While a wireless router with an HSDPA modem is nothing particularly new, getting one that can actually fit in a shirt pocket certainly is. The Novatel Wireless MiFi 2352 is one of the latest routers you could definitely take on a business trip without getting charged extra for a hefty suitcase.
The device is very small, about the size of a small mobile phone itself. It weighs 81g but in the small package lies a lot; an HSDPA moden with speeds up to 7.2Mbps, an 802.11g wireless router, a rechargeable 1,530 mAh lithium ion battery, a MicroSD card for sharing files and amicro USB port for charging and connecting to.
If you charge it up from your laptop, it will act as the usual USB dongle for internet surfing. When in USB mode, the device can use its A-GPS functionality to locate you on Google Maps, MSN Live Maps or Yahoo! Local Maps. It can support up to five clients at a time accessing the mobile hotspot.
Setting up is a case of opening up the battery lid and locating the SIM slot underneath the battery. Our unit was supplied ready installed with a sim card, but if you fit your own, you will have supply details such as APN, etc.The unit ships without any security enabled, so you have to connect to the device first and then head to the admin browser page to set up either WEP or WPA2 security. There are also some nice touches such as MAC address filtering and VPN passthrough as well.
It’s advertised distance is about 10 metres but, strangely enough we managed to get double that distance in our tests and even had a thick concrete wall between us and the device.
The battery lasted quite a while, about three hours. We wished it could have survived longer. We had to charge it back up with the supplied mains adapter, back it will still allow wireless connections while powering back up.
Overall, the unit works quite well if you are in an area where 3G connectivity is not a problem. At around £200, it is not cheap so if you are thinking about buying it, look for “free” deals from companies, such as Carphone Warehoure offering the device in return for a £20 per month 24-month contract.