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Good travel router?

Discussion in 'Routers' started by wkearney99, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. wkearney99

    wkearney99 Occasional Visitor

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    I've had a Zyxel MWR222 for ages and it's a bit slow. It's nicest feature is integrated support for a USB cell modem. Very handy when there's no wired Ethernet at a hotel. It also has a built-in battery and a very compact form-factor. I don't really ever depend on the battery, so that's not a must-have.

    Downside is that it's not very fast, and it lacks any kind of support for making VPN connections from the router itself. That'd save me from having to make a VPN connection from individual devices. I'd love to have the router 'nail up' a VPN connection and force all traffic through it. WPA2 into the router, L2TP back home and avoid the local network entirely. Plus is some tablet apps get faked into thinking the gizmo is still back home (provided GPS is off, of course).

    The important factors would be USB cell modem compatibility, small form-factor, vpn client connections. I'd really prefer something small. I don't want to have to lug a generic SOHO router around. The MWR-222 is hardly larger than a pack of cigarettes, or half the height of a paperback book. I don't need it to be "that" small but close would be nice.

    Optionally support for serving out media to local connections would be great. As in, stream movies for the kid's tablet while at the hotel.

    Any alternatives out there worth considering?
     
  2. Mindthoughts

    Mindthoughts Occasional Visitor

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    You have to read also reviews to see if a travel router will be good for you. I found these two to be a nice travel travel routers. Hootoo and TP-Link N150 (TL-WR702N) are also worth considering.
     
  3. wkearney99

    wkearney99 Occasional Visitor

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    Neither of which appear support a USB cell modem, nor VPN client functionality. So, no, those aren't going to provide what I want.
     
  4. Samir

    Samir Very Senior Member

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    Some of the more industrial cellular routers would probably be able to do what you want (cradlepoint, et al), but the size and price point may not work for you.
     
  5. System Error Message

    System Error Message Part of the Furniture

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    mikrotik has routers that could do what you want. Some of them support usb modems but their main highlight is that some have a sim slot and mini PCIe. The price may be low but you will need to check the compatibility with modem.

    Openwrt is an option too as they have so many features. I would suggest openwrt though as it is easier to configure.
     
  6. wkearney99

    wkearney99 Occasional Visitor

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    Anyone here tried any of the routers from GL-inet?

    https://www.gl-inet.com/

    I don't "need" 5ghz local networking but it would be convenient if in a 2.4ghz-congested area. Wired Ethernet network speed is less a factor in travel situations, thus something with 'only' 10/100 ports isn't a terrible sacrifice. The real key is VPN throughput. I'm not looking for fantastically rigorous encryption, as you might want from a point-to-point tunnel for dedicated connections between sites.

    As for SIM slots, given the ways some carriers are set up I find it's often better to stick with their recommended modems rather than trying to figure out what kind of livestock has to be sacrificed to make oddball cards connect reliably.
     
  7. wkearney99

    wkearney99 Occasional Visitor

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    I haven't looked at the Cradlepoint units for several years. Back when I go it the Zyxel beat them, hands-down, price-wise. I'd used a Linksys unit that supported PCMCIA card modems but with the advent of 4G those were no longer supported through Verizon. It doesn't look like any of their current offerings will do what I'm after. Their ARC CBA850 is the closest, but it's use of rather large antennae with fragile SMA connectors is not at all ideal for travel.
     
  8. ericnix

    ericnix Occasional Visitor

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    I also am interested in a travel router. Would prefer to hook up to ethernet in the hotel, but I also would like to have a router that can connect to the hotel's WiFi and redistribute the WiFi with my own SSID/password. Ideally, the router should support a VPN connection so it would encrypt traffic before it goes across the hotel's unencrypted WiFi.

    Probably asking for too much though.

    EDIT: Spoke too soon. The link above seems to do all I need!
     
  9. wkearney99

    wkearney99 Occasional Visitor

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    repeating wifi will kill your throughput. wireless to wireless to wireless adds delay. That and if there's not enough bandwidth due to other wifi devices it'll be even worse.
     
  10. System Error Message

    System Error Message Part of the Furniture

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    actually the ideal travel router would need to fit a few criterias
    1) fast enough enough to handle the possible connections you will use (such as wired at hotels and some places with fast internet)
    2) has a couple of gigabit ethernet ports and wifi
    3) compact including the power brick
    4)has features like vpn and other features you need (in this case usb modem)

    my suggestion really is to use openwrt as thats the easiest to configure, heres a link that explains for openwrt https://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/recipes/3gdongle . Openwrt has the highest compatibility and relies on the hardware to tick the rest of the boxes.

    Mikrotik has a lot of choice for hardware and it is possible to run openwrt on some of them. They have hardware that fits the criteria but their compatibility isnt as big as openwrt. So if you got yourself a routerboard make sure it is compatible with openwrt as if the modem isnt compatible very likely you can install openwrt and use it instead. heres a list of supported hardware https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Supported_Hardware#4G_LTE_cards_and_modems so if you are going to use a usb modem that is on that list it should work with mikrotik. Although both mikrotik and openwrt are not easy to configure compared to consumer routers they provide the most flexibility in hardware and router features.

    With openwrt you can select a lot of hardware to use with it.

    Other solutions involve the use of controller boards like the raspberry pi but with at least 2 ethernet ports and a wifi card, or NUC sized PCs that have 2 ports at least and wifi. With x86 combined with a linux OS gives you the highest compatibility, speed and features and would be like carrying an additional laptop around though smaller but with the same weight. Ofcourse you could install windows on it instead and use windows ICS/bridge.
     
  11. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    I agree - there's a couple of TP Link travel routers that are fully supported by OpenWRT (use the google to search for them) - and OpenWRT is easy enough to manage...
     
  12. System Error Message

    System Error Message Part of the Furniture

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    it adds delay, kills throughput but at a 30% throughput of a single channel wifi AC, pretty sure thats still fast and the additional latency, about 2-6ms depending on the wifi configuration, thats powerline area latency.
     

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