Netgear WGR101 travel router
Most hotel rooms have broadband nowadays, but unfortunately, many still don't have Wi-Fi. The Netgear WGR101 travel router lets you turn a hotel broadband connection into a wireless Internet connection for your laptop. Although the WGR101 includes a couple of nice touches you won't find in other travel routers, it's neither as elegantly designed nor as full featured as Apple's more expensive . If you're a penny-pincher, you should also consider , which is slower than the Netgear WGR101 but also less expensive.
The Netgear WGR101 is about the size of a PDA. It comes with a black-vinyl carrying case that's roughly twice the size of the travel router itself and big enough to carry the WGR101, the unit's power adapter, and a short Ethernet cable. In contrast, the AirPort Express has its power adapter built into the unit, making it a sleeker travel companion.
Basic setup for the WGR101 is a breeze. Power it up, snap in the Ethernet cable connected to your modem or router, and catch a radio wave. A printed quick-installation guide walks you through the process, in case you prefer a visual guide.
A switch on the side of the WGR101 allows you to toggle the device between single and multiuser modes. This helps you prevent others from tapping into your wireless connection but gives you the ability to allow others to access the connection, which can come in handy if you want to share a file or an Internet connection with a business associate in a nearby room. The switch also has a third setting that puts the router into a mode that lets you configure security and network settings for the WGR101, and there's a fourth setting that is unassigned. That's one setting too many, and the fact that the settings are marked only with nondescript numbers (1 to 4), makes the switch on the WGR101 unnecessarily confusing. When you choose the unassigned setting, the router behaves as if it is in multiuser mode.
The Netgear WGR101's security measures, we're sorry to report, are wanting. The WGR101 lacks support for the current wireless security standard, WPA. (Netgear claims that a firmware upgrade will add WPA support to the WGR101 in the future.) You can use WEP to protect your wireless connection. The browser-based configuration utility lets you restrict access based on MAC address at least, which lets only certain computers connect.