Data Doctors: Beware of scam Wi-Fi boosters

Q: I keep seeing ads for the Novitec Wi-Fi Booster that claims it can bypass an Internet provider’s speed caps and provide faster connections; is this legit?

We all rely on the Internet so much these days that when there are performance issues, it’s aggravating.

This common experience is why so many devices are advertised that claim they can ‘fix’ the problem you’re having by getting around the limits placed by your Internet provider.

The Novitec device, in particular, makes the claim that it is “The Wi-Fi Booster your Internet provider doesn’t want you to know about.”

The Reality of Internet Speeds
When you sign up for any residential Internet service, the provider charges you for a plan that provides speeds ‘up to’ a specific range.

The reason for this is that your actual speed at any given time can be impacted by numerous variables, many of which aren’t under the control of your ISP (Internet Service Provider).

The distance from their connecting office to your home as well as others that use the same service in your neighborhood can have a dramatic impact on your actual speeds, which is why it’s never a one-size-fits-all situation.

Wireless connections in particular are impacted by other items on the same frequency, the construction materials used to build your home and the distance of your device from your wireless access point.

False Claims
Novitec is trying to convince you that you can get over on your ISP by purchasing their device and they’ll even give you a 50% discount if you order now!

They also claim that if you buy more of them, you’ll get “an even stronger signal,” which also implies that you’ll get faster speeds if you spend more money.

The truth is, whatever the incoming speed from your ISP is, it’s the fastest it can be at that moment — nothing that connects afterward can change the speed of the incoming source.

It’s a Wi-Fi Range Extender
What this device is really designed to do is extend the range of your signal in areas where your Wi-Fi signal is weak or nonexistent. The term ‘booster’ really means that it will increase the range, not the speed of your connection.

Most Wi-Fi range extenders (or repeaters as they are also called) actually reduce the speed you’ll achieve versus your primary connection, especially when they only work on the slower 2.4 GHz frequency like this one.

Why It’s A Really Bad Deal
The most egregious part of this device is that you can buy comparable devices for less than $20 from name brand manufacturers such as TP-Link or superior devices from NETGEAR that will boost the range for both 2.5 and 5 GHz for less money.

Changing Names
As these devices are exposed for being a scam, they simply change the name of the product and create another website that makes it look like a revolutionary new product.

With this in mind, avoid any Wi-Fi devices from a company that you’ve never heard of, since most of them are cheap knockoffs that are here today and gone tomorrow.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or Twitter.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up