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oldcpu's meandering thoughts on Computers, GNU/Linux and openSUSE

Looking for mobile router (or mobile 3G compatible) router ...

Rating: 5 votes, 4.20 average.
I'm looking for views on portable/mobile 3G mobile routers (with built in battery) !

My wife suggested we consider this for our travels, as this may be an interesting way to go (and we are both Internet fiends). The philosophy is one has a very small (deck of cards size) router that obtains the Internet signal via a 3G connection. It then turns around and rebroadcasts this signal via a short range wireless. One can then connect their laptop, or tablet to that wireless, and thus have Internet anywhere.

And one also can use ONE single 3G phone account and not have to have separate 3G devices in each mobile device. Nor does one have to pass the USB 3G dongle back and forth between users.

My wife has an Ipod without 3G, and she has just ordered a Netbook (Lenovo X220 w/13.5" screen). Plus I have my larger Dell Studio 1537 laptop (15" screen) and I may purchase a Tablet toward the end of the year. Thus she is thinking (and I tend to agree) that it may be just as cheap and more flexible for us to purchase a 3G router that we take with us on our travels. That way in the Hotel room or in a Cafe, we can switch ON the router, receive the internet via 3G, and rebroadcast to our mobile devices. The battery means its good for a Cafe (or on the Train), and in the Hotel room we can plug it in to power in the room.

ROUTER W/3G Modem

At first my wife was considering the Huawei MiFi E5836S 3G Mobile WiFi router, which has a built in 3G (with a slot for the simm card) and it retransmits the wireless. Its very popular in Thailand where we would likely use it.

The 'risk' here is 3G is not the same in every country, and while this my work in Thailand for some 3G suppliers, it may not provide good flexibility to work in Europe nor North America where the frequencies are different. I did read one complaint (from a British Columbia, Canada user) who noted its reception was not good. But my wife notes she found a Thai review stating the opposite. Here is a Thai review (which I don't understand the words, but the video provides the concept):




ROUTER w/OUT 3G-MODEM but use USB 3G device

Than I stumbled across the Edimax 3G-6218N - 150Mbps Wireless 3G Portable Router with Battery which is a slightly different concept.

It is cheaper than the Huawei MiFi E5836S 3G Mobile WiFi router but it does NOT include 3G hardware. However it has a USB slot where a 3G USB modem can be plugged into the router. 3G USB modems are mostly incredibly cheap, and so this approach has obvious advantages, as one could use a different 3G modem for different countries.


Here is a video in Japanese (?) (I think - maybe Chinese - again I don't understand the words but the video provides the concept):



... ie one plugs the USB modem into the Edimax. One switches on the Edimax and receives the wireless on one's iPod, Tablet, Netbook, or Laptop. ie both my wife and I could surf at the same time when travelling.

CONCLUSION ?

I have no conclusion yet. I'm leaning toward the Edimax 3G-6218N - 150Mbps Wireless 3G Portable Router - with Battery but I am curious as to who else may have a view point here ?

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Updated 07-Aug-2011 at 06:14 by oldcpu

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  1. oldcpu's Avatar
    The Edimax 3G-6218N - 150Mbps Wireless 3G Portable Router is still my top choice. Its 2 months later and I started a looking again after my wife indicated she is on the verge of purchasing a USB 3G modem.

    USB 3G modem

    She is thinking of either getting the:
    • Huawei 3G E367 (supports UTMS 900/2100 and GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 - with max speed 28MB/sec (if supporting contract/network available))
    • Huawei E169 (supports UTMS 900/2100 and GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 - with max speed 7.2 MB/sec and a jack for an external antenna
    • Huwaei E169G (supports UTMS 2100 and GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 - with similar max spped to E169 but not external antenna jack).


    The E169G is the least expensive and the E367 most expensive. I like the E169 (due to extra freq over E169G and its external antenna) but when I looked for compatibility with the Edimax 3G-6218N I note the E169G is purported as compatible but there is no mention of the E169. This has given me some pause and I may try to influence my wife to go for the cheaper (but less capable) E169G to have a better chance of compatibility with the Edimax 3G-6218N mobile router.

    Edimax 3G-6218N mobile router

    Even after 2 months, I still like the features of the Edimax with
    • a wired RJ45 jack that can be used as a WAN input or as a LAN output (switch dependant)
    • rechargeable integated battery with purported 4 hour battery life
    • nominal USB connector where the USB 3G modem would connect
    • micro USB connector for power, from either a power adaptor to a wall plug, or to a laptop for power

    The combination power/wired functionality of the Edimax 3G-6218N really appeals to me.

