EVDOinfo Tip Of The Week #48: Connecting a Pepwave Surf Mini to a Cradlepoint CTR350 or CTR500

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Thursday, 15 April 2010

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Connecting a Pepwave Surf Mini to a Cradlepoint CTR350 or CTR500 for WiFi as WAN (WaW)

The Pepwave Surf Mini is a powerful WiFi Bridge with a number of uses, and it has become a very popular add-on for Cradlepoint router uses who want to use their Cradlepoint router to receive WiFi in addition to broadcasting it. By adding the Surf Mini to your Cradlepoint setup, you can pick up and share any WiFi source you have the rights to connect to - campground WiFi, Starbucks, McDonalds... This is a huge boon for travelers who rely on 3G data contracts with the 5GB allowance, as this solution allows you to easily switch to free WiFi where available and save your 3G allowance for when you really need it!

Here's how it works: The Surf Mini "picks up" the WiFi from the campground/store/etc and then "feeds" it to your Cradlepoint router via ethernet; your Cradlepoint then rebroadcasts it to all your devices! To set it up, you simply connect to the Surf Mini's web admin from one of your computers, select the network you want to connect to and then enter in the settings for the WiFi network you're connecting to. Then connect the Surf Mini to the Cradlepoint via ethernet and all of your devices that are connected to the Cradlepoint router via WiFi or ethernet will be back online within minutes - using the campground's (or whoever's) WiFi through your Cradlepoint!

The Surf Mini ships with a high-gain 5dBi omni antenna for great WiFi reception - it can "see" WiFi from much further away than the standard WiFi receivers built in to laptops. For more difficult conditions, we also carry a directional 15dBi very-high-gain antenna that can be added to the Surf Mini to allow you to connect to WiFi networks even further away.

In order to connect a Pepwave Surf Mini to a Cradlepoint router, you will need to connect it to the WAN port on the router. Many of the Cradlepoint routers have a dedicated WAN ethernet port, but the CTR350 & CTR500 routers only have one ethernet port that can be set to either WAN or LAN mode, and by default they are set to LAN mode. To use the Pepwave Surf Mini to receive WiFi and feed it to your CTR350 or CTR500 router, you'll first need to change your ethernet port's mode.

Ethernet modes defined:

WAN Mode - Allows you to connect an ethernet device to provide internet access. You can connect devices such as the Pepwave Surf Mini, Cable/DSL modem, or another router to provide an internet connection to the router. Many people often think of a WAN port as an "incoming connection" to the router.

LAN Mode - Allows you to connect an ethernet capable device such as a desktop computer to access the internet or network services on a router. Many people often think of a LAN port as an "outgoing connection" to your computer.

To change the ethernet mode from LAN to WAN to allow your Pepwave Surf Mini to connect to your CTR350 or CTR500, you will need to perform the following steps:

1. Connect your computer to your Cradlepoint router via WiFi

2. Login to your Cradlepoint's administration page at:

3. Click on the Basic tab at the top of the page

4. From the Basic menu on the left side of the page, select WAN

5. On this page, under the Ethernet Port Mode section, change the Mode to WAN. Also verify that the WAN Mode is set to DHCP as shown in the image below:

6. Once these settings have been changed, click on Save Settings at the top of the page, and choose Reboot Now for these settings to take affect.

You will now be able to connect your Pepwave Surf Mini to the ethernet port on your CTR350 or CTR500 to provide internet connectivity from local WiFi networks! Of course, remember that if you ever need to connect a device via ethernet to your Cradlepoint to access the internet, you will need to change the ethernet mode back to LAN.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 April 2010 )
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