Expanding your wireless network keeps getting easier and easier. Routers used to cost a fortune and were definitely not very portable. Seemingly like everything else in the electronics world, the quality keeps getting better and the product keeps getting smaller. While small routers and even cheap routers are not totally unheard of, it is tough to find one as cheap, as portable, and most importantly as feature packed as the Satechi Wireless Mini Router.
Measuring a meager 3″ x 3″ x 1″ and costing less than $40, this router is an amazing gadget. I hate to even call it a gadget as that label belittles its machine like strength. Offering more than a simple WiFi signal, this device can act as a bridge, a repeater, an access point or a client. And it does it all with quick speed and ease of use. Read on to learn a little bit more about this great device.
Router There’s not terribly much to say about a good router. Hopefully you can turn a new router on, set it up properly and never have to think about it again which means it is doing its job properly. Like most modern routers, this one is compatible with N, G, & B devices and standard. Speeds are up to 300Mbps and you can set up WPS security encryption with the press of a button. So simply plugging it into a wall socket and then into your internet source will act as a standard router with great range and robust speeds.
Repeater This is actually how I came across this device when searching for WiFi repeaters and what I am actually using it for. In the past we looked at Power Line Networking as an easy way of adding internet access to areas that your wireless signal was not properly covering. That is a great solution if you only need to plug in one device like a TiVO or a Boxee. Amplifying your existing network is the solution if you want WiFi everywhere. I’ve tried a couple repeaters in the past with mediocre results that I ended up returning. The Satechi performs great. A simple set up and now the third floor attic space of my house has the speed and coverage that the rest of my house does.
Access Point This is one of the reasons why it is so fantastic that this is such a portable device. You can carry it along and use it as a wireless access point when travelling in hotels that only offer a wired connection. So frustrating these days not to have wireless in your hotel room. Especially when you want gadgets connected that don’t have an ethernet port like tablets and other mobile devices. Simply plug the Satechi into the ethernet cable and instantly you can create a wireless network for all your devices without having to sit at the desk and plug in. I’ve ordered a second unit to keep in my travel bag so I don’t need to swap back and forth with the unit I am using as a repeater at home.
Client Mode This is cool too. Many devices like game consoles or DVD players only have an ethernet port and don’t have wireless capabilities to access the internet. In this mode, you can use the Satechi and plug into your device giving it full internet access without a wired ethernet line. This makes for an inexpensive and easy option to get streaming music sites or Netflix for example to your DVD player or online games to your gaming console without having an ethernet connection. The speed and reliability make videos, games and movies all work perfectly without stutter or skip.
Bridge Mode I have not tested this mode out yet or will likely have any reason to in the future. This allows you to take an existing network and broadcast it under a name. So for example, you could be broadcasting “Parkers Home Network” from a main router with password protection, and then create “Parkers Guest Network” and leave it open. I am sure there are plenty of people that would have an application for this, perhaps businesses.
Ease of Use It’s a snap! If you’ve ever configured a router, you’ll be familiar with launching a browser to access your router settings. Even if you haven’t, it couldn’t be easier. Simply enter 192.168.10.253 and the default admin/admin user/pass combo which can be changed later. On the settings page is an easy wizard that allows you to quickly set-up any of the previously mentioned modes. I had no issue with any of them and they all worked the first try without any issues. Bear in mind though, that you do need to go through the setup every time that you want to change modes.
Drawbacks Not many to be honest. While the size is small and easy for carrying around to hotels and such, it would be nice if the AC prongs were collapsible to make packing in a small gadget bag even easier. Frankly, I can’t think of too much else that could be improved in the design, function or set-up.
Bottom Line A small device with a small price tag that can be used as your primary wireless router, as a repeater to rebroadcast a weak signal giving more robust wireless coverage, as an access point where there is only a wired connection, as a bridge or as a client. So many uses and so versatile. I can’t say enough good things about the combination form factor, price and versatility of this great router. Two big thumbs up.
Direct from Satechi $39
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