    Planned use

    The sort of places where we would use it would be:
    • in hotel room where only one wired ethernet outlet is available (and we would setup our own hotspot from this wired hotel provided outlet such that we can BOTH access the internet at the same time)
    • in airport when waiting for a flight, where we would run off the router battery and create our own hotspot (both accessing the internet at the same time)
    • in a cafe (with an ipod and/or table), where we would run off the battery and create our own hotspot (both accessing the internet at the same time)
    • when staying over night at friends who don't have a wireless nor wired connection available (and we create our own hotspot both accessing the internet at the same time)
    • when travelling and we need a hot spot for what ever reason...
    • backup to our home network connection

    We are both evolving to having multiple devices. My wife typically uses the wireless on her iPod and her Netbook at the same time. And I can see within a year or less I could be using a Tablet at the same time as I am using my laptop. Ergo, we could be using 4 wireless connections at the same time when traveling together.

    I'm not sure when we will purchase a mobile router, but the way my wife is talking she could have the USB stick 3G modem within a week.
  2. oldcpu's Avatar
    I successful connected to Internet using a 3G Huawei K3520 modem on my openSUSE-11.3 laptop
    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu
    USB 3G modem

    She is thinking of either getting the:
    • Huawei 3G E367 (supports UTMS 900/2100 and GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 - with max speed 28MB/sec (if supporting contract/network available))
    • Huawei E169 (supports UTMS 900/2100 and GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 - with max speed 7.2 MB/sec and a jack for an external antenna
    • Huawei E169G (supports UTMS 2100 and GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 - with similar max spped to E169 but not external antenna jack).
    My wife surprised me and purchased NONE of the above. She instead bid on ebay.de for a used Huawei K3520 3G modem (which she had read was similar to an Huawei E169) which was simlock free. She managed to procure it for 22 euros, which is fairly inexpensive. And she also purchased a TMobile prepaid package (called Xtra) for 10 euros, which is 0.99 euros per useage day with a very limited data bandwidth of 1 GB at is nominal speed. Anything over 1GB is at very slow speed.

    While she was struggling to get it to work on her laptop (with Windows7) I surfed a bit on this, noting 2009 reports of GNU/Linux users (debian, ubuntu) struggling with this, although some reported success.

    I did a search on openSUSE search site for huawei for openSUSE-11.3 and noted the package huawei_umtsmodem-1.0.0-3.1.x86_64.rpm available from the private user kssingvo repository:
    Code:
    http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/kssingvo/openSUSE_11.3
    I installed that package, and then waited for my wife to finish her efforts. After 3 hours of playing with Windows7, she managed to get it to work for her.

    So after supper, she let me use the Huawei K3520 3G modem. I first booted to openSUSE-11.3. I ensured knetworkmanager was running. Then I plugged in the modem. I noted immediately an the knetworkmanager icon changed appearance in the lower right hand corner


    So I clicked on it and saw a new mobile device detected:


    So I clicked on that, and I simply accepted the default 3G settings, and then waited. It took a while, but eventually I saw the messages appear in the lower right hand corner of the 3G obtaining an IP-Address.

    And I had internet access over this 3G modem on my openSUSE !!

    I'm typing this post now from my laptop (with a 64-bit openSUSE-11.3 KDE4) with the 3G Huawei K3520 modem providing me Internet access.

    Pretty neat. Pretty painless. Total time from when I first plugged in the 5G modem stick less than 5 minutes, and given this is the 1st time I have EVER done this in GNU/Linux I'm impressed. It sure beats the 3-hours my wife struggled with on Windows7.
  3. oldcpu's Avatar
    this 3G Huawei K3520 modem 'just' worked on KDE4. A bit more on this modem:

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu
    My wife surprised me and purchased NONE of the above. She instead bid on ebay.de for a used Huawei K3520 3G modem (which she had read was similar to an Huawei E169) which was simlock free. She managed to procure it for 22 euros, which is fairly inexpensive. And she also purchased a TMobile prepaid package (called Xtra) for 10 euros
    It turns out it is capable of supporting an antenna, but as packaged by vodafone the antenna input jack is blocked ! There is a site here which explains how to unblock it: http://www.myceloteh.com/3g/huawei-k...-voice-enable/

    with a few images illustrating the 3G modem and the antenna jack :

    First an overall look at the modem. Note this is USB stick size ... and in fact my wife added a 16GB mini-sdcard such that it also acts as a 16GB USB stick:


    This is an internet pix of the cover off. I did not take the cover off myself so I can not confirm this:


    This is an internet pix showing where one would need to drill a hole in the case so as to access the antenna:
  4. oldcpu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu
    I successful connected to Internet using a 3G Huawei K3520 modem on my openSUSE-11.3 laptop
    Some information that I should have included in the above blog post ...

