Aukey has made a product that’s done something to really impress me, and that is create an affordable pocket-sized wireless-N 150Mbps router with a 6000mAh battery and a DLNA USB media server. As a note, this product actually got my inner tech nerd a bit giddy.
Why might you want a pocket-sized 6000mAh battery that doubles as a router and DLNA USB media hub? OK, let’s break this down:
As a battery
The 6000mAh battery allows you to either run the Wireless Travel Router without any wires (other than a network jack to the network if you want internet,) or recharge the average phone two and a half times from completely dead.
As a wireless router
With more people traveling and wanting to bring devices like a Chromecast along with them the question has become at many hotels “how the hell am I going to accept the hotel’s terms and conditions on a Chromecast?” the answer has been that you can’t.
If you want to use a Chromecast on a hotel WiFi that requires a login, room number, etc you’ve been forced to bring a router along with you so that you can accept the TOS on one computer and then the router’s capable of streaming. This will handle that for most.
It’s also great if you’ve got a presentation set up and just want to go in, slap a Chromecast into the client’s TV, pop up your travel router, and cast away without having to deal with potentially being in network isolation where two devices are unable to see each other, having to deal with the client’s IT person, etc.
As a USB drive reader
Let’s assume you’ve brought along several movies with you on a USB drive, thumb drive, etc. The better thumb drives can store hundreds of full length movies these days, but you might be wondering how to get them to your tablet, Chromecast, etc.
Just plug in the drive, use a DLNA capable app, and you should be able to locate the contents of the drive you’ve plugged into the USB.
I slapped a bunch of movie trailers on a USB stick, plugged it in, used an app called MediaHouse and was playing videos off of the USB drive on my phone.
Carrying all those cables…
The only drawback to traveling with this router is all the cables you have to drag around with you. Oh wait...
You’ll need an RJ45 network cable if you want to get onto a network, which most hotels provide right out of the wall, and if you plan to be gone more than a day you might need to use a standard micro USB phone charger for a few hours while you’re out doing something. If you’re packing Android chances are you can just plug it into the phone charger you brought with you.
The Aukey Wireless Travel Router comes with one 10-ish inch USB cable and that’s all you theoretically need to charge it and use it to its fullest potential assuming you have some sort of device with you that provides USB power.
But wait, there’s more…
There are features I am unable to test without setting up a lab. Among these are 3G/4G access by plugging the Aukey Wireless into a mobile hotspot. Connecting the device to another WiFi network and turning your non wireless device wireless looks like it can be done, or perhaps it’s just WiFi to WiFi access.
It can also dial ADSL connections, has many advanced options for any type of Internet connection other than RJ11 I’ve heard of.
And even more…
Unfortunately, the mobile device access doesn’t allow you to configure quite everything. There’s an advanced menu that you can reach with a computer which includes configuring WPS push button or PIN connecting, changing the network mode (B/g/n, n-only, etc.)
There’s a firewall with content filters, address filtering, a virtual server (port forwarding), a system firewall to prevent jerk friends from messing your WiFi up, DMZ configuration for gaming, data usage tracking, and a lot more.
As a wireless router I found that the Aukey Wireless is about 80% as strong as the $200 routers I use for work. I got to about 30 feet from the router in a building filled with 26 other visible WiFi access points and the signal did start to deteriorate. At 60 feet away with an electrical closet, a firewall, and some computers between me and it I was getting about half speed.
The device came with about half a charge, I spent a couple of hours playing with it without it being plugged into anything except a USB stick and an unpowered network cable, and the indicator lights hadn’t budged from where they initially were. Whether this is indicative of extreme power efficiency, low power usage of WiFi in general, or faulty indicator lights I can’t say.
The thing is light, the management interface looks good on a cell phone and is fully featured on a computer. With port forwarding, media sharing, and all the things an expensive router brings to the table.
Charging from dead to full will take you six hours on a 1000mA charger, it won’t charge faster than 1000mA. You can charge while using it if you need (E.G. plugged into a laptop,).
The interface appears in Chinese for about one second and then switches to English. It’s not particularly annoying, but it is something I would have expected to be fixed in a released product.
Room for improvement?
I’m going to state right here that the router is amazing, but I thought perhaps I could offer two suggested additions to it that would make it perfect:
- If the device had fold-out prongs so that it could charge off a wall outlet while running it would be amazing
- If it included an attached pull-out charging cable for Android/iPhone it would be the near perfect charger
- Charge directly off of POE network (as a note, not having a POE network I’m not completely sure it doesn’t)
The Aukey Wireless N150 Travel Router is available from Amazon for $34.99. Is it worth it? Hell yes.