The 8 Simplest Ways to Improve Your WiFi

Your backyard’s now a world-class hotspot

By Kirk Miller

Orbi
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10 January 2018

The world’s all about making connections, right?

Hard to make ‘em when you’re tethered to your flimsy home wifi or, worse, 4G (more like Zero G, amirite?!).

So all hail Orbi.

New from Netgear, Orbi — officially, the Add-on Orbi Outdoor Satellite (RBS50Y) — is a pint-sized router with six interior antennas that’ll extend the range of your wifi up to 2,500 square feet. And that includes outdoors, in any weather (even bomb cyclones).

The plug-and-play product sets up like a dream: simply connect it to a power socket and sync to your Orbi router, and your backyard, patio, garage, guest house, etc. will be set for streaming. Capable of withstanding subzero temps thanks to a unique weather-resistant mesh construction, the unit also features a night-lighting system that’ll bring a touch of ambience to your home or patio.

Like Netgear’s Orbi Whole Wifi System companion, this Tri-band router utilizes a single network name, has a dedicated third channel for data exchange between the satellite and router, and offers a secure guest network.

Already a CES 2018 Innovation Awards honoree, the Add-on Orbi is available now (note that the add-on does require use of the Orbi router or an existing Orbi wifi system).

Don’t use Orbi, or need more connectivity help? A few other, easy-to-use streaming products we recommend:

For looks: eero
Essentially the iPhone of routers, these sleek white boxes (get a three-pack) will have your entire house up and streaming in about two minutes.

For a quick hotspot (in your pocket): Volterman
Each iteration of the waterproof Volterman (cardholder, bifold or passport/travel wallet) features a built-in powerbank, global GPS tracking, distance alarm (for both your phone and wallet), anti-theft camera, RFID protection and, yes, a wireless hotspot.

For your extended hotel stays: RAVPower Filehub
While not a hotspot, the Filehub acts as a wireless router (you’ll need to plug in a wired connection from, say, your hotel room), as well as SD card reader, hard drive and portable power bank.

For speeding up your inflight WiFi: ScaleUp
A Chrome extension that increases the size of images so browsers aren’t able to display as many of them in a window ... thereby allowing web pages to load almost four times faster.

For finding free WiFi in airports: WiFox
A continually updated map of airport and lounge wifi passwords, as created by travel guru Anil Polat — a map version is available here. The best little detail about the app? It works offline and you can copy/paste passwords with one click. (Need more airport WiFi help? Use our guide).

For anonymous surfing anywhere: Karma Black
Connecting to your existing home wifi, these boxes (available now for preorder) automatically encrypt and anonymize your online identity/activity — and they also works as a mobile, private router (on an LTE network) for up to six hours.

For sunnier streaming days: Sunflower by ShadeCraft
This soon-to-market solar-powered umbrella changes shape and follows the sun like a sunflower would. It also charges your phone, acts as a security camera, works through voice command and can be used as your dedicated outdoor wifi source (through optional cellular data connectivity).

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