Connected lighting is no unusual thing these days, with companies like Philips and Osram letting you turn your living room into a disco with phone-controlled colour changing bulbs. Fun? Yes. But useful? Not really. Enter the Sengled Boost bulb, which aims to improve your Wi-Fi coverage around the home by doubling up as a Wi-Fi repeater.
The dimmable bulbs (which come in standard A19, flood and spotlight shapes) can be set up in just a few minutes, using Android or iOS apps to connect up to your home router before beaming the Wi-Fi signal to inaccessible areas of your house. Tidier than Powerline plugs and more discrete than a dedicated Wi-Fi repeater box, the Sengled Boost does its job without bringing attention to itself.
I've been living with a Sengled Boost bulb in my Wi-Fi-phobic bedroom for a few months now and it works reasonably well. It's certainly made the connection to this blackspot of my home far more consistent, even if speeds don't quite match those coming direct from my fibre-connected router.
However, there are a few quirks worth noting before splashing down the cash. For starters, though you can dim the bulb to what is essentially an "off" brightness from the accompanying smartphone app, the bulb itself must remain "on" from the wall switch. Otherwise, you'll find you'll have to keep inputting your router password each time it's switched back on.
Also, the Sengled Boost initially presents itself as a unique network with its own ID, rather than seamlessly boosting your local network. Though initially this annoyingly means you have to connect all your devices separately to the bulb, you can get around this by tweaking the bulb's SSID and password to match that of your router.
It's a bright idea then, dimmed by some inelegant execution on the usability side, though it's still probably the tidiest way to extend Wi-Fi around your home. You can pick up a bulb for £45 from Amazon. Tech specs follow:
- LED A19, BR30, and PAR38 integrated with Wi-Fi repeater
- Wirelessly connects to home router to extend the Wi-Fi signals to areas of the house where signal is poor
- Supports 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4GHz with 2×2 MIMO antenna array
- 35 metres of range with near line of sight
- Security: 64/128 bit WPA-PSK/WPS2-PSK, WPA/WPA2
- Encryption: WEP64/WEP128/TKIP/AES
- iOS and Android apps for Wi-Fi set up and lighting control