NetComm N3G005W 3G Wi-Fi Router review:

NetComm N3G005W 3G Wi-Fi Router

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Typical Price: $199.10
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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Supports all 3G wireless providers. Small, simple casing. Wizard-based set-up. WAN port for other broadband connections.

The Bad Only a single Ethernet port. Wizard is a bit temperamental. 802.11g single antenna wireless only.

The Bottom Line Renters or those who want to mix and match broadband styles with a dab of 3G will do well with NetComm's N3G005W router, as long as you don't need lots of wired ports.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

Like most router manufacturers, NetComm uses a standard body for its routers across most lines, so it should come as no shock that externally, you'd have a hard time picking this from the PCMCIA-based N3G001W unit. It's a small, light unit (129.1x124.3x32mm, 500g) in white and silver plastic with basic indicator lights on the front and four basic ports on the rear — one each for LAN and WAN access (so you could also use it with an external ADSL modem), as well as power and USB. USB in this case is used as the 3G modem connection point. A single standard antenna socket and reset button completes the rear of the unit.

Within the box, NetComm also bundles a standard antenna, installation CD, quick-start guide, length of Ethernet cable and a cradle to sit the router in sideways. Despite our best efforts, we could never get the router to sit comfortably within the cradle, as it always felt loose and tended to bump out very easily.

If you were just assessing the N3G005W on its basic Wi-Fi specifications, you'd come away very unimpressed; it's a basic 802.11g router with a very standard set of application support features, from VPN to WPA2 security, based around a web configuration interface. In other words, exactly the same thing that everyone's been doing in the wireless space for years now.

Where the N3G005W marks itself out is by integrating 3G wireless capability, specifically via connecting a USB-based 3G modem to the rear of the unit. All of the current wireless providers are supported, as long as (essentially) you know your username and password. The N3G005W defaults to thinking that 3G is the way you'll supply internet access, although a WAN port is on-board for those who may wish to swap between 3G and other forms of connectivity.

As mentioned, the size of the unit means that it's really only practical to have a single wired Ethernet port, which might be limiting depending on how you plan to use the N3G005W.

Set-up with a 3G USB modem is relatively simple. To NetComm's credit, the wizard-based interface includes all the standard APN details for each of the major wireless providers, so all you should need is your username and password.

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