Folks who travel a lot find pocket wi fi routers very useful. These nifty appliances not only offer secure connections, but also save a lot of money during travels as you do not have to pay for the so-called FREE wi fi hotspots. Pocket sized wi fi routers can establish relatively secured connections over single or multiple devices. Look up reliable reviews and tech articles to make an informed choice of selecting the smallest travel router you prefer. You can jump over directly to the reviews here.
Technical knowhow about Routers
Single or dual band: Bands are wavelength ranges set by a specific frequency. Wireless transmission is either the common single band (2.4 GHz), or the advanced dual band (2.4 Ghz + 5 GHz).
- Network connectivity speed: The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) use the 802.11 terminology to specify the network connectivity technology. Your lookout should be to ensure that the router at least supports the inclusive 802.11n standard.
- Charging: See if the unit has a system to plug in to an AC connection besides the battery power. Charging the device from a USB port is a good option because then you do not have to interrupt unless it is done.
- Operational modes: In total, there are five operational modes into which you can configure your device. Most routers will also have at least one Ethernet port for easy configuration, in wired and wireless devices.
- Router Mode (connecting the pocket device with a cable modem or DSL)
- WAP mode: The Wireless Access Point mode enables the travel router to share a WIRED broadband connection wirelessly as a client.
- WISP mode: In the Wireless Internet Service Provider Mode your device is configured to act as a client to a wireless internet service and connect other devices wirelessly.
- Mobile Router Mode: A 3G or 4G adaptor is configured with the router, which then performs according to the data plan of the 3G/4G device.
- Bridge Mode: It disables the NAT feature on the modem and allows a router to function as a DHCP server without an IP Address conflict.
- Guest Access: This enables you to share a particular connection with other people while barring their access to other devices in your network.
- WPS support: Wi fi Protected Setup is a preconfigured option to connect securely with a wireless client without providing user ids or passwords. Some routers have a push n connect button, for instant connection.
4 Best Smallest Wifi Routers:
1) ASUS WL 330NUL
The dimensions of this pocket size router are 6.5 x 2 x 1.5 cm, and it weighs a mere 17.5 gm. It is integrated with a USB 2.0 connector along with a stubby cable at one end, and an RJ-45 ethernet port on the other. These features enable you to connect wirelessly or by wire to your smartphone, notebooks, and tablets. It is configured with 802.11 b/g/n compatibility and supports 150Mbps spatial stream on the 2.4GHz frequency band. It offers 128 bit protection for security and is compatible with all latest operating systems such as Mac OS, iOS, and Windows 8.
Asus – you can call this a combo usb adopter because:
There are 4 different modes in which you can use
- Router – If you have an existing wireless or wired internet connection that you can use it as a router. So, you may get one internet connection at hotels or public hotspots, and by using this you can create a wi fi among all your devices. For example, this can be a suitable option for executives who are taking training sessions and have one internet connection in class room.
- Ethernet adopter – If your computer does not have a Ethernet port, use the router as an Ethernet adapter. For example, mac book A do not have Ethernet port but have USB port
- Wireless adopter – Plug as a usb port – If your computer does not have a wireless card, then you can use it as a wi fi adapter.
Again, if you have a 3g or a 4g based usb modem, you can use it.
A good feature about this device is that it can set up 2 access points, a private password protected one and a guest network one. It works well in 15 to 20 feet distance; however, some reviews express frustration over its slow TCP throughput performance and absence of NAT in the USB Ethernet mode. Always take an informed decision by checking out credible independent feedbacks from other users in the customer question and answers section.
2) TL WR 702N Nano Router
This 150 Mbps router from TP Link is a cool option to carry around in your pockets. It supports all the five configuration modes mentioned above. It can be powered by a micro USB port using an external adaptor or by drawing power from the connected device.
One only has to connect a WAN cable to the router port and immediately set up a wi fi hotspot after entering a default password. Security is assured by the advanced WPA PSK/ WPA 2 PSK encryption. The pre-encrypted security cancels the need to put up the password or SSID as they are already entered by default. It is a single band router enabled with 802.11 b/g/n connectivity. Find full specs details from the official website.
The cons noted in this router include the absence of USB port, unclear documentation, and its inability to perform as a router out of the box. It also does not support IPv6. Check out what other users are saying after buying this product from Amazon or other sites. The comments section is a virtual treasure house for genuine reviews!
