3G Router Review: Linksys WRT54G3GV2-ST Mobile BroadBand Router for Sprint EVDO
|Friday, 29 August 2008|
The Linksys WRT54G3GV2-ST is no longer available. Click here to view and compare currently available mobile broadband routers.
3G Router Review: Linksys WRT54G3GV2-ST For Sprint EVDO Network
Who Needs a "Mobile Broadband Router"?
Even customers with just one computer in a household or office may find the 3GV2 useful if they are currently forced to locate their computer where their EVDO signal is best, rather than where they want to actually use their computer. By using the router where EVDO signal is best, their computer can be located where they want it, or they can use WiFi connection to router and wander aimlessly without affecting EVDO performance.
The 3GV2 is also a great solution for other electronics that can use WiFi or ethernet connectivity to access the internet but cannot directly use an EVDO card or USB modem. Gaming consoles like the Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstations and Microsoft Xbox have no way to directly connect to the internet using EVDO, but customers who utilize a 3G router like the 3GV2 can play online games like World of Warcraft (WoW), and Super Smash Brothers Brawl... among others.
Even an iPod Touch, Archos 605, Nintendo DS or Wii, Sony PS3 or Playstation Portable (PSP), Sony MYLO, Nokia Internet Tablets like N770/N8100/N810, TiVo DVR, or security webcams can get online using the 3GV2 and a Sprint EVDO USB modem like the popular Compass 597 or Ovation U727.
More of the Same
Competitors for the 3G router audience like the Cradlepoint MBR1000 and Kyocera KR2 already make use of WiFi "N" radios to improve WiFi range and throughput, so it is disappointing to see that Linksys is still marketing a 3G router with just the weaker WiFi G.
Also disappointing is that the built-in four-port ethernet switch still only uses 10/100 instead of gigabit. With the prevalence of large multimedia files, 10/100 LAN ports are a serious bottleneck, especially for the home/office user who wants to justify the 3GV2 as their only router and use it with Cable/DSL. Since mobile broadband only provides 1 to 2 mb/s at best, it is not a major drawback, however, if you transfer huge files between local computers, the router can become a bottleneck.
Of course, Linksys will justify their decision to use 10/100 by saying EVDO mobile broadband only provides 1 to 2 mb/s at best, so 10/100 mb/s LAN speed is more than adequate. Their argument is valid only from the perspecitive of sending and receiving files over the interent, but those ports are for the LOCAL network and should not be a bottleneck when transfering files between locally attached computers, most of which today have gigabit ethernet as standard options.
New and Improved. (but still hard to pronounce.)
New hardware features include a new "kickstand" built onto the bottom of the router, and three USB ports -- two for EVDO devices, and one extra USB port that we're told has no functionality right now, but is present for "future features". Here's our "Video UnBoxing" of the 3GV2 followed by some pictures.
The 3GV2 does not have an actual ExpressCard slot, but the Sprint EX720 and 597E both work when used with the Novatel XCA-3 pcmcia-to-expresscard adapter sold by 3gstore. (FYI, for those considering new Sprint EVDO service, the USB modems like Compass 597 and U727 work just as fast as Expresscards and do not require any adapters to use with 3GV2)
Setup and Administration.
The wizard steps even the most novice of router users through each step necessary to setup the 3GV2 and create a network.
The wizard assists the user with Cable/DSL and/or Mobile/EVDO connection setup as well as deciding on levels of wireless encryption and setting secure access priveleges and passwords. Sadly, the "wizard" function is not available via the web admin interface, which means that Mac and Linux users will have a harder time getting started, especially if they want to immediately use home/office cable/dsl with EVDO as backup connectivity.
Once the router is setup and operational, administration of router settings is done using a standard/modern web browser like FireFox 3 or Safari. (and yeah. MSIE too.) Those who have used any Linksys router in the past, should feel right at home with the 3GV2 because aside from the parts of admin specific to "Mobile BroadBand", the admin options are fairly normal for a router.
In the areas of admin related to EVDO, the 3GV2 has evolved and now shows more EVDO information than any router we've previously tested. In addition to displaying actual "RSSI" signal strength, the 3GV2 displays what kind of cellular network the EVDO device is connected to (1xRTT/EVDO/RevA), device firmware, PRL version, ESN, phone number and more. The router admin still can't do things like update PRL info or "activate" an EVDO device, but having the information it does show can really be helpful when the time comes for tech support. Because the router can't update or activate the EVDO device, its important to understand that users should operate their card or USB modem attached to an actual computer and use the Sprint connection manager software from time to time to ensure they have the latest device firmware and cell tower information. Keeping an EVDO device updated is one of the best ways to ensure connection reliability and performance. The screenshot below shows all the info available about the EVDO device and network it is attached to.
Specifications and Features of the Linksys WRT54G3GV2-ST
Officially Supported EVDO Data Devices
There are a total of three USB ports on the LinkSys. Most USB devices require only one USB port, but some older Novatel USB modems could use the power from two USB ports with a USB Y cable when in weaker signal areas. The 3rd slot will be used in the future to support other USB port connected devices like Network Storage and printers.
Its also worth noting that, unlike the primary competition for the 3G router market, Linksys and Sprint have chosen NOT to support any Sprint cell phones, PDA's or SmartPhones... or any other cell carrier's phones for that matter. With the recent launch of highly popular EVDO Rev-A phones like the HTC Mogul and Samsung Instinct, Sprint is going to miss out on a lot of 3G router sales with their decision.
Our testing with the 3GV2 has concluded that failover truly works and it will "fail back" to the higher priority pipe when it becomes available again. Its worth noting though, the feature is known as "modem backup" and not mentioned anywhere as "failover".
The 3GV2 also streamlined its administration for "QoS" (Qualifty of Service) and now makes it easier to prioritize connections for online gaming, voice over ip, and/or VPN - among others.
Speed Tests -- What You Get Is What You Get
What We Like About the 3GV2
What We Do NOT Like About the 3GV2
What The 3GV2 Really Needs
Wishfully Thinking Out Loud -- (Features We Haven't Found On Any 3G Router)
Why buy from 3gstore?
When it comes time to get EVDO service and specialized equipment like 3G/cellular routers and antennas or amps, you want to make sure the company you do business with can provide quality pre-sales expertise, and more importantly -- provides superior customer and technical support from EVDO Experts.
For more, check out our blogpost on "Why Buy From 3Gstore"
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 December 2009 )|
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