UPDATED: SEE THE END OF THE POST!
I bought a GL.iNet mini travel router, model GL-MT300N from Amazon for $19.99 and received it today. The box that it came in is small, about 4 inches square, and I was expecting most the box to be filled with the router. I was wrong. The device itself is less than two inches square and less than an inch tall. Pretty small for a device that does so much.
I bought this because I have an AT&T Mobley in our RV for wireless internet access, but the Mobley only allows five devices to be connected at a time and its range does not reach the back of the RV well. We get full wifi signal when next to it and so far in our travels, we have been fortunate to get 4G LTE coverage. Since we are in a place where T-Mobile coverage is weak at best, having the Mobley get a signal and use our iPhones over wifi was great.
Back to the router. The biggest downfall I’ve seen so far, and this is minor, is that it is a bright, neon yellow. There are other models in black, but this one was cheaper and I didn’t feel the need to pay more for abilities I don’t need.
But what does the router do? Basically, it acts as a wifi router, but it is able to hook up with a different wifi network, make its own network, and broadcast that. Previously we had been broadcasting an ATT-MOBLEY-XXXX network. It is possible to change the network name and password, but I never felt the need to do that since the password is a random string of characters and pretty hard to break. Instead, I use the GL.iNet router to connect to the Mobley and customize, add a VPN, and broadcast a different network name that I feel more comfortable with. Its also easier to remember which one it is, especially when we are at a campground with only three RVs and there is another ATT Mobley network in range.
I don’t have an unpacking video, but I opened the box, there were two small booklets with instructions, a USB cord, and the router itself. I took everything out, plugged the router into my laptop, and pressed the Reset button to turn it on. It takes about a minute to cold start, but that’s acceptable. There are three LEDs on it, green for On, red for traffic, and a third on in the middle that I’m not sure what it does. It has two ethernet ports (WAN and LAN) and a mini-USB port for power on the back. Next to that is one USB port for sharing video or a hard drive, the reset button, and a switch that does nothing by default. There are two small openings to allow heat to escape which also glow when its dark out from the unit’s LEDs. The fourth side has nothing.
On the top and four sides, there are no marks identifying what the device is or even what brand it is. On the bottom is a sticker with all the product information, including the SSID and password, and a barcode to scan for manufacturing I assume. That’s it.
In the instructions, it says what the name is of the network is along with the password and the IP address to connect to in order to set it up. I typed in the IP and was brought to the configuration page. There are things in there that I don’t understand. While I was researching this device, I found a lot of information on how to configure it to do different things beyond just rerouting traffic, so I know it does more than I’m using it for.
I typed in the Mobley network name and password, and it connected right away. Then I was able to use the internet through the router with no problems. I changed the network name, also easy, and added a password. There is an option to add a VPN, but I haven’t explored that yet. My speeds running through the router have been the same as those going straight through the Mobley, roughing 7Mbps download and almost 13Mbps upload. Not too bad for being in the middle nowhere with a cellular connection.
I really like this device. It was simple, cheap, and works exactly as it is supposed to. It is power by a USB cord, so I can plug it into a AC to USB adapter that is so common.
Tomorrow I’m going to work on setting up the media cabinet, so I will be moving the router to be where all the electronics are stored. I can’t find a shut down option in the settings page, so I assume I can just unplug it and it will be fine.
In my final setup, the Mobley will be outside the media cabinet. That way I can plug it into AC power if we are stationary with electric hookups, or I can plug it into a DC port if we are driving. That way we still have wifi when we are moving, just in case we are somewhere that doesn’t have T-Mobile coverage. In the media cabinet, I will have the GL.iNet router plugged into a USB hub, which gets power from an AC outlet. Then there will be an ethernet cable to a ethernet router. Every device I have that has ethernet will be plugged into that, while the ones that don’t will be connected to wifi. I’m going to put in a power switch so I can shut it all off without opening it, just in case we are somewhere using an inverter and off grid.
That’s all. So far, this device gets my thumbs up. If you are traveling somewhere and need a wifi network of your own, I highly recommend it.
This thing sucks. Do not buy it. Absolute crap. After three months of near constant use, it totally took a dive. It rarely connects to the network anymore, and when it does, it only does so for about thirty minutes then loses the connection. Don’t waste your money on this, go for something better like a Netgear Nighthawk. Much more expensive, but also much better quality.