You all remember the Junxion box? The device that drove Verizon batty a few years ago? Now D-Link has their own box that takes 3G and allows you to share it over WiFi, and it's called the D-Link 3G Mobile Router. Here's how it works: put a 3G PC Card into the the new D-Link DIR-450 or DIR-451 (or connect your 3G phone to the D-Link box using a USB cable). Set up the router to work with your carrier (the D-Link box supports most carriers and their respective settings). Now share that 3G connection over WiFi 802.11b/g. The box can act as a regular WiFi access point when you're not using it to share a 3G connection. Now those of us who've used EVDO and HSDPA cards know that the connection speed is adequate for a single notebook (not as fast as WiFi but decent). Sharing that among several computers won't be exactly lightening fast, but hey, it's better than nothing. The D-Link 3G Mobile Router comes in two flavors: the DIR-450 for EVDO (Sprint and Verizon in the US), and the DIR-451 for HSDPA (Cingular in the US). It does support other carriers, see the press release below for the list. The box sells for $229 and the EVDO version is available now but the HSDPA version won't ship until later this quarter.
Here's the press release:
D-LINK NOW SHIPPING MOBILE BROADBAND ROUTERS FOR WIRELESS NETWORKING VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE
Ideally Suited for On-the-Go Consumers and Professionals, Temporary Work Sites, Disaster Recovery Areas
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Feb. 5, 2007 -- D-Link, the end-to-end networking solutions provider for consumers and business, today unveiled a family of 3G mobile broadband wireless routers designed to make it even easier for on-the-go consumers, field technicians and mobile professionals to access and share an Internet connection virtually anywhere by blending Wi-Fi(tm) networking technology and a wireless broadband network.
The D-Link 3G Mobile Wireless Routers allow users to create a 802.11g/b-compatible wireless hotspot anywhere within range of a cellular network.
By plugging a compatible 3G notebook adapter into the D-Link 3G Mobile Router's built-in card bus slot or a USB-enabled mobile phone, users can get immediate access to EV-DO, UMTS or HSDPA networks. The D-Link router can then share this signal via 802.11g/b Wi-Fi technology to notebooks, PCs or other Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The D-Link routers are available in two versions: the DIR-450 (EV-DO) and DIR-451 (UMTS/HSDPA).
"These routers are ideal in situations where a wired broadband connection, such as T1, cable or DSL, is not available," said Brian Larsen, associate vice president of product development for D-Link Systems, Inc. "For instance, once users insert a notebook adapter into their D-Link 3G Wireless Mobile Router and create a wireless 'hotspot', they can then check their email, browse the Web, access their company network and share information with colleagues in 'virtual meetings'. This solution is significant to the market by enabling communications at temporary work sites such as construction or disaster areas, concerts and others."
For security, both versions support wireless security features to prevent unauthorized access, including WEP, WPA and WPA2 that ensure a secure Wi-Fi network regardless of the connected devices. They also employ dual active firewalls (SPI and NAT) to prevent potential Internet attacks.
Both routers can be installed as a wireless network in minutes, and it can easily configure the user's Internet Service Provider (ISP) settings to quickly establish high-speed Internet connectivity. The built-in 4-port full-duplex 10/100 switch allows seamless connection of Ethernet-based devices. In the U.S., compatible ISPs for the DIR-450 include ACS Wireless, Alltel, Cellular South, Embarq, Sprint and Verizon Wireless. For the DIR-451, UMTS carriers include Orangenet, Vodafone, Exelcom and Maxis, and Cingular, T-Mobile, Exelcom, Maxis, Vodafone, Celcom and Globe for HSDPA formats.
Small-to-medium-sized businesses can maximize their investment in a mobile Internet access subscription by using the D-Link 3G Mobile Wireless Router in place of a fixed broadband Internet solution that requires paying additional fees for cable or DSL. The 3G routers not only give additional communications freedom to the mobile user, they also offer the carriers increased value-added revenue opportunities.
The DIR-450 (EV-DO) is compatible with the Kyocera KPC 650, Novatel V620 and Sprint PC-5740 notebook adapters, and the Audiovox 8940, Kyocera KX18 and Samsung A890 cell phones. Compatible notebook adapters for the DIR-451 are the Novatel Wireless Merlin U530 and U730, Option Wireless GT 3G Quad, Sierra Wireless AirCard 860 and Sony Ericsson GC89.
Without a mobile broadband connection data card, the DIR-450 and DIR-451 work as standard 802.11g wireless routers, such as the popular D-Link RangeBooster G models.
Price and Availability
The DIR-450 is available now for the suggested retail price of $299.99 through D-Link's network of online retailers and at the D-Link online store, http://www.dlinkshop.com. The DIR-451 is targeted to begin shipping later this quarter.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview