We first covered the Huawei D100 Router as sold by 3UK earlier this year, but we now see it’s been removed from the 3Store (most likely due to 3UK concentrating on the ZTE USB Modem right now, which is not compatible with the Huawei). Well, courtesy of Hot UK Deals, we’ve been informed that Carphone Warehouse are currently selling their stock of the 3 branded device at half price, which is £34.25. That’s a very good price for the device, although it is limited to only working with 3UK, and, as already stated, needs a Huawei 3UK USB Modem to work. However, once you have that, it will offer you the ability to share your 3UK Mobile Broadband connection with upto 4 other devices via Wi-Fi as long as you have access to a power socket.
Given that this does have these limitations, what are the options for others? Well, the Solwise 3G Router may help out; although it’s designed as an ADSL router, it has a 3G failback capability (ie when the ADSL line is down, it will use a 3G USB Modem instead). Now, because this isn’t being sold by any particular network, it’s not limited to one mobile network, and also supports a whole range of USB Modems, including a number of ZTE models as well. It can even support some mobile phones being connected via USB if you have one lying around spare.
As the Solwise has both an ethernet port and Wi-Fi capability, it can act as a nice portable connection sharing device too. The Solwise is a little more expensive at £60 though (although for another few pounds you can get a Euro plug adaptor for the same device given you the ability to use it across Europe; although use a local SIM or be prepared for some horrendous data roaming charges!).
Both these devices still have one problem; the USB Mobile Broadband Dongle has to be physically located close to the main unit (and hence a power socket); if this location does not have the best 3G signal, then you should head over to Mobile Fun, who sell external aerials and signal boosters for the majority of USB Modems on the market (and have some generic ones for those without external antenna sockets). Finally, it’s not clear if Carphone Warehouse are selilng the Black or White variant (or if you get a choice when ordering online), so it may be prudent to go to your local store if you are looking for a particular colour.
We should say that T-Mobile have a similar unit, but it’s only available with a new Mobile Broadband contract, so if you already have a device, there’s no wasy way of purchasing one…