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back to article Solwise 3.5G plus WLAN Mobile Server Router

Compact travel routers are nothing new, but they're generally limited to linking Wi-Fi devices to a wired network. Here at Reg Hardware we use an old but still handy ciggie packet-sized Netgear WGR101 unit to connect our laptops and iPhones to hotel Ethernet feeds. Solwise Mobile Server Router Solwise's 3.5G plus WLAN Mobile …

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general comments

we have a lot of solwise equipment on stock at our company mostly ADSL stuff, and i usually categorise it as cheap n cheerful thats not disparaging by the way i find the fact their kit does what it says on the tin and nothing else useful and they often get some unusual new bits of kit in such as this 3.5g router.

personally i would only consider using 3G as a last resort if your broadband went down at one customer site of ours we deployed a vigor router connected to a nokia phone this allowed us to use the 3g to continue working when both their adsl's went titsup. even their vpn worked!

solwise are a good company excellent customer service and push a lot of interesting new products i love em

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Interesting alternative use

I frequently visit other offices where there may be a free desk, but not necessarily a free cat5 cable or WLAN available.

It looks to me like you could plug this 'between' an existing PC and its cat5 cable using the second RJ45 connector, and then use the WLAN yourself.

Shame about the plug, since I usually only travel with one adapter. The Dlink travel router can run off USB...

I don't usually fancy ordering hardware from abroad though.

Does anyone know who manufacturs this thing?

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M7S
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Ports on the underside

I have quite a few bits of Solwise kit of this configuration and it works well. If your plugs are above a work bench, the cables hang down to connect to your units, if they are at low level they can drop to the floor and run along the edge of a wall etc and if in a power strip with some chargers or mains leads, all the cables tend to go the same way and its much neater.

If the sockets were anywhere else there would be far more likely to be loops sticking out where you dont want them. Unless your sockets are an inch off the floor its really not a problem.

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I want one!

After reading this, I really do want one. Something that automatically dials up a 3G backup connection would be just up my street in case of ADSL outages and at £60 it doesn't seem too bad to me. I bet with time it'll come down even more.

Rob

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Anonymous Coward

Sensible design engineer

The writer was not thinking when he said "what twit put the connectors on the underside"" !

The very obvious reason this is done, and should always be so, it to avoid dust or worse still any solid objects such as staples or paper clips falling into open sockets and causing damage.

I really think the standards at The Register are slipping, at least in the technical arena. I suppose it all comes down to costs as usual. Probably basic writers are not highly paid , but remember that it much easier to ask an engineer to write a quick review than to train the average contributor to a useful technical level.

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3G compatible router for £60?

Last I looked that was a pretty good buy. I think Edimax make something very similar, though not as compact, for the same money. It only seems a few months since I last looked and cheapest device was over £120.

Re: Sensible design engineer

>> The very obvious reason this is done, and should always be so, it to avoid dust or worse still any solid objects such as staples or paper clips falling into open sockets and causing damage.

Difficult to say which is the least worst place on a device like this - on the top would clearly be the worst - on the bottom makes the device unusable in some socket (e.g. ones that are close to the floor) - sticking them on the back is good, but means the device will protrude even further - sticking them on one of the sides probably wouldn't be feasible. I think if you wanted to be certain of using this device everywhere you went you would need to carry an extension lead with you. On the bottom of the device is perfect if you plug the 3G USB stick (which tend to be quite large) into a small extension cable or flexible adapter.

One more thing, you have to bear in mind that the author is clearly a Apple user (many references to Apple hardware) - therefore he is used to such niceties as a MagSafe power connectors - ofcourse, if this were Apple branded it would likely cost five times as much.

@Edwin

>> Shame about the plug, since I usually only travel with one adapter. The Dlink travel router can run off USB...

Looking at the photos you should only need one adaptor, looks like it has interchangeable plugs - like a travel charger.

>> I don't usually fancy ordering hardware from abroad though.

Solwise are based in the UK and this is a UK based site, so where is it abroad from?

>> Does anyone know who manufacturs this thing?

I believe most of most of the hardware Solwise sell is designed and manufactured to their specification - probably using reference designs and 3rd party manufacturers. There is a lot of stuff they sell which I have seen elsewhere - it isn't simply re-badged hardware. There are probably other companies using the same reference designs, like the Edimax device I mentioned, but it is quite different externally.

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@steogede

According to Solwise, it comes with a UK plug and you can buy a europlug.

However, no US or Asian plugs are on offer. That's a shame, since it then requires a plug adapter to work in e.g. China or the USA. Note that it will, in fact take 100-240V in.

A full set of interchangeable tips would make up for a lot though.

I'm based in the Netherlands, and so UK is abroad for me. I know El Reg is a UK-based site, and Solwise is UK-based. But shipping rapidly becomes very expensive when you cross borders, to say nothing of e.g. RMAs (ouch ouch ouch)

My assumption was indeed that Solwise has these manufactured OEM and that they're not an original design - the question is has anyone else done so - that drastically increases my chances of finding the same features locally.

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Hmmm it is a bit flakey to say the very least

Just got one of these and a 9dB aerial/coupler for my under-used 3 mobile BB.

The manual is 255 pages long and I think perhaps 20 of those pages contain useful info. The rest are basically "fill this field in with the required information" whatever that may be.

The router came with the 2.1.11 firmware which disconnects every 2-3 minutes and won't reconnect without power-cycling the router, so I tried the 2.1.13 firmware. Same. Memories of Solwise SAR716 routers start to resurface :( Anyway I try 2.1.9 firmware and that seems to work - well it stays up for more than 5 minutes and doesn't lose the USB modem.

The QoS is appalling and I don't for one second believe it does what it claims - in fact I know it doesn't as I tested it. Likewise the firewall - DON'T enable the DoS attack stuff as the router seems to lose the plot entirely. I suspect its more than a little underpowered for what it tries to do. Oh and defaulting to allowing remote management via http with the usual "admin" username and password is staggeringly stupid.

Still the antenna/coupler I got from Solwise work very nicely - I'm mid-way between masts and its always been a bit of an issue. The antenna sorts that brilliantly - solid five bar signal strength. You have to love Solwise for their RF kit even if some of the networking stuff is a bit iffy at times - they do try though which is more than most do.

So I'd say a 7/10 for the router is fair. I am going to try getting it to act as failover for a Netgear ADSL router which I know isn't going to be straightforward but we'll see how it goes. Worst comes to worst the kids/wife can plug this in when the Netgear locks solid due to UKOnline's abysmal authentication servers :)

I would like it to failover automatically but I rather think that involves having the USB modem active all the time - and with a 9dB antenna attached I don't think that's the best plan ever if you're sitting in the same room most of the day ;)

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