Review: Cradlepoint PHS300, CTR350 & CTR500 Mobile Routers:
Price: PHS300, $179.99; CTR350, $99.99; CTR500, $199.99
Summary: Almost idiot-proof mobile routers for LAN and mobile broadband connections.
Common Review, Setup: The Cradlepoint routers are made ready to connect right out of the box. No need to log in or connect, like you might have to do with your computer. Just plug in the router and the internet source and it all starts up on its own. The network itself is not WEP or WPA password protected by default, but there is a browser password prompt whose default password is on the router (last 6 digits of MAC address).
Advanced Settings: The setup configuration screen when you first log in seems pretty complicated for a non-techy. But for someone with a little computer experience, you can turn off the browser based password and set up a WAP or WPA password pretty easily. There are advanced settings for firewalls, address filters and content filters as well as usage statistics.
What makes these routers awesome? All three routers are tiny, and accept USB modems as input. So instead of using your USB modem just for your computer, you can share your single connection with any device using WiFi. For the auto-attached, the routers can be powered from the lighter socket in your car, making your car a mobile hotspot. For the truly mobile, the PHS300 can even run a few hours on battery power alone.
- CTR350: No-frills, cheapest and smallest externally powered router that accepts LAN and 3G USB connections.
- PHS300: Minimalist battery powered router that accepts 3G, 4G and WiMax USB connections. Once charged, you can have a truly portable wireless connection for hours before having to plug in.
- CTR500: Fancier externally powered router that accepts LAN, 3G & 4G USB and Express Cards.
Final Verdict: For a no frills travel-friendly router, the CTR350 is definitely a good buy. If you only have an express card modem then the CTR500 is right for your specific needs. But if you want a way to use your modem even when not near a power outlet, the PHS300 is one of a kind–letting you have a mobile hotspot that can run in your pocket. Check them all out at www.cradlepoint.com