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UPDATE Boosty Trial Hybrid 4G and Home Broadband Speed Booster

Thursday, October 15th, 2015 (4:37 pm) - Score 2,528

A new company called Boosty appears to have modified one of TP-Link’s Portable WiFi / 4G Routers to offer a new service that can combine Mobile Broadband networks with your existing fixed line Home Broadband connection in order to deliver faster speeds.

The approach of aggregating different connection types in order to offer a more stable or faster Internet service is technically nothing new, although such a complex mixed network can create problems for some services (e.g. multiplayer gaming) and in the case of 4G there could also be excess charges for data use to worry about.

In this case Boosty, which is apparently the brainchild of a former BT scientist, works by plugging its own little router (looks like a custom TP-Link TL-MR3020) into your Home Broadband router’s LAN (Ethernet) port. After that the Boosty router connects to the mobile date network via your 4G Android or Apple (iOS) Smartphone and then combines both networks.

Apparently the Boosty router combines the speed of both networks by sending packets across both links, which are then brought together at a Boosty server sitting in a UK datacentre (sounds odd). The server re-combines the data packets which are presented to the Internet as if they were from a single connection. A special app also needs to be installed on your Smartphone in order for this to work.

A related report on LINCOLNITE suggests that the technology is already being used by 15,000 businesses nationwide, but it also claims to have just gone live in Lincolnshire, although strictly speaking we can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work almost anywhere with a decent 4G signal (two or three bars of reception are recommended).

Paul Evans, CEO of Boosty, said:

We decided to launch the service in Lincolnshire first because so many of our friends and family live here and suffer from low broadband speeds – some of the worst in the UK.

By using our free to download BoostyLink app on their Apple or Android device with one of our starter kits, Boosty customers can speed up their home broadband, by topping it up with a second connection already in their homes – their smartphone.”

Interestingly the technology will only work if your home broadband connection delivers a speed of less than 4Mbps and in order to avoid excess 4G data charges the router will only send traffic over a mobile network when absolutely necessary (e.g. when your home broadband speed falls).

Naturally there’s a catch to all this, other than the obvious risk of gobbling up all your 4G data allowance and any associated excess charges. The main caveat being that the Boosty kit does require a subscription.

Boosty starter pack (£69)

– Boosty service connection fee
– 12 months’ Boosty service
– Hire of a Boosty router whilst you have the service
– Ethernet cable, USB power cable, USB power adapter
– 48 hour tracked delivery

NOTE: After 12 months you will need to renew your Boosty service at £39 per annum

As a technology it’s certainly a clever approach, although we suspect that 4G data limits may hinder its appeal and others could find it easier to simply enable the WiFi Hotspot mode on their Smartphones when Home Broadband becomes slow (this turns your phone into a WiFi access point).

Granted turning your Smartphone into a WiFi hotspot won’t combined the best of both broadband connections and not all mobile tariffs support Tethering, but it’s still a useful quick-fix.

UPDATE 16th October 2015

Added a video of how the technology works. On top of that it should be noted that Boosty appears to be a subsidiary of Sharedband Limited.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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