You’ve probably been there before – your hotel has Wi-Fi access, but only in the lounge. The signal reaches your room but it’s a bit weak. Or maybe the rooms have internet access but only through an Ethernet port in the wall. That’s great but you have your laptop, your tablet and your smartphone with you, and you’d like to have the comfort of wireless internet access in your own hotel room. Well, have you thought about getting a portable wireless device?
These are small devices that tend to have wireless repeater and access point modes and can plug in directly to a wall socket. You can then set them up to either repeat an existing signal or bring along an Ethernet cable, connect to the wall socket and set it up as your own wireless access point.
Typically, the strength of the router will vary with size and price. Two robust examples of portable wireless devices are the Diamond Multimedia WR300N and the Linksys RE1000 Wireless-N Range Extender (click to read their reviews here at Wireless Repeater HQ). There are other models that focus on compactness: the ASUS WL-330N is a great such example. This device has the extra advantage of being powered via USB and is about the size of a credit card (but thicker).
Overall the right device for you will depend on what you intend to use it for. There are some like the CradlePoint CTR35 which can share 4G/3G mobile connections in addition to their access point and wireless repeater capabilities. Just make sure the device you get has all the features you think you might need and the antenna strength to pick up and extend less powerful Wi-Fi signals.