Jumat, 29 Oktober 2010

Sidekick for the mobile warrior D-Link DIR-457U myPocket 3.75G

MY CAR was in the workshop after an accident, and I had to take the bus to the office. During one of my bus trips, I powered up my MacBook to search for a new car online and turned on my WiFi-only iPad to update my apps.

Sitting opposite me, a young geek looked puzzled. My MacBook didn't have a dongle plugged in and he probably knew MacBooks don't have internal 3G modems. What he didn't know was that I had a D-Link DIR-457U myPocket 3.75G ($299) router in my bag!

This portable 3G router weighs only 103g and measures 11x6.5x1.4cm, slightly bigger than a name card. The all-white design is minimalistic. You get a power button on top, a router/modem switch on one side and a USB port on the other side.

The downside of this design is that the battery and signal indicators aren't very clear as you need to remember what each colour means. When the 3G LED is red, it means poor signal strength; blue means excellent signal strength. You'll know you are running out of battery when the Power LED is blinking in red.

The battery compartment holds a 3G SIM card slot and a microSD card slot. You have to remove the battery before you can insert your 3G SIM card but you don't have to when you're inserting the microSD card.

You can use the DIR-457U as a USB modem or as a wireless router. To use it as a USB modem, switch to modem mode and plug it into your computer. The DIR-457U has modem drivers stored in its memory and you can install the drivers onto your Mac or PC.

Once you are done with the installation, restart and you can connect to the Internet via D-Link Connection Manager. Here, you can set up your Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) via the D-Link router web interface. The web interface is easy to use, and it offers a multitude of security options, such as WEP, WPA or WPA2. In addition, you can set up MAC (Media Access Control) address filters or firewalls and even enable DMZ (Demilitarised Zone).

The device allows up to 16 devices - from your iPads to your PSPs - to connect to the Internet via WiFi, and supports download speeds up to 7.2Mbps.

If you are on the road often, please don't put this pocket router in your bag for too long - it gets really hot. And though D-Link claims the battery can last for around four hours, it becomes flat after less than three hours of usage with only two devices connected to it. But you can always plug it to your laptop to charge.

Overall, the D-Link DIR-457U is a compact and light wireless router that is easy to set up and use. It will be an invaluable companion to the mobile warrior who has plenty of WiFi gadgets in his bag. TREVOR TAN

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