Software solutions for a mobile world

I do a reasonable amount of travelling, and spend quite a bit of time in Menorca. I have a Vodafone ES dongle for this, which gives me unlimited 3G access for €20 for 7 days, and have been using this for over a year without a problem. Last week, I plugged in the dongle, and the modem couldn't be recognised, even though 3 weeks earlier, there wasn't a problem using it! The obvious solution is to search the internet for the solution, but with no connection, how to do it.

In this case, I removed the sim card from the dongle, put it in my Windows Mobile phone, made a connection and used 'Internet Sharing' so I could use the phone as a modem. There is an excellent guide here on how to setup internet sharing. I was fortunate that my phone was unlocked and would allow use of my Spanish Sim, and that I could find the APN settings to connect. I was also fortunate enough (and sad enough) to have a 'spare' Windows Mobile phone with me.

So this all worked great. But to further complicate matters, I was doing some work with a device that is debugged over wirless, but appears to consider an ad-hoc wireless network the work of the devil, and refused to associate with my ad-hoc network regardless of what I do.

I was pointed at a Zoom 3G Wireless-N Desktop Router by a friend who was using this set-up. So I ordered one from Amazon and it was waiting for me when I got home. Unwrapped it, configured it through a brilliantly simple web-interface, plugged in a T-Mobile dongle, and it just connected to the Internet - that was it. No fuss, no messing, just a connection. The wireless network was immediately visible (supports WEP/WPA/WPA2) and I connected to it as a router from several devices just to test it out. It is a fully fledged router supporting DHCP, has a Lan and a Wan port, so in theory, you could use the Lan cable in a Hotel, and then set up your own Wireless network using the Zoom.

It is early days, but this is an amazing piece of kit, and for the price, amazing value. At a stroke, it solved all the problems I was facing connecting. It is small (12cm*13cm*3cm), lightweight and doesn't have a brick for a power supply. I have nothing but praise for this and it will certainly become part of my travelling kit from now on.



Originally posted 7/Aug/2010


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