A couple of weeks ago I wandered over to Netgear's office (which happens to be five minutes away from mine) for a bit of a chat. While I was there we discussed the current product range, but I also said that it was key for any technology company to be innovating, rather than just producing products that the competition could bring to market cheaper. One thing that Netgear was adamant about was the fact that it was a networking company and it wasn't going to diversify into other markets that didn't fit with its core focus. This, you might think, makes being innovative quite tough, but that's clearly not holding the Netgear R&D guys back.
If you're a regular reader of TrustedReviews, you'll be well aware that we're big fans of HSDPA. Being able to get online whenever and wherever you are is a huge bonus for all types of people, including tech journalists like us. In fact I'm currently sitting on a train writing this review on my HSDPA equipped Samsung Q40 laptop - I'm a firm believer in practising what you preach. But with HSDPA speeds seriously rivalling fixed line broadband connections, there's no need for it to be limited to mobile users like myself, and Netgear definitely agrees.
While I as at the Netgear office, the guys showed me a new product that's yet to come to market. Now, I'm not usually in the habit of reviewing kit that isn't available to buy, but I couldn't help but make an exception in this case. The device in question is the MBM621 HSDPA Ethernet modem, and it is, quite simply, awesome.
No doubt many of you are sitting there saying that there are already loads of HSDPA modems, most notably the USB ones that we cover regularly on TrustedReviews, and you'd be right, but the MBM621 is very different. You see this is a device that simply acts like a broadband modem with an Ethernet port that can be connected directly to a computer or even a router.
At this point some of you are probably saying that there are many routers out there that allow you to insert a 3G or HSDPA card into a slot and share the Internet connection over your network, and again you'd be right. However, the problem with these devices is that if you ever change your data card, there's no guarantee that your router will recognise it. And if you're switching from a PC Card to an ExpressCard unit, it definitely won't work, likewise if you decide to move to a USB device.
Netgear has circumvented all these issues by designing its HSDPA modem to simply accept a SIM card. This way you don't have to worry about different format data devices, because the only thing you have to insert in the device is your data SIM. This is doubly useful for those of us who have notebooks with integrated HSDPA modules and have no external device at all.