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When we first saw the 3-in-1 Mobile Travel Router it had us wondering why a manufacturer that has traditionally focussed exclusively on power protection should decide to start dabbling in wireless consumer products. The answer is actually quite simple as this palm-sized device is designed to complement APC’s TravelPower Case. In its entirety this aims to deliver a complete power solution for mobile workers allowing them to run their notebook, PDA and mobile phone from a single power source so negating the need to lug a bag full of transformers around with them. APC prefers to describe this as a data protection solution so the router rounds it all off nicely by providing a simple wired and wireless network access device but with a range of security measures to boot.
The router will function happily without APC’s TravelPower Case as it can be powered from the bundled external supply or via a USB port using the supplied proprietary cable. It has a single 10/100BaseTX Ethernet port but the four-position switch on its side allows it to operate in a range of modes making it even more versatile. With the switch in position 1, the router functions purely as an access point (AP) where it provides wireless access to users within an existing home or business network that already has services such as DHCP, Internet access and security implemented. Position 2 changes it into Router/AP mode which activates its own DHCP server allowing it to provide secure access to networks in remote locations such as hotels that may not have any built-in security.
Switch position 4, or client mode, is primarily for devices that don’t have a wireless connection. The router is connected directly to a device’s Ethernet port where it turns it into a wireless interface. The router has its own web browser management interface but in modes one and four it functions as a transparent gateway which has no IP address of its own. Flicking the switch to position 3 puts the router into a configuration mode which provides DHCP services on the WLAN interface plus default a LAN IP address and WLAN SSID.
In mode 3 the router can be accessed either with it connected directly to a PC or notebook’s Ethernet port or via a wireless connection. Just load a web browser, type in the supplied URL and the router’s home page opens with a well designed interface offering easy access to each function. The System page allows you to modify those settings that affect all operational modes. You can set the MAC addresses for the wired and wireless ports of the management PC, change the administrator password and switch off authorisation.
Different SSIDs are used for AP and AP/Router modes and both support SSID masking. Wireless security extends to 64/128-bit WEP and WPA-PSK and you can use a MAC address list to restrict access to trusted systems.