Periodically I run into a situation where I need temporary internet access either because where I am either doesnt have a wireless network or I need to come out on the Internet on an ISP other than the one that is in use at the location where I am. One of the devices that is always nearby is my iPad which only has Wifi. I had looked getting a newer iPad with Cellular Data but I had to choose the provider right then and couldnt change carriers at a later date. From time to time, I need to test a new firewall or VPN device and see how it reacts from the pubic or forward facing interface. Without this type of package, I would have to having to test from somewhere else or “shudder” have to resort to a dialup connection if a spare phone line was available (and they arent always).
I have dealt with a variety of cellular modems over the years. With changes from PCMCIA to ExpressCard to USB, I now have a few more options. Since my needs are going to be intermittent for the most part, avoiding a recurring monthly bill was at the top of the list. This led me to narrow my search for USB Broadband adapters to those that are Prepaid or pay to use when you need it. While I am at it, I want to carry at least two different USB Adapters, one on a CDMA carrier and the other on GSM. Since not all carriers have their own towers in a particular area, this gives me options to try different paths on the internet based on what the different carriers may be using.
One of the items to be researched is the variety of different portable routers that will use the USB Broadband adapters I am looking at. It needs to have a Wifi AP function and be as small as possible for portability sake. What I also want to have is a portable router that if plugged into an available wired network that it can also function as an AP for my non-cellular data capable devices. To keep things safe, once I have all the pieces parts in hand, I will probably end up finding the right size Pelican case to keep everything safe from being damaged carrying from one place to another. One other item I will be looking at is carrying some type of small power inverter so that if I need to operate this from my car that I can. Even with some cars now offering a mobile broadband option, why add that cost to your car when you may already have most of the pieces parts ?
In the coming installments in this series, I will detail my research and choices to help you avoid some of the problems I may run into and save time doing some of the same research that I will have already done.