The Kyocera KR1 mobile router (powered by D-Link), aside from being a mouthful to say, is a 3G cellular router, much like theand the routers that we recently reviewed. A cellular router works just like a Wi-Fi router: it provides connectivity to wired and wireless clients, but the difference is that instead of using DSL or cable broadband as a backhaul, it uses the 3G cellular data network. Like the 3G Phoebus, the KR1 provides the latest in wireless security protocols and support for both 802.11b and 802.11g clients. Unfortunately, the KR1 works only with EV-DO networks, which could determine whether or not this product is for you. At $299, the KR1 is cheaper than both of its competitors, making it a good choice if you are in a geographic area covered by the EV-DO network.
Cellular routers are still mainly used by mobile work teams, emergency response units, and corporate commute vehicles that need to provide a connection to the Internet while on the move. But with prices dropping, these devices are likely to become more popular among consumers who simply want to set up hot spots without being tied to a single location. On top of what you will pay for the router itself, keep in mind that you'll also need a monthly service plan with a cellular provider, such as Sprint or Verizon--this will run you anywhere from $40 to $80 per month. Like the Junxion Box and the 3G Phoebus, the KR1 takes EV-DO PC Cards (specifically, the, the Sierra APC850, and the ). But the KR1 goes one step further--it's also compatible with a few 1xEV-DO USB phones: the Kyocera KX18, the , and the Audiovox CDM-8940.
Of the three 3G cellular routers we've seen, the KR1 looks the most like a standard router. The slate-gray, plastic case is about the size of medium paperback book and feels solidly constructed. The flat body lends itself to stacking and packing, which is a boon for gear-laden mobile teams that need to be efficient with space. The front panel features a standard row of status lights that shows power and network activity (WAN, WLAN, and LAN). The rear of the unit houses the detachable antenna, the power port, the phone-in USB port, a 10/100 switch with four Ethernet ports for hardwired connections, and the PC Card slot. (There's also a second, unlabeled USB port that the included installation manual makes sure to warn users against using. Apparently, it's for the manufacturer to monitor internal diagnostics.)