9 Comments

Summary:

After skipping the first year of MiFi devices, I’m getting itchy to share my 3G connection with multiple devices. I could opt for a new MiFi or Overdrive of course, but this $99 device works with various 3G and 4G USB modems.

WiReach-thumb

After more than two years of using the same 3G USB stick, my two-year contract with Verizon Wireless is now complete. I’m now on month-to-month terms, and while I keep thinking of changing to a new connectivity device, I haven’t made up my mind on what to do just yet. Do I get a MiFi with Verizon? Should I consider a Sprint Overdrive and test the local WiMAX waters in Philadelphia? Or do I just stay happy with what I have? There’s a chance I may do just that — keep my current plan terms and USB adapter — but add a $99 mobile device to create my own 3G hotspot.

Connect One offers the Wi-Reach Classic and SlashGear got a peek at it during the Mobile World Congress show. Like some competing devices from Cradlepoint and others, the 3-ounce Wi-Reach takes an existing 3G USB stick and creates a Wi-Fi bubble to share the 3G connection with up to 10 devices. The built-in battery is rated for up to five hours of continuous use and recharges over a powered USB cable. SlashGear says the Wi-Reach is software upgradeable so it can support WiMAX and LTE networks once 4G coverage becomes more widespread.

The downside for me is that my current modem isn’t on the supported product list, which is comprised mainly of ZTE and Huawei devices. I may contact the Connect One support team to see if any Novatel Wireless devices are or might be supported with a software update. If not, it’s back to the drawing board to see what to do for mobile broadband and connection sharing. Of course, that 21 Mbps webConnect Rocket should be available next month and I do live nearby the expected network upgrade.

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  1. Will this work with the ATT Quicksilver USB modem?

  2. It´s a perfect device for a better use of our usb modems. But i am in a similar case like you Kevin, i have a usb modem Novatel Option 950 and i have the same question, wifireach is compatible with this modem ?
    P.D.: sorry for my poor level of english i´m from Spain

  3. For those who couldn’t see or find the USB modem compatibility list, here it is: http://www.connectone.com/media/upload/3G-USB-LIST.pdf

    It’s rather short, and since they’re from Israel, I wouldn’t suspect there’d be a big list of KNOWN compatible USB modems. Here’s hoping that maybe with a US exposure and a firmware update or something, that list will expand a bit.

  4. Maybe you should investigate this device.
    http://www.zoom.com/documentation/mobile_broadband/4506_2459_spec.pdf

    As you can see from the above, there’s a big list of campatible USB modems, including several Novatel.

    This device is great, by the way.

  5. Further to my message above, a recent firmware upgrade for the Zoom 4506 travel router adds support for additional modems. The full list is here:

    http://www.zoom.com/products/mobile_broadband_compatibility_routers.html

  6. Hmm, I’m not sure what the Zoom device has to do with this device, just looking at the pictures they are different – it seems like the Zoom would be competition, one of the competitors in the category mentioned by Kevin. So perhaps before posting “Maybe you should investigate this device” someone should actually look at what is being talked about. (Even if the devices are exactly the same internally, that doesn’t mean ConnectOne would from a customer support viewpoint support devices not on their official list, so the Zoom list is still fairly meaningless.)

  7. @Mikebaz
    Here’s what Kevin says about the Wi-Reach: “the 3-ounce Wi-Reach takes an existing 3G USB stick and creates a Wi-Fi bubble to share the 3G connection with up to 10 devices.”

    The Zoom 4506 does exactly that, except that you can share the 3G connection with more than 10 devices. In fact there’s no limit to the number of devices that can connect to it (or, rather, the limit is the number of IP addresses available to distribute).

    1. The Zoom 4506 also will have a modem stick out like a sore thumb. not a good thing to carry around in my backpack. Zoom either needs to create one where there’s a space for the USB modem, or ConnectOne needs to expand compatibility.

      1. On occasions when I use the Zoom in a bag, I have the modem on an extension lead. I usually position the modem somewhere convenient for checking its status lights, so that I can see if it’s connected, and what type of connection it has.

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