Edimax 3G-6200n 3G Wireless Router

Taiwanese Edimax has been making steady inroads at the cheaper end of the market with a range of products which typically undercut the market leaders on price. As with its Chinese sibling TP-Link, I’ve always been a bit wary of their products but recently I had the opportunity to try out the Edimax 3G-6200n, a 3G 11n wireless router and I was pleasantly surprised by the build standard and the features on offer.

To start with, the 3G-6200n cost £40 from Amazon. For comparison, the equivalent Netgear (MBRN3000) costs about twice as much. The Edimax device is quite an old device released in mid-2009 so the 11n is only of the 150 Mb/s variety and the LAN ports are only 100 Mb/s. The Netgear’s 11n runs to 300 Mb/s but still only has 100 Mb/s LAN ports. If you are only routing internet traffic, 150 Mb/s is going to be perfectly adequate.

On opening the box, there was the router itself, a PSU that usefully has an on/off switch, a short USB lead, various manuals and a CD. The router itself is plastic but it’s not really plasticky, if you follow. I’ve had Belkin devices that were worse. Interestingly, there’s a switch on the back that turns off the wifi – that’s not something I’d ever seen before.

Getting the basic router up and running was straightforward. Turn it on, plug one end of a network cable into a LAN port and connect the other to a PC or laptop.  Open a web browser with http://192.168.2.1/ and login into the router using the provided username and password.

As with all routers, there’s a plethora of sections to go through and configure – basic setup, WAN, LAN, wireless and so on. I’d say the device was well featured without being advanced. For example, the wifi only allows you to setup one SSID and there was no auto setting on the channels, but port forwarding and virtual servers are there too. After I’d set up the wifi, I was able to disconnect the cable and work wirelessly.

As you might guess, the main reason for getting this router was for its 3G functionality. Round the back of the router is a USB port into which a 3G modem dongle can be plugged in. Once connected, the router can share the 3G connection wirelessly. Helpfully, there’s a short USB cable included that can be used to position the dongle for the best reception.

How is this different from a “Mifi” or similar device? First, the Edimax is not battery powered, secondly it has LAN ports and finally it doesn’t have to use 3G all the time. It can be configured to use a DSL or cable modem normally and only fall back to the 3G modem when the modem connections fails.

In this instance I was only interested in a 3G connection. Unfortunately, you can’t plug any old 3G dongle into the 3G-6200n but Edimax provides a compatibility list (zipped pdf). I was using an Huawei E1550 which was listed as being supported and sure enough, it was.  To get the connection to work, I had to configure the APN, username and password for the mobile provider that I was using within the router’s web interface. These details are easily available from the internet via a Google search or the mobile providers website.

I was able to connect using both Three and Vodafone SIMs in the Huawei E1550. Download speeds were usually over 1 Mb/s and less than 2 Mb/s but it varied a good deal depending on how the dongle was positioned. I noticed that the router started and stopped the 3G connection as required so it wasn’t constantly connected. One minor issue with that was that sometimes an initial request for a web page was met with a timeout as the connection hadn’t been made fast enough. Upon refreshing the page, it would be served successfully. This only happened a couple of times and I suspect the problem is more with the mobile phone network being slow to respond than the router.

Overall, I was impressed by the Edimax 3G-6200n and at £40 I think it’s excellent value. If you do need to share a 3G connection, particularly when you need both wired and wireless connections, then this is a good solution. The only downside is that it’s not a portable solution. And finally, remember to check that your 3G dongle is compatible.

GNC-2011-02-14 #647 Simply a Monster Show!

I have no choice but to cut back a little for the next shows. I simply had more news than I could handle tonight and apologize because they came fast and furious at the end, doing no justice to all of the content. But one thing is for sure I deliver your moneys worth on all of the shows lately. Thanks for being part of the Ohana! All of the CES content is posted enjoy it all because their is about 52 hours of content their for your enjoyment.

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Listener Links:
The OTT Show.
Todays Tech News.

