Recommendation Needed For Travel Router/Bridge

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by theBOAT, Sep 2, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. theBOAT
    Original Member

    theBOAT Silver Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    278
    Status Points:
    545
    Hi all,

    I did a quick search, but no threads popped up. I'm getting tired of visiting hotels where the WiFi is very weak to non-existent, and my only recourse is to use the in-room ethernet cable. Unfortunately, all I want to fire up when I'm back in my room after working is my iPad, not my PC. This also is an issue now that my wife is bringing our Macbook Air on vacation trips.

    So, I've heard good things about the Apple Airport Express, but at $99+, there are other options at half the price. Should I pony up my money for quality, or are the others good enough to fulfill my needs and save me some green? Thanks for the advice.

    theBOAT
     
    Chimpy likes this.
  2. Travel2Food
    Original Member

    Travel2Food Silver Member

    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    374
    Status Points:
    535
    Good luck. In a couple of recent hotels that I've stayed in the wired internet was effectively non-functional (DHCP was nonfunctional or failed to give IP address).
     
    Chimpy likes this.
  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    On the other board, I saw discussions where people recommended an ASUS device (WL-330gE).

    I recently bought it from Newegg for about $30. I haven't actually used it as a travel router yet; one reason for me to get it was that it can also be configured as a Wifi extender... and that seems to work fine so far -- now I can surf more reliably in my backyard.
     
    Chimpy and theBOAT like this.
  4. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    Messages:
    3,616
    Likes Received:
    6,793
    Status Points:
    4,670
    Four or five years ago I paid ~ $35 for a D-Link wireless pocket router and it has served me very well. Far more properties have wireless than did back then, but I still find hotels with either wired only or with very weak wireless signals accessible from my room, plug into the wired with the router and I'm good to go (plus my wife and I can both get online usually when wired is the only option).
     
    Chimpy and theBOAT like this.
  5. theBOAT
    Original Member

    theBOAT Silver Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    278
    Status Points:
    545
    Thanks for the Asus and D-Link tips. I've also read some good reviews about the ZuniConnect. Anyone have one?
     
    Chimpy likes this.
  6. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,737
    Likes Received:
    6,913
    Status Points:
    4,745
    I remember seeing a thread where people were discussing the Apple Airport Express as an alternative, although I've never used one.

    Personally I find on-the-road internet to be just too unreliable so I bring my own -- rooted Android hotspot and a Verizon MiFi. It can get pricey, but that's the cost of reliability.
     
    Chimpy likes this.
  7. Travel2Food
    Original Member

    Travel2Food Silver Member

    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    374
    Status Points:
    535
    I currently carry a Verizon Android w/hotspot abilities and an ATT MiFi. They're more reliable than some, if not many, hotel internet services. It was an episode at a Town Place Suites with a very slow internet service that wouldn't pass VPN that pushed me into the wireless devices.
     
    Chimpy likes this.
  8. lili
    Original Member

    lili Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,510
    Likes Received:
    4,340
    Status Points:
    2,445
    Some suggestions in this thread.

    I bought an Apple Airport Express refurb from Apple for $85 and was dreading trying to figure out how to make it work. Just yesterday I decided to try to figure it out (well, someone who understands these things was visiting, so it seemed like a good time.)

    It's an Apple! You plug it in and it works! Amazing. Within seconds everyone in the room was online with their iPhones and stuff.
     
    Dorlee, Chimpy, theBOAT and 2 others like this.
  9. ACMM
    Original Member

    ACMM Gold Member

    Messages:
    25,796
    Likes Received:
    113,138
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Gotta love apple for exactly that reason!

    [Sent from my milePoint enabled iPhone]
     
    Chimpy likes this.
  10. theBOAT
    Original Member

    theBOAT Silver Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    278
    Status Points:
    545
    Thanks for the link above. I think I'll go the refurb route on the Airport Express, as it will tie into my home audio solution as well, so I can justify the cost of a new toy even easier!

    Sent from my iPad using milepoint
     
    lili and Chimpy like this.
  11. lili
    Original Member

    lili Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,510
    Likes Received:
    4,340
    Status Points:
    2,445
    tomphot likes this.
  12. dmel

    dmel Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,166
    Likes Received:
    37,276
    Status Points:
    11,045
    (Sorry for responding to an almost-3-month-old post)

    I went to Disney in May and stayed in a 2BR villa with my wife, son, parents and sister. We had three laptops between the six of us. I toyed with the idea of buying an Airport Express (or similar small/travel product) but ended up throwing an old Linksys broadband router in our checked luggage. It worked fine, but was about as big/cumbersome as you can get for this sort of thing (I'm talking about the "original" blueish Linksys... not the sleep black models since Cisco took over).

    The Apple Store still has the $69 refurbished rate, so I may just purchase one to have as an extra and to take when traveling. Since that trip, we now have two additional iPhones and an iPad :)
     
    tomphot likes this.
  13. p787656

    p787656 Active Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    5
    Status Points:
    70
    I never travel without an Airport Express. Outside the U.S., hotel wireless is so often either horrible or nonexistent. I just came from a beautifully remodeled room at the Grand Hyatt in Seoul, and there is zero wireless in the rooms, which these days is surprising but not entirely unusual. Stayed in the Park Hyatt Hamburg this summer and the wireless was (quite literally) worse than dial-up speed (speaking only of the room I was in, of course). And even in hotels with reasonably reliable wireless, the Ethernet/Airport combo will often get you better bandwidth.

