March 10th 2011 7:46 pm PT

I need a new travel router

 

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.

 

41ATF38JBEL. SL160  Cisco Linksys WTR54GS Wireless G Travel Router with Speedbooster

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.

 

Any ideas?

 

Gadgets By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • OverallEarth

    Both are made buy dlink.
    DIR-412 Mobile Broadband Wireless Router
    DAP-1350 Wireless N Pocket Router & Access Point

  • Rykin Poe

    Not sure about a small device like you have but you could always get a USB WiFi adapter and use it to connect to the hotel’s (or whatever) network while using your built-in WiFi to share the connection with other devices.

  • sofaraway731

    How about connecting via the hotel’s wireless with your laptop, then opening up a network bridge between your wireless and ethernet port, then hook up a wireless router by plugging one end of the ethernet cable into the ethernet port of your laptop, and the other into the ‘Internet’ port on the router. I do this at home for my DS. I have a router for the DS that uses a WEP key, since the DS doesn’t handle WPA, and I disabled the SSID broadcast.

  • JeffRand

    @OverallEarth, I think you missed Major Nelson’s point. He needs a device that will bridge two different wireless networks.

  • Major Nelson

    I was looking for an all-in-one solution. I’ve tried the (((wireless)))->laptop->wire->router (((wireless)))->Devices but it’s a but cumbersome in terms of equipment and set-up.

  • FINALDEATH

    All you need to do is like sofa said and bridge the wireless adapter with your ethernet port and plug the ethernet cable into another laptop or router which then would connect to all your other devices. This is actually what i did (without a router though) with my pc and 360 before i got the slim since laying a cord through the whole house wasn’t an option and the wireless adapter for the xbox is way too expensive.

    Or you can even get tethering from your phone provider and use your phones connection as a connection to the internet for your laptops. Won’t be the fastest thing in the world but it would work.

    There is also a way to use another router as a bridge without even bridging another pc’s connection to it, however i am not sure if you would need the network admin to do anything on the main router as i have never done this method myself. Any dual band router should be able to do this if you want wifi to wifi, but if you want wifi to ethernet than i’m pretty sure any router can do it as long as it supports the type of wifi the main router is using.

  • RoAdZ

    how about this one ? http://www.amazon.com/Buffalo-Technology-Nfiniti-Wireless-N-WZR-HP-G300NH/dp/B0028ACYEK?&camp=212361&linkCode=wey&tag=tech03fe-20&creative=391821

    Buffalo Technology Nfiniti Wireless-N High Power Router & Access Point WZR-HP-G300NH

    I got this because it is running DD-WRT which allows you to pull down a wifi access point or plug in to hotel jack and broad cast your own wifi ap. I’ve been really happy with this so far. From what I read you do need to apply a new update to DD-WRT after you get it though. I did and so far rock solid!

  • RoAdZ

    Ah should have read more of the article before posting sorry. I’m pretty sure you can do what you want with DD-WRT. What isn’t working with DD-WRT? Another option might be Netgear WNDR 3300.

    http://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-WNDR3300-RangeMax-Wireless-N-Router/dp/B0017TFVUW?&camp=212361&linkCode=wey&tag=tech03fe-20&creative=391821

    I can set it to pull down one wireless and broadcast on the other one. Never tried it though.

  • KingMathers 313

    Actually Windows 7 does have a feature for WiFi Sharing built in, even if the WiFi is in use. That way, you could use your laptop (if it runs Windows 7) to connect to the available WiFi and then share this connection again via the laptop and WiFi to your smartphone etc.

  • KingMathers 313

    BTW I have Xbox Live Gold (Family) but here in the comments I show up as silver. Why is that?

  • PrismSub7

    DD-WRT supports virtual interfaces, that way you can use a single wifi radio to act as host and client at the same time. It’s in Wireless settings > basic settings, there should be a ‘add virtual interface’-button.

    I don’t know if the WTR54GS supports it (it has a small flash so they removed quite some features). If it doesn’t, I recommend the NetGear WNDR3700 or the NanoStation M2 (pre-installed from the official dd-wrt shop)

  • CDN Crockett

    What you don’t bring a 360 with you!!!! ;)

  • CuddlyClamShot

    King – that is a problem with all Family Gold members, I think MS is aware of it.

    Major – thanks for sharing.

  • WiCkEd Co 80

    What about a phone with a built in hotspot feature? I used my Samsung Epic like that all the time it’s 3/4G

  • A FATAL ERR0R

    I’ve used my Evo as a wifi hotspot on trips. But its a battery drainer and if you’re in a bad spot with no 4G or bad 3G its not going to get you anywhere. I almost wish I traveled a lot just so I could buy all of the cool gadgets. I seriously enjoy devising ways to pack up my 360, laptop and clothes into an easy and small travel package haha. I did get a nice back pack to carry my 360, laptop, controllers, chargers and everything else you could think of besides clothes for a plane trip. Its was cool to have it all with me, but my back was hurting after waiting around the air port for hours haha.

  • nonfatnonfat

    Major, I believe Cisco makes such a product. Get in touch with your Cisco rep.

  • NeoRatt

    I travel a lot as well. I have recently switched to just using cellular technologies because they are pretty good on performance now. I have the HUAWEI cellular/wi-fi device. It connects to the cell network and acts as a wi-fi router for up to 8 devices. And you can run it securely.

    Now, I no longer have to log into, or go through any hotel networks and stuff. I am independent and can run anywhere where there is 3G or 4G cell access.

    And the other thing is that this is the only cellular data contract I have now. I just keep this device with me at all times and my Windows 7 Phone connects to it as its primary data network!

