In my job, I travel to lots of places where people are having meetings to work on their computers. We do this because we get the most “bang for the buck” so to speak by going where people are then working on their computers. But, that means we don’t have control over the environment we find ourselves in. Or what resources are available. We can get around this by taking hard drives with software and updates for our use. However, there are cases where wifi is spotty (that’s being nice). An example would be a meeting I recently went to in Morocco: wifi was available in the lobby but not the meeting room. But, in one corner of the meeting room we could, occasionally, leech wifi off another hotel. That corner was really popular.
Enter my quest for a router I could take with me places. A colleague suggested an Apple Airport Express (he has one). The size was right but it didn’t do everything I wanted. I then thought about getting a stock router and installing DD-Wrt. Well, after looking, I didn’t think DD-Wrt did everything I wanted. So, I kept looking. But, before I go farther, I suppose I should tell you my requirements:
- work as a traditional access point (give it an ethernet internet connection and have it broadcast it)
- work as a bridge (connect to the internet via wifi then give that signal over wired connection)
- #2 except rebroadcast on a SSID of my choice
- be small
#3 turned out to be the hardest. After looking, I didn’t even think that ddwrt would do what I wanted. I kept looking. And looking. And looking. Finally, I stumbled on the Asus WL-330n3G. This thing does everything:
- I can plug it into an ethernet port and broadcast my own SSID (complete with DHCP, firewall, etc… services)
- I can connect it to a wireless network and give any wired devices access to that wired network
- I can reshare that wireless on a SSID of my choice
- I can simply repeat a SSID, if I want
- I can even connect a USB 3G modem and share that internet amongst devices
- Best of all, this thing is small. About the size of a credit card and perhaps 1/2 inch thick!
- And even better, it is powered by USB. AND they included an AC->USB power adapter
- Even more better, the price was only £31 (about $50)!
I haven’t taken it any place with me yet, but I think this little guy will come in very handy!