The TL WR 702N Nano Router is an excellent option to carry with you in travels.
- It is incredibly cost effective! This router is one of the most affordable units in this category, and manufacturers have not compromised on the features. In fact, it is heavily feature rich, supporting all five configuring modes.
- The throughput is very good. The unit has been shown to perform decently in 15 feet range with speed reaching up to 60 Mbps. The theoretical throughput range is 150 Mbps, so you can definitely expect good service even if about half of this ideal value is reached.
- Default mode is Access Point, but you can configure it in any way you find suitable. The Ethernet Port is quite fast and it can serve both as a LAN or WAN port. A micro USB port is provided to set the accompanying USB cable. Configuration info is provided on a sticker attached to the router. You should consider noting down these numbers elsewhere to keep them handy and safe.
- It allows some quite advanced wireless admin features such as executing Ping and Trace Route via the diagnostics interface.
Expand your research by checking out credible independent reviews. Some reviews have been very harsh on this appliance, so you should be careful about deciding to spend on it. Of course, many reviewers also praise it as a good performer. Other reported cons of using this appliance include lack of IPv6 support, absence of a USB port, and it does not work as an out of the box router.
3) Satechi Travel Router
This cool travel router is widely preferred by international travelers for its compatibility with wall power outlets in all its various global standard variations! Connect and charge the router anywhere you go to US, UK, Canada, China, or other countries of Europe.
It has a slider system at back that can be adjusted to make it compatible with the plug sockets, wherever you are! You won’t need any adaptors or dongles for the connection. The 802.11n router also sports a 12.1A + 5Vdc (10.5W) USB port.
The Satechi travel router is considered the smartest product for traveling by most users. The adjustable connection prongs can be set with standard electrical fixtures in more than 150 countries! The baseline is that this router would work without hassles in just about anywhere! However, travelers should note that the charger adapter does not convert the voltage and electrical output current. So, you will need to be carrying a converter to match the standard output voltage at the destination country.
The default AC power rating is 6A max and 100 -240 Vac. Also, as a precautionary measure, the charger adapter is recommended for use with double insulated or unearthed appliances as grounding is absent. The device can be charged from either or both USB port or an AC Power Port. In addition, it offers the configuration of four networking modes the router, the repeater, the access point, and the client mode. It is a very popular router among international travelers and complaints are very rare. The router would not support passwords with special characters, if you want to take this as a con of using the product! Top reviews always point to how great the experience is.
4) Edimax BR 6258n
This cool black gadget is only about 2 inches in length and about the same in width. It is compatible with 802.11 b/g/n networks. The smart looking device sports an Ethernet port for wired connections along with a LAN port. It can be powered by connecting it by a USB port. Setup is simple and it connects well even when wi fi transmission is very feeble. Besides the customary black color, it is also available in red.
You can consider buying this unit because:
You have a fancy for cool gadgets. The sleek black or red design of Edimax is very stylish. It also sports smart features like the multi-language EZMax setup wizard. The manufacturers did not compromise on the performance either. The 802.11n router is heavily feature rich. It’s signal coverage has been found to be better than other products in test conditions.
- Just use the appropriate cable and conveniently switch between the router or wireless adapter mode. It sports both WAN and LAN ports.
- The inbuilt WPS Push n Connect switch makes it super comfortable to set up for functions. Users do not have to configure complex manual settings.
- It includes the NAT/NAPT function, which enables the user to share the internet connection with as many as 253 intranet users at one time! You can easily set up a significantly big wi fi network with this small device. It includes virtual servers and virtual DMZ functions that allows the admin to access the internal servers from the internet.
The WPS Push n Connect is registered as a major con for many because it makes it easy to hack. Also, it cannot work as an Ethernet to Wi Fi adapter. Like always, check out the comments section on Amazon for best reviews
All these small pocket sized wi fi routers are best in their own unique ways. These wifi routers are really helpful for creating a secured connection on your pc or laptop.
If you are a frequent traveler then Asus holds the patent for the world’s smallest wi fi router “ASUS WL 330NUL”. Personally, I would also recommend “Satechi Travel Router” as a suitable choice for those features mentioned above.
I would like to hear from you about your own experiences in using routers during travel and do share your thoughts through comment below.