  • XboxNman

    It might be possible to use a wifi repeater to do what you want, though I have never tried. A device like this (example only, never owned one myself) http://www.amazon.com/RT-N12-Wireless-N-Router-Access-Repeater/dp/B002SQ9ZX2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1299813873&sr=8-3 has a router/ap/repeater all in one package.

    As long as the repeater can act as a wireless router and not just being a signal extender (which I believe wouldn’t give you router control – it would be left to the hotel to provide multiple wifi connection addresses), it should be able to do what you want.

    I read it’s possible to “hack” a one radio router to be a repeater but the bandwidth gets cut in half because it has to both receive the signal from the device while sending the signal to the hotel network. Of course adding more wifi device only makes that worse. One persons solution was to use two one radio routers, connected by a small cable so that one router acts as just a link to the hotel network only and the other acts like a normal wifi router access point.

    Hope this helps, good luck Major.

  • Skip Freethrow

    Ground Control to Major Nelson
    Ground Control to Major Nelson
    Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

    Ground Control to Major Nelson
    Commencing countdown, engines on
    Check ignition and may God’s love be with you

    Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Lift-off

    This is Ground Control to Major Nelson
    You’ve really made the grade
    And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
    Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare

    “This is Major Nelson to Ground Control
    I’m stepping through the door
    And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
    And the stars look very different today

    For here
    am I sitting in my tin can
    Far above the world
    Planet Earth is blue
    And there’s nothing I can do

    Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
    I’m feeling very still
    And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
    Tell my wife I love her very much (she knows!)
    Ground Control to Major Nelson
    Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
    Can you hear me, Major Nelson?
    Can you hear me, Major Nelson?
    Can you hear me, Major Nelson?
    Can you hear….

    “ am I floating round my tin can
    Far above the Moon
    Planet Earth is blue
    And there’s nothing I can do.?

  • chiruno99

    Travel Routers?

  • Xenokai 360

    I dont know alot about travel based routers, Dlink in my opinion is the best for networking gear.

  • Opticon12000

    Its an interesting problem that you think someone would have solved easily by now and would be well known.

    Why is it always internet and printers that cause the most problems with computer users?
    There should be one standard or just a standard with options that works. The GUI on most of these routers is horrible, eugh.

  • DM2

    What about a simple wireless bridge such as http://www.linksysbycisco.com/UK/en/products/WET610N this could then supply the ‘wired’ point for you to then share out as you would if the hotel had a wired point. you would only need that one bit of kit extra and you would have a consistent way of connecting.

  • Shiaoran

    I agree with Opticon12000. Maybe they just can’t be bothered to make stuff that works flawlessly, just like MS does with Windows XD

    I’m not a know-it-all about routers, but I believe you need one that acts as bridge and that’s all. I’ve had a router that recieved signal from my other one to be connected to the internet first wirelessly and then wired when I passed an ethernet cable to the other room. And if you need 2 ethernet ports but the travel router has only 1, you’ll need a splitter.

  • Shiaoran

    BTW, sleepyness made me read the title as “I need a time travel router”

  • AlbionKnightX

    Why not just buy a second wireless card for your notebook?

  • NASARocketman

    This looks to do what you want Major. It doesn’t look to be a small portable version, but it’s a start.
    http://www.hawkingtech.com/products/productlist.php?CatID=32&FamID=105&ProdID=400

    I’ve been looking for something similar as well.

  • TakedownKG1

    There is no need for extra router or bridging connections.
    If you have WIndows 7 it is very easy to setup a virtual network that acts as a wireless hot spot which allows as many gadgets as you want to connect. It just appears as a normal wi-fi router This can be used while you are connected to another wireless network also. Just google “Windows 7 virtual wi-fi”.

    I have used this many times in hotels to get my phone and ipod hooked up to the network.

    I use this program to set it up making it very simple.

    http://virtualrouter.codeplex.com/

  • CuddlyClamShot

    I won’t be able to sleep with this hot topic unresolved, will there be a Dashboard update if he selects a router? What am I supposed to do in the meantime?

  • DigitalDDT

    I use a a ASUS AP WL-330g, i carry one in my bag with me always. I use it to connect my iPad or laptop to clients that don’t have AP’s when i am onsite for the day. I have used it for a couple of years with no problems. Its small and reliable and have never had a problem with it.

  • Wasabinuki

    The ZuniConnect travel router (model ZTRP150) offers the connectivity you are asking for. This wireless B+G+N router has 2 modes of operation. The first being ROUTER mode which uses a traditional wired broadband connection for the WAN signal, and secondly WISP mode that lets me use an existing wireless connection as the WAN signal. WISP mode is what you need. When I am not traveling for work I use this with my Bluray player in my spare bedroom so guest can use the Netflix feature on the Bluray. Its a pretty cool device and is available on websites like Amazon and Buy. And the USB charging station is a convenient way for me to charge my smartphone and ipad when on the road.

  • Wasabinuki

    The ZuniConnect travel router (model ZTRP150) offers the connectivity you are asking for. This wireless B+G+N router has 2 modes of operation. The first being ROUTER mode which uses a traditional wired broadband connection for the WAN signal, and secondly WISP mode that lets me use an existing wireless connection as the WAN signal. WISP mode is what you need. When I am not traveling for work I use this with my Bluray player in my spare bedroom so guest can use the Netflix feature on the Bluray. Its a pretty cool device and is available on websites like Amazon and Buy. And the USB charging station is a convenient way for me to charge my smartphone and ipad when on the road.

 
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