back to article Belkin Dual-Band Travel Router

The premise behind Belkin’s dual-band travel router is simple: you arrive at a hotel with multiple devices capable of connecting to the internet over Wi-Fi, but there’s only one connection in the room and it’s Ethernet-shaped. The solution: this boy, which allows you to set-up a 2.4GHz and/or 5GHz wireless network in the room. …

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Silver badge

Proxy?

This needs a proxy in it too. Lots of hotels charge for access and tie the password to a mac address. If you could make this device the mac address it would be very convenient too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Proxy?

I'm assuming it works like virtually every other wireless router I've ever seen and forwards the traffic through a single IP address

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If this would hold 3G SIM as well and allow you to swap between being an ethernet connected router/mi-fi device I'd be searching for my credit card right now. Given it doesn't is it any different from a normal wireless access point?

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WTF?

I must be travelling to the wrong places

I have to say that I can't remember the last time that I stayed at a hotel that had Ethernet internet access, but not WiFi - am I visiting the wrong places? Or maybe the right ones!

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Z80

Re: I must be travelling to the wrong places

You're not travelling to Japan. Lots of Ethernet in hotels there and that's often all there is.

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Re: I must be travelling to the wrong places

Nearly every businessman-type hotel I've stayed at in Japan had wired Ethernet for in-room Internet connection at no extra charge. A few had spectacularly crappy dropout-prone slow Wifi with insecure WEP keys etc. The crowning glory was the hotel which gave me a WPA key that didn't work until I realised Japanese folks didn't understand there was a difference between "hotelxxx" and "Hotelxxx".

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Re: I must be travelling to the wrong places

newer German hotel rooms are going back to offering wired ethernet, because there are so many people using wifi, including in surrounding buildings, that getting a good connection is becoming problematic.

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Bronze badge

why?

what exactly makes this better than any other router for this purpose?

As Powelly has said, they should have put a 3G card in it that way it's more use than a normal router. As it is you're just paying a lot of money for router in a bag.

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Thumb Up

Re: why?

Well it's a bloody sight smaller than your average wireless router and accompanying power brick.

FWIW, I use an Apple AirPort Express as a compact travel router. Works a treat and the power brick is built n.

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wrong price point

For about two thirds the price you can get a normal wireless router which will take about the same amount of time to setup. Really can't see the point of this device apart from the bag of tricks.

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Silver badge

Re: wrong price point

It's also likely that the other device will be more reliable. I've found that Belkin devices on UK ADSL become a touch unstable with high throughput on LAN and WAN. The bigger issue is their handling of disconnects in that I always had to power cycle the device to get it to reconnect. Ditched it and replaced with a Draytek which was rock solid - not a single issue ever.

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Meh

Infrastructure or ad-hoc?

First: re. the earlier commenter who asked how many hotels still offer only wired Internet access: I concur - I only ever seem to encounter wireless these days.

My main question at this point would be: can the Belkin operate in infrastructure mode, or is it ad-hoc only? I mainly ask, because some WiFi devices will only "talk" to an infrastructure AP. My Kindle 3 is one of these - actually, it's pretty choosy about even infrastructure hotspots, but ad-hoc ones are completely "out", so it won't "talk" to my Nokia N8 running JoikuSpot.

Overall, the Belkin looks like an interesting box, but frankly they'd have to drop the price to £30-40 (i.e. impulse-buy territory) before I gave it more than a quick glance.

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Meh

A lot of hotels I've been in with ethernet require some sort of web-based auth by the connecting device before they will route any traffic. How does this device deal with that? I've tried the same 'job' with an Apple airport express and it failed due to the device not being able to auth to the hotels service. I assume if you had a laptop to do the auth you could do some level of MAC address spoofing maybe but that's hardly 'plug and play' is it?

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Where I stayed once in Houston they had this web-auth issue with wireless to but once I explained that my Android browser was "not compatible" (front desk don't know either way) they hard-wired my nominated MAC in for the duration of my stay. Or rather they emailed it to the support org who did it. Took all of about 30 minutes and that was in the evening local time.

But back on topic; To little for too much money, sorry Belkin.

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What you do is plug the router in and connect with your device via the router.

Then the auth gateway sees the MAC address for the router instead of the device.

Problems occur when authenticating forces a re-issue and change of IP from private to public. It all depends on the type of system they're running.

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Big Brother

Alternative

Have a look for the TP-LINK TL-MR11U. Does the same kind of thing but has an additional USB port which can be used with a 3G dongle to share that over wireless. It has a 2200mAh battery, enough to run the wireless for 3 or 4 hours heavy use, which can also be used to recharge your mobile phone if you're caught short out and about! Only problem is that it seems to be China only atm. The configuration screens take a bit of working out but there's enough english in the page title/screen that you can do everything required. £22 from one of the Beijing uber-markets. Also supported on OpenWRT if you're feeling hardcore ;)

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Or you could get an Edimax Nano that is smaller, does the same things and is a third of the price....

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Connectify

Or... you could just install Connectify (on Windows) and setup a Wifi hotspot from your PC....Linux also has tools to do the same thing... I'm sure OSX probably has too.... and best of all..... theyre free!!!

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Missing a second ethernet port

I travel around the USA with a £15 TP-Link router. Including PSU it's around the same size as this Belkin jobbie.

What my TP-Link router also has is four ethernet sockets, so that I can plug in other devices, as well as using the wireless.

On a normal trip, I'll be traveling with my iPhone, Windows laptop, Apple Macbook and my Vonage, along with cordless phone.

The hassle of the extra luggage is more than outweighed by the savings and the ability to work from a hotel room as if it was my office.

The additional ethernet socket is required for my Vonage which enables me to call the UK or Canada from the USA without incurring a penny in call charges.

What I would like to see is a router that can both act as a wireless client and a router at the same time, for hotels where no wireless bridge is available and the only internet is via WiFi. A wireless bridge is one thing I need to add to my travel kit.

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Silver badge

Re: Missing a second ethernet port

"On a normal trip, I'll be traveling with my iPhone, Windows laptop, Apple Macbook and my Vonage, along with cordless phone."

Dual boot or VM dude and save yourself a device.

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Airport Express

We use an Airport Express to do the same thing, coverage is great so get consecutive rooms and a number of staff share the connection.

Absolute piece of piss to set up and all the power is built in!

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Anonymous Coward

And how many ads does it ram down your throat?

Give Belch-kin's history of using their Ethernet routers to redirect you to their advertising, I wouldn't let one of their devices be in my path to the Internet if you paid me.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=belkin%20router%20hijack&spell=1&sa=X

http://news.cnet.com/2100-1039_3-5104863.html

Of course, the fact that most Belch-kin gear is overpriced by a factor of 2 is just another reason to avoid them like a drunken, broke in-law.

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VPNs

Connectify really seems to play poorly with VPNs however - I've had issues getting it to run with OpenVPN, as they both want to install their own port drivers. I was moderately successful once on one machine, but had issues on two others.

The hardware approach is much more stable, and avoids VPN conflicts entirely...

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