Show Notes:
The New 747!
Feds Seize More domains.
Patriot Act Provisions Extended.
Amazon Threatens to leave Texas over Taxes.
Admin says it can spy on you?
Power to the Creator!
Film Studios Pirating own Material!
Username x Sites = Security Risk.
It gets worse for HBGary Federal (idiots)!
Apple and Google are Killing our Companies.
Mobile Penetration.
iPhone Secret Symbols.
Where did Kilogram Originate.
Metered Billing on Hold.
IP Address does not Equal a Person!
Plasma Bullet?
HTML5 pushed to 2014.
Twitter trends Origination Points.
3 New iPhone Styles?
Twitter to cut developers off at knees?
Can Nokia Survive?
Tablets Everywhere but no Apps!
Are Adobe Air and Flash Winning?
Facebook Sim Card!
5 Great VPN’s?
iPhone Telephoto Lense.
The 9th Planet is it out their.
86 Time Lapse Videos.
Mentos and Coke powered Car!
FIOS + Iphone = Savings
Fireworks Hawaiian Style (joking).
Apple kills the Podcast Ping.
Get Styling with Toddygear.
Vivitek 3d Projector.
Sphero Robot Ball.
Link Spam Salesmen.
Zeo Sleep Analysis.
Mini Nuke Power Reactors.
iPhone Voicemail Save Hack.
Qualcomm, Netflix and Android.
USB Crypto Device.
Concept Clock.
Lookee Tv.
Dark Side Detector.
P2P for Good Uses.
isoHunt attacked by Music Industry.
Windows Phone Apps.
Nokia + Microsoft=??
Developer Conference List.
Human versus Computer on Jeopardy.
Brilliant Extension Cable.
Auto feed Shredder.
More Cord Cutting.
Rent versus Own on DVD Front.
Mac App Store plus iTunes.
Dumb and Dumber.
Windows Tip of the day.
Chrome Plugin to block Crappy Search Results.
Facebook Page Designer.
Make a Hotspot with your iPhone.
Geek Dating Tips.
T-Mobile G-Slate hands on.
IE9 Release Candidate will Auto Update.
Windows Phone 7 to get Multitasking.
Multi-Language Foursquare App Update.
NASA spare shuttle flight still a go.
Russian Mars Mission in Moscow.
Whoops where did that tool go.
NASA Budget to get Axe.

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GNC-2011-02-07 #645 Back from Chicago!

Fresh back from the Windy City! The snow and cold weather was ok for a couple of days, but I prefer 80 and cool trade winds. Lots of great tech to cover tonight.. I have some great opportunity to someone that would like to underwrite the show for a couple of episodes, drop me a line if your interested. I should be in Hawaii over the next couple of weeks so it will be great to get back into a regular rhythm for the show production.

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Listener Links
360 View of Sun.
Fishing Net to pick up Space Junk?

Show Notes:
Older IT workers hurt the worst.
Privatization of the Shuttle?
Girl Friend Revenge.
EFF says FCC Net Neutrality Bad news!
Righthaven suing without using DMCA provisions.
Judge bans flyer handouts?
Terrorist Watch List Abuse.
Doug Kaye back from Egypt.
Hoarding Light Bulbs?
Can Anyone Listen?
Confession Application.
Comet Close Encounter.
Private Space Innovators.
Navy Stealth Plane makes Maiden Flight.
Mars Massive Hole in the Ground.
Calling ET Dilemma.
T-Mobile Free Phones on Valentines Day.
Honeycomb Tablet Website Live.
Gmail Priority Inbox comes to Mobile.
Firefox Road Map.
Huffington Post goes for 315 Million?
Darth Vader Wins!
Roku USB Port Open.
Sprint Kyocera dual Screen Mobile.
Samsung Upgraded Powershots!
Twitter Wins Super Bowl Traffic
Salt and Pepper Switch.
Doctor Ear buds.
New Blood Pressure Cuff.
Water Resist your iPhone.
Facebook Killing Marriages.
Pirating breakdown.
Greece Arresting File Sharing Site Owners.
Domain Protection Advice.
Revenge with Snow Blower.
Android 3.0 Video Editor.
Software by Download Only?
Last.FM no longer free.
FCC and Universal Service Fund.
More Denial of Service Attacks.
FBI and NASDAQ hack attacks.
XOOM no Wifi without Activation.
Reverse class action Lawsuits.
WiFi Stats.
AT&T iPhone Carrot.
UPS batteries disposal/re-cycle.
Sandy Bridge Chips shipping again.
Sun in 3d.
67% want Interactive TV.
Cord Cutters Percentages.
Google Exec Free in Egypt.
Astronaut to Fly Mission.
UFO in Israel?
UFO in Utah?

