A portable 3G router that won't take up much room in your briefcase, but which has all the capabilities of a desktop Wi-Fi model plus some novel extras.
Small and light; can be powered from a USB port; WPS and WDS support; multiple SSIDs; useful server functions.
Limited Wi-Fi range; cramped ports.
Specifications: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and 3.5G router; 2 x USB2 ports; 1 x 10/100Mbits/sec LAN port; 1 x 10/100Mbits/sec LAN/WAN port; WEP/WPA/WPA2 encryption; HSPA/UMTS/EVDO; multiple SSIDs; FTP server; Samba server; webcam server; USB print server; Dimensions (DxWxH) 91 x 80 x 29; Weight 225g
Mobile broadband is a great tool when you're out and about, but it's not that easy if you want to share your connection with colleagues or set up a temporary network.
The Solwise 3G11nMRW is a truly portable yet fully featured 802.11n-enabled router that supports many popular USB mobile broadband dongles at HSPA speeds up to 7.2Mbit/s.
With this tiny device you can easily connect Wi-Fi and/or Ethernet clients. It plugs directly into the mains, or you can power it from a PC's USB port using a mini-USB cable, adding to its portability.
There are four ports in total: a 10/100 LAN port, a combined 10/100 LAN/WAN port and two USB2 ports. It can operate in three modes selected via a hardware switch - router, access point and Wi-Fi access point. In access point mode, the Ethernet WAN port can be used for LAN connections. If you use an Ethernet WAN connection, a 3G dongle can be used for automatic WAN failover.
The Solwise 3G11nMRW is a fully featured Wi-Fi router with WPA2 encryption and an SPI firewall, but it has several server functions built in as well. There's an FTP server that can store files on a connected USB hard disk or Flash drive, a Samba server for easy cross-platform file sharing between users, a USB print server and a USB webcam server that turns any UVC-compliant webcam into a mini-surveillance system.
Getting it up and running was straightforward, thanks to a simple web interface spoiled only by the tortured English. It takes two to three minutes to boot, so changing settings can be a little tedious at times. A software utility is provided that gives an alternative way to access settings.
Up to 10 users can be given password-protected accounts, and each can log in to a personalised page on the router to access the webcam, FTP and Samba server functions.
A novel feature is the multi-SSID (Service Set IDentifier) support. You can set up to four virtual SSIDs in addition to the root SSID, giving you up to five separate access points sharing the available radio bandwidth. The Wi-Fi protocol and encryption can be configured separately for each SSID. The twin-antenna 11n implementation means that indoor range isn't huge (we achieved 15m to 20m), but it's a fair compromise for travel use.
The 3G11nMRW is a very handy piece of technology for those who use mobile broadband a lot, and it's very keenly priced considering some of its more unusual features.