    From 'lsusb' :
    Code:
    Bus 006 Device 003: ID 12d1:1001 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. E620 USB Modem
    I find it interesting the device is recognized as an E620 when it states clearly on the device that it is a K3520. Likely 'one and the same'.

    And from dmesg after plugging the unit in:
    Code:
    [  484.694873] Initializing USB Mass Storage driver...
    [  484.697374] scsi9 : usb-storage 6-1:1.3
    [  484.697564] usbcore: registered new interface driver usb-storage
    [  484.697569] USB Mass Storage support registered.
    [  484.771537] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial
    [  484.771548] USB Serial support registered for generic
    [  484.771598] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial_generic
    [  484.771600] usbserial: USB Serial Driver core
    [  484.782363] USB Serial support registered for GSM modem (1-port)
    [  484.782461] option 6-1:1.0: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
    [  484.782555] usb 6-1: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB0
    [  484.782565] option 6-1:1.1: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
    [  484.782604] usb 6-1: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB1
    [  484.782612] option 6-1:1.2: GSM modem (1-port) converter detected
    [  484.782656] usb 6-1: GSM modem (1-port) converter now attached to ttyUSB2
    [  484.782671] usbcore: registered new interface driver option
    [  484.782672] option: v0.7.2:USB Driver for GSM modems
    [  485.700608] scsi 9:0:0:0: CD-ROM            HUAWEI   Mass Storage     2.31 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
    [  485.722291] sr1: scsi-1 drive
    [  485.722402] sr 9:0:0:0: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr1
    [  485.722472] sr 9:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 5
    [  485.726315] scsi 9:0:0:1: Direct-Access     HUAWEI   SD Storage       2.31 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
    [  485.726472] sd 9:0:0:1: Attached scsi generic sg3 type 0
    [  485.758292] sd 9:0:0:1: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk
    [  489.828228] PPP generic driver version 2.4.2
    [  492.965713] PPP BSD Compression module registered
    [  493.004448] PPP Deflate Compression module registered
    [I note the until is a dual 3G USB modem and also a memory stick, where my wife put in a 16GB mini-SD card]

    ... and finally the IP address assigned by the 3G/ISP organization is interesting ...

    From "ip a" :
    Code:
    6: ppp0: <POINTOPOINT,MULTICAST,NOARP,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UNKNOWN qlen 3
        link/ppp 
        inet 10.46.21.87 peer 10.64.64.64/32 scope global ppp0
    I think nominally a 10.x.x.x IP address is for a local LAN, so it is a bit surprising (for me) to see this in an Internet connection on a modem.
    Updated 31-Oct-2011 at 11:08 by oldcpu
  5. oldcpu's Avatar
    A Edimax 3G-6218N mobile router ordered !

    Since I now have an Asus Transformer TF-101-B1 (which is a model with a wireless, but no 3G), and my wife has an iPod Touch, and we both have our own laptops, my wife and I agreed and went ahead and ordered over the Internet the Edimax 3G-6218N mobile router.


    As I noted above, our plan is to plug my wife's 3G Huawei K3520 3G-modem (E620 compatible) into the full sized USB port in this tiny router and then broadcast a short range WLAN when travelling, such that we both can access the Internet at the same time, using the same 3G sim card.

    The Edimax 3G-6218N has a battery for short duration use, and also has a mini-USB port into which plugs the power adapter, or into which we can plug a connection to either of our laptops to provide backup power to the router's battery (and charge that battery). This mini router also has a full sized RJ45 ethernet jack, so that if we are in a Hotel room that has only one wired connection, we can again broadcast their own short range WLAN, enabling both of us to have Internet access at the same time.

    I'm hoping this arrives within a week, for if it does I will be able to use this in an upcoming business trip, where the Hotel that I am staying has no inexpensive Internet access.
  6. jetchisel's Avatar
    Greetings ,

    I have a DAP-1350 Mobile pocket router http://www.dlink.com/DAP-1350 . This device is not just for 3G but for something else you can just read the specs on that one. I travel a lot too around the world if you may and i can confirm that different countries has different standards in 3G connections. Now this device needs a usb modem (compatible only!) to use its 3G feature. The problem with an additional usb modem to use with your router is that the usb modem has some fine tuning features that you can only use within windows. Since this router is web based that feature is missing like you cannot choose which connection you like/prefer ie 3G, 4G, EDGE and so on it only connects to stronger signal it detects. Now i dont know about your Edimax 3G-6218N mobile router and i hope is not will be like my DAP.
    I also have an E586 http://www.sulit.com.ph/index.php/classifieds+directory/q/Huawei+E586 and this is what i am using now in my opinion it is worth every penny because it is webased even if you plug it in via usb in your favorite windows OS
    and you can fine tune your connection device using only your browser since the sim card does not need an extra usb modem.
    hope my post helps.
  7. oldcpu's Avatar
    The Edimax 3G-6218N works with my wife's 3G Huawei K3520 3G-modem (E620 compatible), providing Internet access. We connected with a Windows7 PC, an openSUSE-11.3 PC, my Asus Transformer and my wife's iPod Touch 3G, all via wireless at the same time.

