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View Full Version : Portable router to share hotel internet when travelling



Chikara
24-10-2013, 09:18 PM
Hi all,

I travel often for business and use hotel's internet. Sometimes this is cabled, and sometimes it's wifi. Sometimes it's free, sometimes paid, and sometimes it is restricted to one device connected only at any given time (or sometimes, only one device is allowed to be activated and once you're chosen which one, you can't connect your other devices)

What I would like to do is purchase a portable router that can re-broadcast the hotel room internet wirelessly, so I can use it on all my devices concurrently. Sometimes I have 3 or 4 devices running at the same time - my work laptop, personal laptop, work phone and personal phone.

I get the general concept that a portable router, designed for travel situations like this, just plugs into the LAN cable and converts the signal to wifi, just like a home modem/router does. But my questions are:

- Where the signal needs logon via a web page before it's activated, will this still work? And if so - if I am doing this from cabled into wireless - would each device need to logon to the hotel page first to activate? (or can this somehow be managed on the portable router)?
- If the hotel has a one device connected only policy, is there any way I can get around this a portable router? (EG somehow the router *is* identified as the allowed device and then I connect multi devices behind that? Regardless of if hotel signal is cabled or LAN?
- Can I protect the wireless signal it creates, so neighbouring hotel rooms can't snoop?

If that is possible, can anyone recommend a good make/model? I need something ideally that is smallish in size and lightweight, but reliable.

Thanks in advance!

plod
24-10-2013, 09:36 PM
The apple airpot express original is the size of a power adaptor, is very portable. Exchangeable plugs for overseas travel.

Speedy Gonzales
24-10-2013, 09:46 PM
Dont think you're going to get it wirelessly from a car, if the hotel is miles away. Probably better if you get a portable router that supports 3G dongles, then use that to access the internet. Something like this? (http://www.pcworld.co.nz/article/481596/review_tp-link_tl-mr3020/). You could probably just use a cellphone if it uses a program like joinme, or a smartphone. And use that as a hotspot

berryb
24-10-2013, 10:07 PM
Answer = NO!

And if it did would be complicated for a non tech to configure from site to site.

Chikara
24-10-2013, 10:10 PM
Thanks, just to clarify I'm just talking about my in room usage, I realise this won't work beyond my hotel room. I just need something that will let me use more than one device at the same time, instead of having to connect my laptop and then set up a hotspot from there (which will still acheive the same result but sometimes it's a hassle running the laptop only for the purpose of creating a hotspot).
I guess something that supports 3G dongles, *as well as* sharing the hotel room internet is ideal.
What about the scenario where the hotel restricts usage to one device via MAC address, will this still get around that problem? EG can the portable router be this device, and I have the ability to log on via the device to register?

inphinity
24-10-2013, 10:11 PM
http://pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=NETAS1055&name=ASUS-WL-330NUL-All-in-One-Wireless-N-Pocket-Router

Chilling_Silence
25-10-2013, 02:15 PM
Any router will work. Get yourself something nice like the TP-Link TL-WR941ND and put Gargoyle on it.

Otherwise something like the Accton MR3202A I've used in the past are *tiny* little suckers

Finally, you can do it from your laptop with the right software. I don't recall off the top of my head but it's easily doable.

nmercer
25-10-2013, 09:07 PM
I use an ASUS Travel Router, smaller than a pack of cards, even has a USB port to plug in a 3G dongle as backup if need be

appears to hotel networks as 1 device with its MAC address, and have multiple devices connected to it over WiFi

Chikara
26-10-2013, 03:59 PM
If the hotel doesn't offer cabled internet, they only offer wifi, do these smaller portable ones still let you connect to hotel wifi and only appear as one device still?
How does that work where the hotel requires logon via a web page? I guess you connect the router first to wifi, then connect your devices, and then can register/logon through any connected device? As from the hotels point of view, they would only see the MAC address of the router - so effectively it's the router MAC that is registered for use?

nmercer
27-10-2013, 09:42 AM
the Asus one that I use will only work with Wired, I'm not aware of one that would work with wireless, ie resharing 1 wireless connection with 1 MAC address over the same wireless

Chikara
27-10-2013, 02:50 PM
The ones that say they have a WISP feature - Wireless Internet Service Provider - should they be able to manage this? Or is there something else I need to look for?

