A travel router is often considered the “Swiss army knife” of Internet networking. These tiny devices are often no bigger than a credit card, but don’t be fooled by their small footprint. Anyone who finds him or herself on the go should have one of these in their computer bag.
What Is a Travel Router
A travel router is essentially a smaller version of the WiFi router you have in your house. A travel router’s primary purpose is to create a unique WiFi network using an open public WiFi connection or a wired one. Let’s say that you’re staying at a hotel that offers free Internet, but it’s only available from a single Ethernet cable. Without a travel router you would be tethered to that cable, and only one device would have access to the Internet. However, with a travel router users can create a private WiFi network by connecting their travel router to the Ethernet cable.
If the hotel offers WiFi, then you’re stuck having to add the network and type in the password to each device you have with you. Using a travel router eliminates this annoyance. Simply fire up your travel router and connect the router to the hotel’s WiFi. Now all of your devices can simply connect to the personal WiFi network that the travel router creates.
Benefits of Using a Travel Router
As we mentioned above, the main selling point of a travel router is convenience. If you don’t travel all that much, this may not seem like a big deal. However, travel routers have other useful features. Using a travel router helps to secure your privacy. Many places from restaurants to libraries offer free WiFi to the public.
Of course, we’ve all heard about the dangers of public WiFi, and for good reason. It’s easy for attackers on the same public WiFi network as you to steal your login credentials, personal information or other sensitive data. Fortunately using a travel router adds a layer of security when using public WiFi.
When using a travel router, all of your devices are connected to the network the router creates, not the public one. This means that potential attackers won’t be able to “see” your devices. Furthermore, a travel router enables you to bypass any limits to the number of devices you’re allowed to have connected since technically you’re only connecting one, the travel router.
In addition, most travel routers also boast a number of other features. For instance, many travel routers can act as a WiFi range extender for your home or office so you can out it to use when you’re not travelling. Furthermore, some can use a SIM card to create a WiFi network and others can even transfer files via attached storage. If a travel router sounds like something you need in your computer bag, continue reading to see our favorites.
1. TP-Link Nano
Coming in at 2.2 x 2.2 x 0.7 inches and 7.2 ounces, the TP-Link Nano is one of the smallest travel routers available. The unit is capable of delivering 300Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and is compatible with 802.11 a/b/g/n Internet protocols. In addition, the TP-Link Nano supports Router, AP, Client, Repeater and WISP operation modes.
2. TP-Link AC750
The TP-Link AC750 is very similar to the TP-Link Nano. The AC750 is a little more expensive; however, it has one significant advantage over the Nano. The TP-Link AC750 supports the faster 802.11AC protocol. This means that this travel router is capable of achieving speeds of 750Mbps. Of course, you’ll need devices that are compatible with the 5 GHz Network band in order to connect to this device.
3. GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 Mini Travel Router
The GL-MT300N-V2 travel router is one of the most affordable on the market. For only $20 you can create a private WiFi network from any public connection. What sets the GLiNet apart is the fact that OpenWRT is pre-installed. This means that users can choose to install over 4000 software packages to tweak functionality. Doing so allows you to exploit various features that manufacturers usually keep hidden from end users.
4. RAVPower FileHub Plus
Like the others on this list, the RAVPower FileHub plus creates a private, secure WiFi network from an existing one. However, the RAVPower FileHub Plus boasts a slew of other useful features. The most useful feature is the ability to stream media and transfer files to flash drives, hard drives and SC cards. In addition, the FileHub Plus sports an internal 6000 mAh battery. Not only does this battery allow it to operate without being plugged into a power source, but it is also capable of functioning as a powerbank for other devices.
Do you use a travel router? Which model do you use? Let us know in the comments!