Netgear goes mobile mad
8th February 2010.
Netgear has announced 2 new broadband routers, with a difference. The new feature in the MRBN300 and the DGN2200M is that they can connect not only over a cable or phoneline link, but also over 3G/4G/WiMAX links as well.
Now they may be aimed at foreign markets more than the UK, as I suspect this feature will appeal to only a very, very few of you. Specifically, um...no-one. Okay, that's not fair, there must be someone out there Netgear are targetting. Give me a minute on that one though.
First up is the 3G/4G Mobile Broadband Wireless-N Router (MBRN3000) which brings us 802.11n wifi goodness combined with connectivity to a high speed mobile (phone) network via a 3G/4G/WiMAX modem. Although it doesn't. What it actually brings you is the capability to plug an external USB 3G/4G modem into a docking cradle that comes attached to the router. Most people would be expecting to just pop their SIM card into the router and hey presto, but the Netgear approach does make sense - forcing the user to plug
in their own USB modem means the router will work with all the 3G/4G networks around the world, plus any potential new technologies that appear. But do note this is a USB2 not USB3 socket.
Note the USB cradle is included, but not the modem.
The Netgear MRBN3000 will be available in the US from March 2010 and has a recommended price of $149 (USD). Expect it here fairly quickly after and costing you about £120. According to Netgear this router is
"ideal for mobile professionals" and will "avoid expensive charges or searching for wifi hotspots." Well, maybe. Carrying an extra box and powerpack is hardly top of a mobile professional's list though. I guess if you have a meeting room with no phone connection or wifi signals this could make sense. See, I'm trying Netgear, I'm really trying. I can't help but think if this were built into a mini-projector though it would be a lot more useful to people that spend their time on the road.
The second router is the NETGEAR Wireless-N 300 Router with DSL Modem - Mobile Broadband Edition (DGN2200M). This also comes with wireless n wifi, and support for the cellular connection, but just for completeness also includes a built-in ADSL2+ modem. Bringing you the ability to unplug your high speed ADSL connection to the internet and replace it with a slower, less reliable 3G/4G connection, whenever you want. Netgear seem to recognise this may not be very often, because the USB2 modem socket also has ReadyShare technology, meaning you can plug in a single external USB storage device for mini-NAS functionality.
Netgear are pitching this at small businesses who need an always on internet connection which can't possibly drop for even a moment, as this router can seamlessly hand-over to the 3G/4G/WiMAX modem option if the ADSL link fails for any reason. The Netgear DGN2200M is available in the US in April and has a recommended price of $179 (USD).
Both routers are operator independant, are backed by Netgear's 1 year guarantee, and have all the usual security and simple set-up features you'd expect, plus a guest network feature. Plus an optional car power charger and battery pack are available.