According to BT, the system is a "first of its kind in the UK", comprising three 165mm "repeater discs" that are placed at various locations throughout the home to ensure that all rooms within it receive the same strength of signal.

Each disc comes with four dual-band antennas, and while they promise to end the problem of having a weak signal at the furthest ends of your home, the whole system comes with a £299.99 price tag.

This makes it more expensive than other wi-fi boosters and extenders on the market, something which might seem odd in light of the fact that all it's really doing is compensating for limitations in a service BT's customers have already paid for.

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However, in contrast to other extenders, BT affirm that their Whole Home Wi-Fi is "a new advanced system".

In particular, its use of cutting-edge technology transforms it into an "intelligent self-configuring wireless network", one which switches the user to the fastest and strongest available signal whenever they move from one room to another.

In other words, the system is effectively a smart device, as indicated by the fact that it's controlled via an app.

Not only does this app provide the user with step-by-step instructions on how best to place each disc, but it also comes with nifty little features perfect for parents wanting to regulate their children's use of the internet.

For example, the app enables users to "pause the internet", meaning that wi-fi access can be disabled at dinner times, bed times, or whenever parents want little Jane or Johnny to finish their calculus homework (this can also be done by such routers as the Cyberoam Netgenie).

It can even be used to monitor how your wi-fi network is being used and who is using it, thereby making it possible to know that, while you're at work, a family member - perhaps a truant child - is happily surfing the web back at home.

Such features are if nothing else interesting in their potential to affect family dynamics. Indeed, in many respects the system is as much a home-internet regulation system as much as a wi-fi extender, and it's intriguing as to why BT haven't played up this feature of the Whole Home Wi-Fi in their press release and marketing.

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Still, for people interested only in making sure their entire home has equal coverage, £299.99 might be a little steep. Luckily, several cheaper alternatives are available that people might like to investigate before plumping for BT's new system.

There is, for instance, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender (EX7000), which at around £124.99, costs less than half that of the Whole Home Wi-Fi despite comparably powerful. There's also the whole range of TP-LINK extenders, which depending on the model will set you back anything from £39.99 to £124.99.

Then there are a number of practical things that you can do to extend your wi-fi signal. While most of these are mainly for those with more technical leanings, as with boosting your broadband speed, some of them are simpler, such as making sure your router is located in the open, has its antennas pointing upwards, and is placed as high up as possible.

Then again, if such tinkering doesn't sound like your cup of tea, and you like the idea of lording over your wi-fi network, then maybe BT's Whole Home Wi-Fi system is for you.


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