Chilling_Silence
27-10-2013, 03:12 PM
If it only offers cabled internet, you'll need a "repeater-bridge" function. Anything running something like DD-WRT can do that quite easily :)

Chikara
27-10-2013, 03:20 PM
Thanks, I think most of the portable travel ones offer that feature (convert wired, to wireless accessible for multiple devices) if I'm not wrong. Plus the regular sized ones. (Either with the stock firmware or DD-WRT or Gargoyle).
But it's not unusual that when I travel, the hotel *only* offers wireless. I'd really like to be able to share that one hotel wireless signal with my multiple devices.
Some hotels allow multiple devices but many require logon/registration and therefore know the MAC ID of the device connecting. So i'm trying to get something that can also share the wireless signal via the router, too, and not have any problems with the MAC identification/logon part.
Should any router that has WISP as a feature be able to do that, or is there something else I should be looking for?
And would I really need to flast with DD-WRT or Gargoyle, or if is has WISP, shouldn't the stock firmware be capable of that already??
Thanks!

PS - I realise I could achieve this via software on the laptop, something like Connectify or an equivalent, but I'd prefer to manage it through the router as I may nto always want to have to turn laptop on, just to connect my phone or other devices to the internet...

Chilling_Silence
27-10-2013, 06:26 PM
This is the software I was thinking of ! :D

http://virtualrouter.codeplex.com/

Used it in Hawaii to share from my laptops WiFi connection to my tablet and stuff...

Chikara
27-10-2013, 07:48 PM
Great, I'll check that out as a plan B if I cant get a router to do what I want.
I used to use Connectify, but the free version is a lot worse now, it only keeps you online for a limited time, then disconnects you and you have to manually reconnect - their nagware to get you to buy their full version. Plus I hate their pop-up ads!

Chilling_Silence
27-10-2013, 08:45 PM
Yeah thats why this ones great :D

Chikara
27-10-2013, 11:49 PM
OK, thanks all for your input and suggestions. For travel purposes I decided to get the Asus WL-330-NUL, because of it's portability for travel, and it seems to support sharing of both cabled and wireless internet - I read through the manual and it also has a MAC spoofing feature via the admin page, which I think may overcome any limitations with hotels requiring logon and limiting to a particular MAC address. Next time I stay at a hotel that has wireless only internet I'll try it out and try to remember to post back here with how it worked. (and will install the virtualrouter software too as a backup)

I am also in need of a new router at home too, my old one often has signal drops, and generally I haven't been too happy with it. So I think I will go with Chill's suggestion of the TP-Link TL-WR941ND or maybe even the next model up, the TL-WR3543ND.
I will use this as my home router (but if the Asus travel router doesn't do the job I could also take the TPLink away when I travel too - although it's heavier and bulkier so far from ideal for this purpose)
Can I ask Chill, why do you recommend Gargoyle on it, instead of the stock firmware? What advantages (or disadvantages) does Gargoyle have over stock? And if for any reason I try Gargoyle and don;t like it and want to revery back to stock, is that easy to do?

Chilling_Silence
27-10-2013, 11:58 PM
Yeah you can go back. Basically it's a lot more user friendly, a lot more reliable, a lot more solid... And features like per-device quotas and things, very cool :D

SolMiester
28-10-2013, 09:56 AM
Hi all,

I travel often for business and use hotel's internet. Sometimes this is cabled, and sometimes it's wifi. Sometimes it's free, sometimes paid, and sometimes it is restricted to one device connected only at any given time (or sometimes, only one device is allowed to be activated and once you're chosen which one, you can't connect your other devices)

What I would like to do is purchase a portable router that can re-broadcast the hotel room internet wirelessly, so I can use it on all my devices concurrently. Sometimes I have 3 or 4 devices running at the same time - my work laptop, personal laptop, work phone and personal phone.

I get the general concept that a portable router, designed for travel situations like this, just plugs into the LAN cable and converts the signal to wifi, just like a home modem/router does. But my questions are:

- Where the signal needs logon via a web page before it's activated, will this still work? And if so - if I am doing this from cabled into wireless - would each device need to logon to the hotel page first to activate? (or can this somehow be managed on the portable router)?
- If the hotel has a one device connected only policy, is there any way I can get around this a portable router? (EG somehow the router *is* identified as the allowed device and then I connect multi devices behind that? Regardless of if hotel signal is cabled or LAN?
- Can I protect the wireless signal it creates, so neighbouring hotel rooms can't snoop?

If that is possible, can anyone recommend a good make/model? I need something ideally that is smallish in size and lightweight, but reliable.

Thanks in advance!

These is any number of 3g Wireless routers available now, we use several for our auditors while out on the road, easy to setup and connect, they evn power over for laptop USB if required....