March 10th 2011 7:46 pm PT
I tend to travel frequently, sometimes many times per month. One of the first things I do when I check into a hotel room is get all my gear connected and online. I usually travel with a couple of laptops, Smartphones etc…all of which I’d like to have online. The problem is that most hotel rooms have a single wired connection in the room or a wireless network available. For a variety of reasons, I prefer to use the wired connection. The quality of service tends to be more stable, but more importantly I can wirelessly share out my single wired internet connection to get my devices online. Here is how you can do it with Windows or OSX..as you can see it’s pretty easy.
Where I run in a rough spot is if there is ONLY a wireless connection available.
What to do?
Since laptops generally only have one Wi-fi radio on-board, you can not use the sharing method above since the one radio is being used to get the laptop online. There is no easy way to share out the wireless connection wirelessly.
What I need is a small travel router with one important difference: It needs to have two Wi-Fi radios. Not Dual-Band…but two completely different radios, one to connect to the local wireless network, and then a SECOND radio to share that connection out via a wireless network as a hot spot for my devices.
A few years ago, I picked up the Cisco-Linksys WTR54GS Wireless G Travel Router (pictured on the right) that claims it could do exactly this. After using the stock Linksys and various versions of DD-WRT and Tomato firmware, I’ve given up. I’ve spent far too much time trying to get it working than actually using it in the manner of which I need.
My search is now on for a unit that will ‘just work’ the way I need it to: Joining an existing wireless network that has internet connectivity and then sharing it out wirelessly for my devices. I imagine there are other road warriors that need something similar, but all of my searches have come up empty.