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WiFlyer

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WiFlyer WiFi Wireless Router

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Review Posted Nov. 2005 by Marc Morgan

If you have a laptop or PDA with wireless (802.11b/g), you may have had the pleasure of browsing the web around your house, and in some hotels, surfing the web in the lobby. However, in most wirelessly enabled hotels, the wireless stops there. As soon as you reach your room and you start up your device, you notice that there is no signal. However, there is probably an Ethernet jack on the wall. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to pull out the D-Link Pocket Router. Hold on for a second! What if that jack in the wall is not Ethernet, but is a regular old telephone jack? That's where the WiFlyer comes in.

WiFlyer

The Company

Before looking at the features of the router, here is a brief overview of the company that makes the WiFlyer, Always On Wireless. Always On Wireless' focus is to provide WiFi solutions that have a high quality experience for both broadband and dialup. For over a decade, Always On Wireless' development team has provided high-volume embedded controller designs and software for many telecommunications products and OEMs. All of this expertise has been used to create the WiFlyer.

The Hardware

Before going into all of the software features of the WiFlyer, let's take a look at the outside. On the top, there is a button to dial if you are using dialup, and there are lights for different features that show if they are in use. There are lights for power, dialup connection, wireless connection, Ethernet, and internet connection. On the left side of the router, there is a volume dial for the dialup so you can hear it connecting, and a port for an external antenna for the router. On the back of the router, going from left to right there is the phone line port, Internet port (Ethernet connection to Internet source), Ethernet port, and power port.

Software Setup

Once you have the WiFlyer plugged in, you will probably want to change some of the router settings before using it. This is easily done through the browser-based interface. Simply plug the router in, and connect to it with your PC, Mac, PDA, PSP, or any other device with Ethernet/WiFi and a browser, and launch your browser of choice. You should be automatically redirected to the router configuration page. If not, you can simply enter http://192.168.7.77 into the URL bar in your browser to go to the main page of the router. From the configuration page, you can change settings such as the SSID of your router (the default is WiFlyer), add WEP encryption for security, put a password on the router so even if someone connects they need a password to change settings, and above all, configure your Internet connection. If you are planning to utilize Ethernet for your Internet connection, there are very little to no options you will need to change. If the Internet connection you are connecting to supports DHCP (automatically obtaining network information such as IP Address, etc.), connecting will be as simple as plugging the WiFlyer in. Most networks have DHCP. However, if the network does not support DHCP, you will not get Internet access from just plugging the WiFlyer in. You will need to know information such as the IP Address you have been assigned and other information, and then input that information into the configuration. Chances are, if you don't have this information, you are not authorized to use the network. However, if you are simply plugging the WiFlyer directly into your Internet connection, and it does not use DHCP, you can obtain all the information you need to know from your ISP. Generally, if you can hook up a computer to the connection and it will automatically work, the connection supports DHCP. Now, if you happen to have DSL which requires you to use a username and password to connect through the modem your ISP provided (Usually DSL), the WiFlyer supports it using the PPPoE protocol. Now, if you need to use Dial-Up for your Internet connection, simply go to the configuration page, and click the "Switch to Dialup" button in the upper right corner of the screen, and make sure to have all your connection information ready to enter. Once you make the switch to the Dial-Up configuration page, there are two ways to enter in your ISP information. The first and simplest way is to select from the preloaded ISPs, and select your location. The ISPs that are preloaded include AOL, EarthLink, MSN, NetZero, and Juno. If your ISP is not listed, all you need to do is enter in the phone number to use. You can add the information to the phonebook to save for use later as well. Either way, you will also need to enter in your username and password to continue. Once this information is entered, you can connect by either clicking "Dial Now!" or pushing the button with a lightning bolt on it on the front of the router. The web-based interface gives some information about the connection, and the button on the front is useful for just plugging the WiFlyer in and starting the connection.

Tests

While using the router, I found that the speed was generally the same as my 802.11b Linksys router, which is great for such a small router. Remember that even if you have an 802.11g (54Mb/s) enabled computer, you will still get the same speed as the 802.11b standard (11Mb/s), which is to be expected. The slower 802.11b speed is not noticed while doing any web-based activity, because Internet connections are generally quite a bit slower than 11Mb/s. You should only notice the speed difference during file transfers between two computers connected to the WiFlyer. The speed of the router is also fine for any multiplayer LAN games you may want to play.

So you've read all the stats of the router, but no test is better than everyday use. I happen to have had such experience with the WiFlyer. Here is my story. I was surfing the Internet one day, when out of nowhere, my high-speed internet connection went down. I called the ISP, and sure enough, they were having network problems. After about a second of thinking, I unplugged my Linksys router, changed the SSID on the WiFlyer to that of the Linksys router, and connected to my Dial-Up provider. Sure enough, all the computers in the area that were before connected to the Linksys router successfully connected to the WiFlyer, and all had Internet access. Even the Sony Vaio laptop on the floor below was able to get a weak signal and connect to the Internet! In short: the WiFlyer can be used for traveling, but it can also save the day if your High-Speed Internet goes out!

Conclusion

Chances are, if you have a wirelessly enabled device, the WiFlyer is a good thing for you to have. Not only does it allow you to easily connect to an Internet connection, but it is also small enough (about the size of a PDA such as the Axim x50v) to fit in your pocket and go. Since pretty much any device with wireless and a browser can use and configure the WiFlyer, all you may need for your next trip's Internet access may be able to fit into your pockets! All you may need is your PDA/PSP and the WiFlyer. For those of you who travel and need your Internet, the WiFlyer is a must-have. For those of you who don't even travel much, but have wirelessly enabled devices, the WiFlyer makes a very handy tool to have around!

Price: $129.95

Web Site: www.alwaysonwireless.com/wiflyer.html

 

 

 

 

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