Devices | 12 Apr 2022

Alexa tips for Pro Broadband Super WiFi Plus booster

The Alexa voice assistant built into Vodafone’s top-of-the-range WiFi range booster – an optional extra on Pro Broadband – is more versatile than you know, as our tips reveal.

One of the add-ons that Vodafone makes available with its Pro Broadband plans is the Super WiFi Plus booster with Alexa. As its name suggests, this accessory pulls double-duty – it has Amazon’s voice-activated Alexa assistant built-in, alongside its WiFi range boosting abilities.

But if you’re only asking Alexa to check the weather or set alarms, then you’re missing out on the many convenient and fun ways it can help you out around the home.

Mad skills

While Alexa on the Super WiFi Plus booster can answer many common queries straight out of the box, you can add to its repertoire using Skills. These are the equivalent of apps, so adding a Skill to your Super WiFi Plus booster will enable a new ability. You can find and add new Skills using the Alexa app on your smartphone. Here are some fun and useful Skills to try out.

Control your entertainment

It’ll be no surprise to learn that you can ask Alexa to control video playback (among other features) on your Amazon Fire TV streaming stick or set top box, instead of using a remote control. This is handy whether you have limited dexterity in your hands or if you just have your hands full with popcorn and the kids. To set this up, and to see the full range of available voice commands, just follow Amazon’s instructions.

You can also use your voice to control other sources of entertainment, from recent Xbox consoles to Apple Music and Spotify.

Smart home

You can use Alexa to boss around a vast array of smart home technology, from Ring security cameras and Nest thermostats to Phillips Hue light bulbs and robotic vacuum cleaners from Samsung and iRobot.

While you’ll need to install a separate Skill for each bit of smart home tech that you have, the really clever bit is controlling them together all-at-once using an Alexa Routine. For example, if the in-laws are threatening a lastminute visit, you could run a Routine that tells your smart thermostat to set the temperature to just the way they like it, to turn on all the lights automatically so they’re not fumbling around in the dark, and commands the robot vacuum to give the living room a quick clean.

If you’re more worried about potential burglars when you’re away out and about, Burglar Deterrent might give you peace of mind. When activated, it will play a 30-minute loop of noises that make it sound as if people are home. It can also be added to a Routine so, for example, it can be triggered if your Alexa-compatible security camera detects motion.

Child wrangling

Keeping kids engaged and entertained can be challenging at the best of times. For something with an educational bent, try Science Buddy. This Skill will quiz your tykes with 10 multiple choice questions about biology, physics, energy or the earth sciences.

When it’s time to drag your kids away from their devices and to the dinner table, Vodafone’s own Dinnertime Skill can help. When activated, it switches your Pro Broadband router’s WiFi off for 30 minutes, helping you to have a screen-free family meal.

When it’s time for lights out, Amazon’s own Storytime Skill can read out a short story from a library of more than a hundred. For children aged five to 12, it could be just the thing to help them nod off. For children with more troublesome sleep issues, more involved assistance will be needed.

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If you’re hungering after food for thought, Ted Talks has a big menu of thought-provoking talks and lectures to listen to. If you want to soothe your mind, rather than switch it on, Ambient Sounds does exactly what it says on the tin. You can loop a variety of sounds, from fireplaces to rustling leaves and rain, for up to an hour.

For those who’ve developed a finger-strumming musical bent during lockdown, Guitar Tuner could come in handy by helping you to tune your instrument.

And if you’re more concerned about your physical well-being, the Fitbit Skill can keep you up-to-date on all the stats from your Fitbit fitness tracker.

Location services

When you’re setting up your Super WiFi Plus booster with Alexa for the first time, the Vodafone Broadband app will guide you through the process of finding the best location to put it for bolstering your router’s WiFi range.

If you find that the booster has trouble picking up your voice, there are a few things you can try – while keeping the booster within its WiFi-range boosting sweet spot, of course. Where possible, keep it away from walls so that the booster’s microphones are unobstructed. This will give them the best possible chance of picking up your voice. Keeping the booster away from sources of potentially confusing noise, especially TVs and other speakers (smart or otherwise), can also help.

image showing Vodafone's Super WiFi Plus range extender with Alexa Built-in from the side
The Vodafone Super WiFi Plus booster with Alexa Built-in, as seen from the side.

Try to avoid placing the booster too low down. The closer it is to head-height, whether you’re standing or sitting down, the more likely is that your commands will reach the mics. While this won’t necessarily help with voice recognition, keeping it away from windows is also a good idea as it’ll help prevent accidental Alexa activations by passers-by and neighbours.

If none of that helps, don’t forget that your boosters can work with other Alexa-capable smart speakers such as Amazon’s own Echo range. A wide range of models is available at a variety of prices, so kitting out other rooms of your home with their own Alexa-equipped speaker needn’t be out of reach.

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