Cellular Router

As today’s internet connections become much less fixed to one location, the value of mobile internet devices and portable routers continues to increase. One item that’s become particularly popular over the last few years is the cellular router. These devices allow users to connect to the internet using an ordinary WiFi signal in almost any location, using 3G or EDGE connections as its connection basis.

Sound complicated? While the concept of a cellular router is enough to catch many casual internet users off guard, the technology used in most cellular routers is fairly simple. A 3G connection acts as the router’s input, offering a high-speed internet signal in almost any location. Despite being an entirely different type of connection from WiFi, this signal can then be switched by the router.

This allows ordinary devices such as laptop computers, netbooks, and other devices that are able to use WiFi but not mobile internet, to access mobile internet signals on the go. Using technology that is quite similar to that found in a traditional router, a cellular router converts a mobile internet signal into one that’s usable by any device outfitted with a WiFi or standard ethernet receiver or input port.

There are three primary situations in which a device like this is useful. The first is for travelers, who are often forced to deal with costly hotel internet connections and unsecured internet cafe computers or shared connections. By pairing a cellular router with an inexpensive 3G air card, it’s simple for a solo traveler to bypass expensive connections and browse the internet using their laptop anywhere.

The second is for families or individuals that live outside of standard broadband internet areas, yet still have access to a stable cellular data signal. By using a cellular router to connect to the internet, paired with a 3G or EDGE air card of course, users in remote areas can make use of a relatively fast connection without having to pay for an expensive fiber or satellite internet connection to be set up.

The third, and perhaps the most frequently used, is by people that like to work remotely, either from a vehicle or in a public location. When paired with a suitable power adapter, a cellular router can be used to create a remote internet signal inside a car or other vehicle. Alternatively, it can also be used in a public workspace to create a shared, or even an isolated single-use, wireless internet signal.

When shopping for a cellular router, there are three key factors to keep in mind. The first is router versatility and its suitability for use with multiple computers. Cellular routers that are fitted with a port for ethernet connections are able to be used with desktop computers and other standard PCs – one of several useful versatility-boosting features for office and business internet users.

These cellular routers are often billed as ‘business routers,’ and are suitable for use in a small office or mobile work area. If you travel for business often and need access to a WiFi signal and ethernet-based signals, these are the best bet. Despite being more expensive than WiFi-only cellular routers, the value of a wired and wireless cellular router can make it a worthwhile buy for business users.

The second is the router’s security level. Low-end cellular routers often exclude support for many of the common WiFi security standards such as WEP and WPA. This forces you to use an unsecured, or ‘open’ connection, which can be accessed by others in your vicinity. To keep your connection secure and your work confidential, it’s best to choose a router with WEP, WPA, and WPA2 support.

The final factor is the router’s signal strength, which is often undisclosed by manufacturers. Some of the less costly cellular routers are only capable of distributing a WiFi signal across a small area. The end result of this is a poor connection for users that are more than a few meters from the router, and often a completely unusable connection for those in a different room or a different floor altogether.

It’s difficult to test for this when purchasing over the internet, but for those shopping in person it’s relatively easy to ask a sales assistant for help in picking a long-distance cellular router. While this is a minor consideration for most users, particularly those that use their router for travel purposes, a weak cellular router can be a major annoyance for home users based in rural, non-broadband areas.

Finding the ideal cellular router isn’t a quick process, but it’s one that can be worth investing some time and effort into. Whether you’re a frequent traveler, a rural internet user, or a business user that needs the ultimate in cellular internet performance, a great cellular router can prove to be a versatile and helpful addition to your computer workspace.

This Cellular Router Review is Written/Updated on May 8th, 2011 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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