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
Two weeks ago, I finally bought myself a new laptop. The Lenovo Yoga 2 was the first ultrabook to offer all the specs I wanted at a (very) reasonable price. It’s taken me a while to properly set it up, but the Yoga is now ready to replace my trusty old Asus UL30A. The Lenovo has some pros and cons, so I thought I’d write about them.
More Lenovo Yoga 2 13 first impressions
If you buy a laptop computer under €750, chances are the wifi module used isn’t going to be very good. To get to that low price point, manufacturers need to choose cheap components over good ones. So they usually put a decent processor in, and a big hard drive, because customers ask for those kind of things. But from there on in they complete the system with bargain bin components. Most of those are integrated onto the computer’s motherboard, and impossible to replace. Fortunately however, most laptops do let you replace the wifi module. And it’s really not hard to do.
More Upgrading your laptop’s wifi might be easier than you think
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 long time ago, long before wifi was invented and the World Wide Web was still merely an idea in someone’s head, a contractor built my house. Not knowing this would hinder wireless LAN reception, they used reinforced concrete, and put the cable and telephone connectors in a far corner of the structure. As a result, I now have an upstairs study that’s almost impossible to get to with wires, and where only the best wireless adapters get a decent signal.
To deal with this, I’ve been using an wireless bridge. Strategically placed for best reception, it connects to my wifi, and allows (wired) devices in my office to connect through it. This setup works pretty well, except that the first, rather low-end adapter I got turned out to have some pesky issues. The most irritating being that it lost the wifi password every time the power was disconnected, and had to subsequently be reconfigured. So when DrayTek offered to send me one of their offerings to check out, I jumped at the opportunity.
More DrayTek VigorAP 800
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about the importance of WAN to LAN speeds in routers. Since then I’ve replaced my DrayTek Vigor 2910G with a Linksys E4200. Time to share my impressions so far.
More Linksys E4200 impressions
When I ordered a new router last week, I decided to also try and tackle a networking issue that had been causing me headaches for a while. My wife’s network printer is located in her study, and we were using powerline adapters to connect to it. This would usually work just fine, except when we needed to print something important, or quickly. That’s why, with a strong wireless-n wifi signal now available in said room, I added the C150APM to my order.
More Conceptronic C150APM first impressions
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!
When I read Engadget’s “Ten Gadgets that Defined the Decade“, I was amazed by some of their choices. I could easily think of a few gadgets that changed the way we use technology, but weren’t listed. While I agreed with a couple of items on their list, like the iPhone, I couldn’t help writing my own top 10 of the most influential gadgets of the last ten years. Here are my candidates in random order.
More My attempt at the top 10 gadgets of the decade