Worse yet, wi-fi is subject to all kinds of interference in your household. It works in the same frequency spectrum as many cordless phones, not to mention microwave ovens and other devices in the 2.4 GHz range. If you haven't password protected your wi-fi network -- a shocking number of people never do -- your neighbors can be using your bandwidth at the same time you do. Guess what that does to your speed and throughput.
Why Do You Need Better Wi-Fi?
When all this happens, streamed media can become a bad joke. You sometimes lose sync between picture and sound. The high-def quality might drop to standard def (or worse) for minutes at a time, or for the duration of the movie. If you dare rewind to catch a line of dialogue you might have missed, or a great shot that you want to see again, you have to suffer through the buffering, the catching up and the re-syncing. This can -- and often does -- take so long that it destroys the flow of what you're watching, you just end up not doing it anymore. This is progress?
Mohu is a company I had never heard of, but I was intrigued when I heard about their new Bounce wi-fi extender, so I asked for a review sample. It promised to deliver up to 3X the signal coverage, without my having to replace my wi-fi router or use one of those wi-fi extenders, which do work, but mean another thing to plug in somewhere else in the house. Sometimes more than one thing. This sounded like a simpler solution and I was eager to check it out.
Simple should be simple, but I was somewhat shocked to find that the Bounce does not come with any instructions. At all -- not in the packaging and not on the web site. It's not like you couldn't figure out what to do -- there's just one hole at the bottom, and you simply stick the Bounce on top of one of the antennas on your router. But come on guys -- no instructions? Which way should it face? Which antenna should you put it on? Does it matter? Even the web site offered no clue; I had to cheat by looking up other people's experiences with the product. Reluctantly, I'm deducting one star from what would otherwise have been a complete top review -- shipping consumer electronics product without documentation is inexcusable. That being said, it took me about 5 seconds to "install" the Bounce.
I tested the Bounce with some pretty demanding material. I used HD movies and TV shows, streamed high-res photos to my iPad -- nothing seemed to phase it. The annoying delay of "rewinding" -- is that even still a term in the digital age? -- a show was largely gone, the catch-up and re-buffer was much faster than it used to be. Now this is progress.
For only $24.95, the Mohu Bounce can make a disproportionately significant improvement in your home entertainment experience, not to mention all the other things you depend on wi-fi for.
Before you blow at least double -- more like at least triple --the money on a new (and theoretically more powerful) router, you'd be well advised to check out this solution first. It's more convenient than a traditional wi-fi extender, and you don't need to make any changes to your existing setup. Just slip this thing onto one of your router's antennas, aim the narrow end to where you need the signal most (you can change this at will) and you're good to go.
I love simple solutions that work. So far, the Mohu Bounce has been one of them.