Can one tiny product conquer my frustrations - and the goats?
What's the strangest place you've ever tried to connect to Wi-Fi? For me, it was in a tree house, in the pouring rain, in the middle of a no-cell service zone of Hawaii's Big Island, with lava raging destruction just a few kilometers away. We were promised by the property's owners that we would be able to pick up Wi-Fi from their nearby farmhouse -but given the circumstances I think just about anyone would share my dubious skepticism! Happily I had a little trick up my sleeves for just such an occasion.
When you order Wi-Fi but get goats instead
Techno-phobia and blogging do not go hand in hand and I do myself no favors by letting myself get irritated when things don't go my way. I've been fortunate that Ryan is able to travel with me on most trips, simultaneously both fixing my problems and soothing my ruffled feathers. But that's not a good long term strategy, nor is it helpful if a problem might be beyond his capacity. Like when our Nova Scotia cottage rental came not with the promised Wi-Fi but instead with a herd of goats!
Conquering the goats and the tree house
While the next door neighbours kindly offered to let me walk down the road and sit by their driveway to connect to the internet (um, thanks but no thanks), I knew I had to get my act together more when it came to finding a better Wi-Fi solution. So when I heard of NETGEAR's travel router, I knew I had to give it a try.
Without getting techno terms involved, a travel router like the kind by NETGEAR (I use a Trek N300) is like squishing a regular router like you have in your home together with a powerful antenna and fits it into a small, travel sized box. It both extends existing signals and boosts hot spot public signals. Simply put, NETGEAR's antenna-like powers pick up on signals fainter than those your phone or tablet can detect and make those connections stronger.
In short, I wouldn't have needed to walk over to the neighbour's in goat-ville - NETGEAR would have picked up on that signal for me! And in the tree house? Worked like a charm! In spotty public Wi-Fi hot spots like cafes? You'll have the best connection in the house.
Start saving money - yes, saving!
The amplified, extended signals alone are enough for me to love NETGEAR but there's a second feature that might just start saving you money. If you've ever been to a destination where your resort fee (cough cough scam cough cough) offers just one measly Wi-FI code for just one device, you'll know exactly how annoying it is to be charged up to $15 for additional device codes. With NETGEAR you will never deal with this again - connect to the internet with it once and then connect all your other devices to NETGEAR. Since NETGEAR costs less than $50, it can pay for itself and even start saving money on your next trip to Las Vegas.
Is it built for travel?
NETGEAR has some other key advantages, such as the ability to turn wired connections into wireless ones. It also has a built in firewall, and you can charge things through it via USB - all things that help me out on the road. And best of all, it's extremely travel friendly. I love that you can plug it directly into your computer - so many wireless routers are designed just to plug into the wall (ideally near the regular router). But what use is that in hotel room or a coffee shop, where you're likely to forget it? Even if there are no outlets conveniently nearby, or of the correct voltage around the world, you're still covered.
There is one thing I'd change about the NETGEAR travel router - but this might be just me. While it is quite small and very portable, I would LOVE for it to be even smaller. An even tinier version would be great for carry-on only packers like me as well as for 'coffice' workers to toss into purses and backpacks. At less than $50 the price point is extremely reasonable and I don't think I'd be alone in my willingness to pay more for something even smaller. (Note: It's finally happened! ME, wanting to pay MORE for something!).
A final piece of advice
A NETGEAR travel router is a tool, not a magicians' wand. It can't create Wi-FI out of thin air or hack you into password protected networks. As we found out staying at an inn in rural Ontario - sometimes there just really is NO internet!
I've been making a lot of changes this year to make my use of technology safer, faster, and more effective. Using NETGEAR is just one part of that process and its travel router now has a permanent place in my tech-travel bag. I'm looking forward to it making my life, work, and travel MUCH less frustrating!
Tell me about your craziest attempt to connect to internet - where were you and did it work?
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Disclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.