Getting online while not getting trapped to the wall socket in your hotel room, once meant lugging around a full-size router with your laptop. But no more.
There’s now an entire catalogue of tiny ‘travel’ routers from Netgear, 3Com, SMC and this, the DWL-G730AP, is the smallest yet. It’s smaller than a deck of playing cards, yet creating a secure 802.11g connection with it is certainly no game of poker.
This is a surprisingly decent router and access point. It’s all firewalled up, has a wired Ethernet port as well as wireless (not all travel routers have this), and it can even be powered through a USB connection to your PC. As a router with a LAN port, you could also, of course, connect a VoIP device – a fine solution to avoiding those ridiculous hotel phone bills. Add the half-decent configuration tools, and this is as simple to configure as routers get.
Nothing’s been compromised in terms of protection either. You’ve got all the usual mechanisms to keep out hackers and viruses: SPI firewall, port forwarding, domain blocking and a demilitarised zone between you and the enemy (that’s used for placing your own tanks if you have multiple computers connecting to the router).
And that’s not all. The simple configuration interface gives you options
to limit transmission range and to assign trigger ports (which is useful for gaming). While in client mode it can be used to connect everything from PlayStations to network printers.
The only let down of the D-Link is its range. About 20 metres away in a line of sight, throughput speeds had already fallen to around 3Mbps when we put it to test. But unless you’re staying in the two-storey rooms at the Burj al Arab in Dubai, this is still an adequate range for most hotel rooms and other travel uses.
Crikey, it even comes complete with a lovely leather travel case. Bargain.
D-Link Airplus-G | $179.95 |
For: Usability, security, portability, price – just about everything really.
Against: Short transmission range, although adequate for most hotel rooms.
Verdict: Small yet perfectly formed. Our pick for both size and functionality of travel router catalogue.