The last couple of weeks, my family and I have been vacationing in Hungary. We’d booked accomodations with wifi, and we hadn’t brought any travel info with us, confident that we’d be able to use Tripadvisor, Foursquare, etc to find nice places to visit. Unfortunately, the wifi at our first vacation home turned out to be broken. This meant we had to improvise, and after a bit of shopping, I got a killer deal on a mobile 4G hotspot. So I thought I’s post it here.
Meet the Alcatel W800
I’de never seen a mobile 4G router disguised as a USB stick before, but the Alcatel W800 isn’t simply a 4G modem dongle. It’s a complete router, and the USB connector is there mostly to supply power. There’s no need to plug it into a computer. Once powered up, it’ll connect to the 4G network, and broadcast a wifi network for up to ten devices. You can log into the W800 to modify the network name, password, etc, just like any other router.
More Traveling to Hungary? This is how I got online on the cheap
If I remember correctly, the first wireless router I ever bought was a Linksys WRT54G. I’d had a couple of wired ones before that, and knew from experience that cheap routers can be very frustrating. Many of us now use the internet almost 24/7, and buying a sub-par router is like buying a good stereo with terrible speakers. It’s the central hub in your network, on which all other devices depend. It makes sense to get something decent.
More Linksys WRT1900AC review
A little over two years ago, I wrote an a quick “first impressions” post about the Linksys E4200 router. At the time, I was very happy with it. I needed high WAN-to-LAN speeds, and initially, the E4200 delivered. But the first generation of Linksys’s flagship router (of the time) turned out to have serious stability issues. Mine soon started getting really hot, causing frequent slowdowns and crashes. After two years of frustration, I decided it was time for yet another new router. I picked the Asus RT-N66U, and I’ll try to – cautiously – post some first impressions.
More My current routing champion: the Asus RT-N66U
A while ago, Evercool introduced the world’s first aftermarket router cooler. Most of the blog posts I saw about it made fun of the concept, but I could totally see myself using something like this. My router gets really, really hot sometimes. And as a result, speeds decrease, and wifi reception suffers. And the cable modem next to it runs even hotter.
More Is your router overheating?
I’m writing this post hoping it’ll save someone the trouble I went through last night. After I’d installed my new Linksys E4200 router yesterday, all of my gadgets connected to it as expected, except one. My wife’s HP Compaq Presario C700 laptop would connect, it accepted the WPA2 passphrase, but connectivity would be limited to “local only”. I assumed it was having trouble connecting to the new wireless-n network, so I tried to see if there was a driver update for the Compaq’s Atheros network card. And thus, I entered the incomprehensible maze called hp.com…
More Quick tip: Atheros AR5007 wifi and Linksys routers
Recently, I upgraded my broadband connection. Bits now flow into my house at 120 mbps. Well, almost. The cable modem provides that speed, but as it turns out, my router doesn’t quite route that fast. It maxes out at around 20 mbps. And this is an expensive SOHO router. Whenever routers are reviewed, the focus is usually on features and wireless performance, but there’s another metric that’s getting more important as home internet connections are speeding up.
More High speed internet? Make sure your router can keep up!
Like most people who know a thing or two about computers, I often get asked to help out friends and family when something’s not working. As long as their questions aren’t about printers I don’t really mind. It can be a real eye-opener to see how even the most basic settings sometimes puzzle users. Especially when it comes to networks.
Most people have no clue as to how the most important box in their network setup works. I thought I’d try to clarify. It’s really not that complex, and it might help you troubleshoot issues should they arise.
More Wireless routers explained
One of the first things I noticed when I started using my new router, was that I could not log in to the device’s web interface using Chrome as a browser. Like many other routers (I’ve had at least two, including a Linksys one), my new Draytek doesn’t really use the username field, and the manual advices to leave it empty. But it seems that’s exactly why Chrome is having trouble. When I tried ‘admin’ instead, I was able to log in.
So, if you’re having trouble logging in to configure your router, try using a generic name like ‘admin’, ‘user’ or ‘root’, or see if the manual lists a default username. Not because your router needs you to enter it, but because leaving the username field empty seems to upset Chrome. This issue probably isn’t exclusive to routers, but most other services will require a username anyway.
Last week’s internet failure in my home has made it very clear to me that I need a backup. Even my wife, who frequently works from home using Citrix, had a lot of trouble getting anything done. We really need to be online all the time. So the first thing I did was sign up for a second home broadband line. I’ll soon have both a cable and a ADSL(2+) connection. Now all I need to do is tie them together.
More Where have all the dual WAN routers gone?
I just sold my Linksys WRT54G router on Marktplaats (a hugely popular second hand marketplace here in The Netherlands). It had been gathering dust or a few months, and I didn’t think it deserved that after being my ‘lifeline’ for years. This router has been my single favorite piece of equipment ever. I love the way it looks, I love how it never ever failed on me, I love the simple setup, it’s hackability (although I never did load any of the alternate firmwares out there).
I feel silly for feeling bad. Guess it’s quite a feat for a small plastic box to get me all sentimental. But now that wireless-n is here, and my provider-supplied modem/router finally supports WAP encryption, there’s no need for me to hang on to it. I hope it makes the buyer happy. Sigh…