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How to set up a portable 'Wi-Fi zone'

I would like to set up a Wi-Fi 'zone' that allows multiple devices to access the internet. More importantly, I would like a portable solution, which lets me use it in different places like my house, office, hotel room, etc. Please suggest options.

-- Tarun Sharma, Mayank Goel, Hemant

A portable Wi-Fi access
point or router meet the requirements you have mentioned. Consider...

If you want to use your mobile service provider's data plan, then you should opt for a 3G USB dongle/data card. It comes with a sim slot and can be connected to a plug point (via an adapter), or even a PC or laptop. Here, you can look at the D-Link DWR-710 Le Petit HSPA+ (Rs 1,999) or the Huawei E8231 (Rs 1,980).

The former allows you to share your broadband connection with eight devices wirelessly, while the latter lets you connect up to ten Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets. The D-Link also has provision for a microSD card (up to 32GB), allowing you to share its contents wirelessly with devices connected to the network.

In case you already own a 3G USB dongle that's locked to a service provider (Reliance, Tata Photon etc), you need to get a portable Wi-Fi router that comes with a USB port and support for your mobile broadband service. For such a set up, go with the TP-Link TLMR3020 (Rs 1,290). This little router also has an Ethernet (RJ45) port for a wired connection. It does not include a memory card slot and needs to be powered via its microUSB port.

If you need to stay connected while on the road, then you can choose between the D-Link DWR 730 HSPA+ (Rs 3,800) and the Huawei E5730s-2 3G (Rs 5,400). Both have a sim card slot, built-in Li-ion battery and LED connection status indicators. The D-Link model houses a 2,000mAh battery and a microSD slot for data storage. The Huawei does not include the latter function, but has a larger 5,200mAh battery and an Ethernet port for a wired connections.

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