    But it was only after a bit of difficulty (and help from the Germany Edimax support desk via email) we were able to get this Edimax 3G-6218N working with my wife's 3G Huawei K3520 3G-modem (E620 compatible).

    Still, that eventual success was good news and made us happy, as the 2-week 'grace' we have on this (before we can legally return for 'free' ) had almost expired.

    We still have not managed to get the wired (instead of 3G input) working, but I am beginning to question myself if that is indeed a feature. I have sent the Edimax help desk another email asking for assistance.

    In ~9 years or so of using routers, this is the first time I have had to ask the help desktop (of the router supplier) for assistance, but I guess there is a first for everything.
    Updated 21-Nov-2011 at 15:24 by oldcpu
  8. jetchisel's Avatar
    Good to hear about your router experience. Will try get my hands on your router if i can and see if i will purchase one as well.
  9. Shadowolf7's Avatar
    Had a heck of a time figuring my Gobi internal card out. If you get something with internal I would recommend the Gobi which uses qcserial.
  10. oldcpu's Avatar
    For lunch today, my wife and I went out to eat at a restaurant. While waiting for service, we pulled out of our backpack:
    • the mobile router (Edimax 3G-6218N) [which has a built in battery to give it 4 hours battery operation]
    • the 3G Huawei K3520 3G-modem (E620 compatible)
    • the Acer Transformer (where the model I have uses wireless but has no 3G)
    • my Blackberry Touch (which has 3G and wireless capability, but I have it set to use wireless whenever wireless is available)

    We plugged the 3G modem into the router and it had just finished connecting to the internet when the waiter arrived to take our order. We gave our order and my wife proceeded to surf with the transformer, while I surfed with my Blackberry Touch (which was using the router's wireless instead of the Blackberry's built in 3G). It made the wait for the meal go by much too fast (when the food arrived we were both still checking email ! ) ...

    The speed was slow due to our inexpensive 3G account (which is a pay as you go account that only costs 99 cents (euro cents) per day of use - and you ONLY pay if you use the account on that day), but we knew that the speed would be slow. And frankly, we have both been in Internet Cafes where the speed was slower.

    So it was a success, and I can see now such a setup is great for looking to see what time the next bus comes (when ready to leave a restaurant or leave a friend's place) or useful in a Hotel that does not have free internet (or wants a fortune for the internet) or useful for many other purposes. And these electronic devices are all very small and light and only take up a small fraction of the space in a backpack.
  11. oldcpu's Avatar
    Today I finally succeeded in the last configuration of the Edimax 3G-6218N router, which was to configure it such that when I plugged a wired ethernet (Internet) connection into it, the router would broadcast a local LAN signal. Again, I needed help from the Edimax support, and they sent me a firmware update that I applied. After that I configured the router to be automatic in its assignment of ip addresses and I gave it the host address of my main router (and I'm not certain that last step necessary).

    But after that configuration, my wife's Windows7 PC Lenovo X220 laptop, my Asus Transformer (with Andriod 3.2.1 GNU/Linux) and my wife's iPod Touch 3G were all able to access the Internet through the Edimax wireless router (which was using a wired connection from our home LAN).

    It took me a bit longer to get openSUSE-12.1 connected via the router, mainly because (I believe) an initial mistake on my part (entering wrong password) followed by a KDE Network Manager bug that would not let me change my password nor delete the existing configuration. Eventually I found a work around, and managed to get my openSUSE-12.1 working also.
  12. oldcpu's Avatar
    Here is a pix of the Edimax 3G-6218N router together with the 3G USB Huawei K3520 modem, plugged into our home LAN (receiving Internet) and broadcasting a local WAN that can be accessed by wireless devices.


    In this case (depicted above), it can also get wireless from the 3G modem.

    And if we change the modem to LAN mode, it can take the 3G signal, broadcast a WAN (wireless) and also provide a single wired Ethernet (and hence Internet) connection to one computer.

