Mental note: Never, ever trust a review from Hardware-Review.net. That "Broadband Booster" review is just plain retarded.
1. The VoIP phone claims are just plain fiction.
During the second phase of testing, I added the Hawking broadband booster in between the cable modem and broadband router. I made the same call to Sacramento for 30 minutes for consistency purposes. Immediately, I noticed a much clearer connection and a significantly reduced amount of distortion and echoing.
Ok, this claim is simply rediculous. VoIP calls are DIGITAL. You speak into your handset, the audio is encoded by a hardware DSP into a digital format, the audio is broken up into packets, and the packets go out onto the network. By the time the audio packets get to the broadband router, the router CANNOT in any way possible affect echo and distortion. If there's echo and distortion, the DSP has introduced it, and there's no way in hell that this magic broadband booster is going to decode the packets and re-run some DSP echo-cancellation algorithms. Even if for some ungodly reason the device can do this, the audio degredation would be horrible. You know how you lose image quality when you encode a .jpg, decode it to some other format, and then re-encode it to .jpg again? Imagine doing that to super-compressed audio (G.711 at best; probably something similar to G.729 at worst) that already has a limited frequency response because of the digital encoding and probably crappy microphone. The claim the reviewer makes is downright false. If I met him on the street I'd call him a liar to his face.
It was immediately clear that the booster was doing its job and routing the data packets better than the router alone. Throughout the entire call, I noticed the voice quality was better, static was non-existent, and was very close to using a regular phone connection.
WTF???? The booster was routing data packets BETTER than the router alone? This guy has zero understanding of networking. Let's imagine this guy's network setup, which will be the exact same setup as anyone else's:
pc -> booster -> isp router -> hop -> ... -> hop -> dest
There's only ONE way out of your LAN, and that's to your ISP's router. That router sends the packet on its way to the next router, and so on until the packet gets to its destination. You can replace the booster with your own router, and there's absolutely NO difference in how the booster can route traffic. There's only one way out!
Ok, so let's say that the booster is routing traffic better by tagging all the packets with a high quality-of-service (QoS) level (the DSCP byte of the IP packet). Even if your LAN is configured for QoS, the second the packet leaves your LAN, all routers are allowed to IGNORE the quality level that you've marked your packet with. A general rule of thumb is that every router on the internet will IGNORE the quality-of-service byte so you will not get any increased performance by modifying the packet. Now if you were doing a call between 2 nodes on your own LAN, and your LAN was configured for quality-of-service, then yes, you could see better performance if there was a congestion problem on your LAN in the first place
At BEST, the booster prioritizes your traffic so that it always sends VoIP traffic before any other outbound traffic. But to see the improvement your LAN connection would have to be completely saturated with traffic. You'd be better off getting a router than can do QoS then spending your money on this piece of junk.
I already addressed the claim that there was increased audio quality and "less static" when I talked about audio encoding.
2. For the remainder of the article the lying author dropped all pretext and didn't even try to make up stories about how the magical booster fixed his internet connection. All he did was show his ping and frame rate for a few games. THERE'S NO COMPARISON TO THE GAME WITHOUT THE BOOSTER! Why? Because the author didn't want to make the effort to fabricate fake screenshots, I'd imagine. Why the hell would the author show his frame rate, anyway? What the hell would the broadband booster have to do with how fast his CPU and video card can draw video frames?
The reviewer is a liar and the product is probably a pass-through piece of junk. I'd love to get my hands on one of these devices and sniff the packet stream to find out what it really does, if anything.
I mean, one of the product features is that it enhances e-mail! E-MAIL! What the hell.
That review site is a piece of junk, and that product is quite likely a useless piece of plastic.