    The other major advantage is the whole "multiple devices/multiple charges" issue at many high-end hotels. The Airport will let you have a laptop, tablet and phone on one connection with only one overpriced
    daily charge. I also bring my own Cat 6 cable because I find lots of broken cables in rooms.

    And finally there is the security issue, especially when you are traveling for business. A wired connection into a private Airport is more secure. You don't get to choose what wireless security the hotel is using, and it's best to assume the worst. I also recommend using a VPN service for additional security. This has the added benefit of allowing you a U.S. IP address no matter where you are in the world, which gives you access to Hulu, Netflix and other U.S.-only streaming services.
     
    tomphot likes this.
  14. Tivoboy
    Original Member

    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    283
    Status Points:
    595
    The airport express is great for travel, especially with apple device and now the configuration can be done right on an iphone and ipad with the airport app. It can be found lower on ebay or cowboom (and apple refurb reseller) for about 55$ or less.

    There is also a new travel router on the market that is very similar to the older linksys travel router and the apple AE. Tests seem to show it works fine. only 30$ at amazon

    http://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Wirel...K2/ref=sr_1_26?ie=UTF8&qid=1322752853&sr=8-26
     
    dmel likes this.
  15. below sea level
    Original Member

    below sea level Silver Member

    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    310
    Status Points:
    435
    I also use Apple's Airport Express. An added convenience that nobody seems to have mentioned is the removable plug for traveling internationally. Removing the US plug and attaching the required version before leaving means one less power adapter in the luggage - less space required and less likely to lose it.
     
    tomphot and dmel like this.
  16. Tivoboy
    Original Member

    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    283
    Status Points:
    595
    yes, but the north american versions don't come with these other plug adaptors (at least they didn't in the past) and are only available in the international travel kit, which is 40$. :-(
     
  17. onebagtraveller
    Original Member

    onebagtraveller Silver Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    43
    Status Points:
    190
    I think the Airport Express is able to extend the hotel's wifi signal...but is it really as easy as plugging it in? Do you still have to configure anything with your ipad (which wifi signal to use)?

    I have the asus 330ge and at my last hotel I couldn't get it to switch to the wifi extender/repeater mode...couldn't get to the IP address.

    If the airport express is pretty much dummy proof (whether you use the hotel's wired internet access to convert to wifi or use it as a wifi repeater) then I may switch over to that.

    I'm finding a lot of hotels are going wifi only and the in-room wired is not working any more.
     
    tomphot likes this.
  18. Tivoboy
    Original Member

    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    283
    Status Points:
    595
    Couple things. The airport express won't normally extend the wireless signal or most wireless signals, so I wouldn't count on it for that. The AE will extend the wireless signal of other APPLE airport products and SOME WDS based wireless access points, but I think there are only a couple like buffalo, asus, tech-something that I believe use the Atheros chipset for wireless that can even WORK with WDS and an airport express. So, I wouldn't count on it for that. If you really need that, they try to get the older linksys, the newer ASUS and there are a couple others that apparently do more broad based WDS wireless broadcast.

    As far as ease of use with a regular connection, yes if you just plug in an ethernet cable at the hotel, the AE pretty much just works out the box. With a mac, it will either spawn the airport utility to allow you to ADD settings like WPA/2, access controls, etc., but it will be working from the get go (of course most hotels require you to spawn a web page and authenticate either with a login or just "accept" their T&C's.

    With wifi only, there are only a couple options, save from having the computer do to access and then SHARING the connection with ethernet and then using any other access point connected to THAT ethernet.
     
    tomphot likes this.
  19. theBOAT
    Original Member

    theBOAT Silver Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    278
    Status Points:
    545
    Indeed, as Tivoboy points out, the Airport Express does not extend the WiFi signal of most common home routers (including, unfortunately, my Cisco E3000). Still, I'm glad I bought it for traveling.

    theBOAT
     
    tomphot and Tivoboy like this.
  20. onebagtraveller
    Original Member

    onebagtraveller Silver Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    43
    Status Points:
    190
    Okay thanks for confirming this - that's what I remember reading when I was originally looking at these routers. The apple manual always seemed to refer back to the airport extreme base for the wifi part whereas the asus 330ge specifically mentioned being able to act as a repeater. The problem was I couldn't get to configure that for some reason last time (couldn't access the admin IP address of the router).

    Thanks for your help
     
    tomphot likes this.
  21. Tivoboy
    Original Member

    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    283
    Status Points:
    595
    Doing repeating is another feature that many more routers today will do, or many access points then loaded with something like DD-WRT or tomato. I think there are a couple small ones that will allow this, and most companies make what they call a repeater to do just this feature. BUT, they don't usually ALSO do all the OTHER normal access point features. So, it is usually a single purpose device.
     
    tomphot likes this.
  22. tomphot

    tomphot Gold Member

    Messages:
    658
    Likes Received:
    3,117
    Status Points:
    1,800
    I use the ASUS devise when I'm at a hotel with only wired Internet.
    Last week, my boss was staying across the hall from me and he was able to connect to signal with no problem. Nice devise for $30!
     
  23. schnitzel
    Original Member

    schnitzel Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,867
    Likes Received:
    2,833
    Status Points:
    1,470
    I really like my Airport Expresses (I have a few in different parts of the house to extend the network) but, for traveling, I'd like something even smaller and lighter. Any thoughts? I don't need USB or stereo in or digital audio in. Just ethernet in and Wifi out.
     

Share This Page