This plug-and-play hot spot doubles as a repeater, so it can boost the signal from existing Wi-Fi routers.
Quick reminder: All prices, shipping charges, etc. are accurate at the time I write about them. They may (and often do) change suddenly and without notice. Frustrating, but true. Also, if a friend recommends a product and you get burned by the company, do you blame the friend? Remember, it's your responsibility to do your homework before buying from any seller; ResellerRatings is a great place to start.
Back in October I wrote about an inexpensive travel router that, much to everyone's chagrin, sold out very quickly. Here's hoping this one will last a little longer.
While supplies last, Daily Steals has the Northwest Instant Wireless Router and Repeater for $21 shipped. It sells elsewhere for closer to $40.
If you travel a lot, you've probably encountered hotels that have weak or non-existent Wi-Fi, or that charge extra for it while offering Ethernet-based connectivity for free.
A good travel router can save the day, turning that laptop-only Ethernet connection into a Wi-Fi hot spot for all.
I'm not intimately familiar with the Northwest product (first I've heard of it, actually), but it appears to have all the desirable specs: 2.4GHz 802.11n, support for WPA2-PSK security, and a built-in repeater that can boost the signal from existing Wi-Fi routers.
I haven't found any reviews of the router (though I did learn that the necessary password is printed on the router itself), nor can I find any Web home for CrystalView, which appears to be the maker of this brand/product. There may be contact information on the box or in the manual, but if you're not into rolling the dice, you might be better off spending more on a name-brand travel router.
Me, I love a good dice-roll, and because I have a trip coming up, I'm in for one of these. Anyone else?
Bonus deal: Of course, you could just pack a mobile hot spot. Like this one: For a limited time, Amazon has the Virgin Mobile Novatel MiFi 2200 mobile hot spot for $29.99 shipped. With it you can connect up to five devices to Virgin's Sprint-powered 3G network, with no-contract data plans starting at just $10. Performance can be iffy, though, so make sure to check the coverage map before buying.
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