    Its a very nice gadget
    Updated 03-Dec-2011 at 14:44 by oldcpu
  13. oldcpu's Avatar
    In what has to be the best vote of confidence I have had thus far with this Edimax 3G-6218N router, my wife asked yesterday if she could take it to Thailand with her, in her vacation. She leaves today (while I have to stay behind and work), and I imagine I'll get a first hand account from her as to how it works.

    Edimax 3G-6218N mobile router.


    We used this router a lot in a 4 day vacation to Southern Germany, using it at many times during the day to support us when we were contemplating a change in travel plans. The battery is good for 2 to 3 hours use, which is sufficient to support a number of quick/brief switch ONs to support 10 to 15 minute 'surfs' when one is doing a change in plans. Every night we would charge the router in the Hotel room. Plus if one has a computer, one can plug in a USB cable and run the router off of the laptop's battery (assuming it has better life than the router's 2 to 3 hours use)

    She is also taking her " 3G Huawei K3520 3G-modem (E620 compatible) " USB device, and she also plans to look for an inexpensive simm card in Phuket Thailand, which she will plug into the modem (and then plug the modem into the router) and use (assuming that she can find such a card and adequate coverage in Phuket where she plans to stay). She may also be working out of her brother's company office, and in that case I image she will plug an ethernet cable into the router, and generate her own WLAN (so that she can move her laptop around the office).

    I'm 1/2 expecting some support requests. Still, I confess to being curious as to how this will work out for her.
  14. oldcpu's Avatar
    The Edimax 3G-6218N was successfully used in Thailand by my wife.

    I was talking to my wife via Skype, where she is in Thailand currently on vacation (and about to return home soon). She was able to successfully use the Edimax 3G-6218N mobile router while in Phuket Thailand.

    However she was not able to use it with the 3G Huawei K3520 3G modem. For some reason the Thailand simm card she put in that modem did not work with the modem. She obtained no connection.

    So she borrowed a Huwaei E1752 3G modem off of a friend who lives in Phuket ...

    and she spent a bit less than 10 euros to increase the bandwidth of her friend's simm to 1GB of data. She placed the E1752 (with its simm) into the Edimax 3G-6218N mobile router, and it 'just worked'.

    She noted that USB modems in Phuket Thailand were very inexpensive (~1400 baht or so, which is about 35 euros) and if one did not have a router like we have (with our Edimax) one can purchase a MiFi for about 5000 baht (which is about 125 euros). Our router was much less than 100 euros (I can't recall the exact amount ... somewhere between 60 and 75 euros), and we can plug in a number of different USB modems into it, not to mention it has a number of other features that a MiFi does not have, ... so I am still happy purchasing that router was the best choice for me.

    When my wife gets back here in Europe, I suspect I will here more stories on her use of the router.
    Updated 18-May-2012 at 14:11 by oldcpu
  15. oldcpu's Avatar
    Its almost 3-years later, and my wife and I are still using the Edimax 3G-6218N router. Nominally at home, we use it to provide a wireless signal to our patio in the summer time.

    Our separate primary home router has a wireless signal that is not strong enough to use when we are on the patio. But we have a room inside, next to the patio, where there is a wired ethernet connection to our home router. So we plug the Edimax into that wired location, and switch it on to give our patio a wireless signal. That works well, and when not in use we switch off the Edimax (for added security against any drive by hackers).

    We still find, even in today's wireless age, that this very small portable router is very useful in a number of hotels and B&Bs. We often will encounter a hotel that has both a wired and wireless connection to the room, but they limit the # of family wireless connections to a couple of connections. In our case, when travelling we have:
    • 2 x smart phones
    • 2 x tablets
    • 2 x notebooks/ultrabooks

    for a total of 6 devices, which often exceeds the hotel nominal limit. But if they have a wired connection, we simply plug in the Edimax router and we can over come that device limitation.

    Plus often the hotel wireless is very weak - almost too weak to use. But if they have a wired connection, then by plugging in the Edimax router into the hotel provided wired connection we can retransmit a good wireless signal for our own private use.

    Some bed-and-breakfasts (BnBs) have a wired connection and no wireless for guests (or only a weak wireless) so the router also comes in handy for that.

    One area where we do NOT use the Edimax (although it can be used for this) is when on the road in a restaurant or park, and we want a quick wireless access point for our Tablet. In that case if we have a Telephone company 3G account, then with the Android device that has the 3G, we create a Hotspot for our tablet. Android (and I am told iPhones) work great for creating a hotspot. Of course we could put a simm card in each of internet devices for 3G , but with multiple devices capable of using the Intenet, paying for a 3G account for each device starts to become rather expensive.
    .
    Updated 26-Apr-2015 at 04:21 by oldcpu