Autonomous wired and wireless repeater for travel?
November 26, 2012 6:41 AM   Subscribe

I need to find a small device to be an all purpose router for connecting my iPad/iPhone and MacBook to both wired and wireless hotel networks, using a single hotel login. D-Link DIR-505? Or something else?

The device needs to be able to act as a wireless repeater - repeating a hotel-side wireless network to a new wireless network which all my devices can see but will go through the same connection (so I don't have to pay 3 times, for hotels that only allow one device per account).

It also needs to do this with wired networks. Lots of devices can do this, but the catch is I need to be able to access and configure it with no Ethernet connection, for when I just have my phone and ipad. That is, if the device forces me to make an Ethernet connection to set up the in-room wireless network, it won't work for me.

Keeping size and weight down is really important to me. The DIR-505 looks like a good solution, and is has a USB charger too (although I can't find the current spec). It's got a lot of really iffy Amazon reviews though. Can any lightweight road warriors weigh in with suggestions?
posted by ftm to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

So this IS configured over ethernet, and it DOES NOT rebroadcast wifi. It IS only $40 today on newegg. With theoretically free shipping. And it's tiny. About the size of a credit card.
With another device you may be able to make it work.

Good luck.
posted by Folk at 7:23 AM on November 26, 2012

I've travel a fair amount (about 50%) and have yet to find a hotel that would limit me to one device.

Yes there are instances where my iPad or iPhone would require a separate 'registration' to sign up for the fee charged to the room, but only on one occasion in the past 18 months or so was there any kind of double charge to my bill. And on that occasion, while checking out I simply asked for that charge to be removed.

I used to carry an AirPort Express to serve as a local router for the room I'd stay in, but have abandoned the practice as it's easier and lighter for me to carry a thin Ethernet cable and f/f adapter.
posted by scooterdog at 8:10 AM on November 26, 2012

I use the older model of this Asus router to give myself a private network in hotel rooms. I think when you say you want to configure it with no Ethernet you really mean you want to configure it with no wired Ethernet? If so, you can configure it via wireless Ethernet by browsing to the router's home page.
posted by Runes at 8:39 AM on November 26, 2012

i've had good luck with the tp-link tl-mr3020. it does both wireless repeating (which they call "WISP"), and wired access point-ing. it's cheap and light (and not ugly) and can get its power from 2 USB plugs or AC.
posted by bruceo at 3:19 PM on November 26, 2012

Oh - that tp-link is little! But requires an external supply, it looks like? It seems like a big perk that the D-link can plug in and power its USB port to boot; but the Asus and tp-link seem like credible alternatives too, and tp-link has some other potential options too.

I'm actually asking for my boss who is on an "ultralight" kick and is going to try to do a week in Tokyo with only an iPad Mini and a couple pairs of ExOfficio.

Thanks for all the pointers so far, any more appreciated too!
posted by ftm at 5:07 PM on November 26, 2012

This Edimax device is on sale right now at Newegg, uses USB power, and seems to support WISP.

One thing I will tell you as someone who has left more shit in hotel rooms than I like to admit is if you get a plain-white or black device then you'll want to spray-paint it with a bright color. I've not lost a device since I colored them all orange. That Edimax also comes in red, which is a great idea.
posted by Runes at 5:53 AM on November 27, 2012

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