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HSTI Wireless Media Stick™

Harry Diamantopoulos of HSTI presents the Wireless Media Stick™. The Wireless Media Stick™ is able to deliver to playback devices the files stored in PC, Mac and NAS (network attached storage) devices. For example, plug the Wireless Media Stick™ into your HDTV’s USB port and watch a movie or view digital photos stored elsewhere on your WiFi home network. The memory is on your network, not on the Wireless Media Stick™. The Wireless Media Stick™ sells for $119 dollars. HSTI has also announced an app that installs on Android smartphones that is able to connect with the Wireless Media Stick™ to enable instant, easy sharing of photos and videos from the phone.

Interview by Esbjorn Larsen of MrNetCast.com and Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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Netgear New Routers, Wireless and Powerline Products

Andy and Esby get the latest on Netgear from David Henry, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Netgear consumer products. There’s a range of Netgear products on show including their flagship wireless router, an N600 dual band wireless router with gigabit ports – the WNDR3700 ($169).

David covers some recent advances in router technology and how Netgear is making it easier for consumers to use what are now much more advanced products, whether it’s wifi, firewalls or routers. Frankly even I don’t understand some of the options on the more complex devices. The WNDR3700 uses push-button WPS to the get the wireless all paired up.

Many of you have wireless dead spots in your home, often because of the fabric of the building or else simply because of the location of the inbound cable or telephone connection. You also may not be able to replace your main router if that’s provided by your cable supplier. If you are in this situation, check out their wireless range extenders.

If wireless isn’t for you, David also covers the new 500 Mb/s Powerline (Homeplug) products and how to get your connected TV or media streamer wired up with network connectivity. For HD video, you need fast data rates and these will deliver the data rates you need.

Lots of great info here on what’s new from Netgear so give it a watch.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and  Esbjorn Larsen of MrNetCast.com.

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D-Link Unveils Latest Network Products

Andy talks to Steve at D-Link’s pre-press event and gets a rapid-fire look at the latest offerings from the company, including

  • a wireless Powerline router, bundling three functions into a single device;
  • a wireless media router that will take SD cards or USB3 external drives for delivering HD content to media streamers or players;
  • a SmartBeam Wifi transmitter, a directional antenna that can focus the wireless signal to a particular device.
  • a wireless-n IP / Internet camera, integrated with the MyDLink portal, so you can view the picture from your PC, your smartphone, your tablet.

There’s further info on all these products and more at D-Link’s special CES website.

If you’ve not used Powerline (aka Homeplug), the technology converts your home’s electrical system into a data network, so it’s good for places where wireless coverage is poor. It’s very handy.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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InteraXon, Thought Controlled Computing

Andy McCaskey interviews Ariel Garten, CEO of InteraXon – Thought Controlled Computing.  It’s no longer sci-fi, you can now interact with technology using the power of your mind (rather than your thoughts being controlled by computers.)

The system consists of a lightweight headset with two electrodes that detects brainwaves such as alpha and beta waves.  Different patterns are associated with different mental states, e.g. concentrating with beta waves and relaxed with alpha, so as your mind changes states an action can be taken. Trivially, you can link your concentration to a light, so while you are concentrating on reading, the light is on and bright, but as you relax and drift off to sleep, the light dims before finally turning off.

Obviously, it’s early days for the technology and Ariel likens the current state to that of voice recognition 20 years ago. Ariel believes that in the future this will be the main way that users interact with technology.

On show was a game called ZenBound 2 which is available for the iPhone and iPad. Normally, the player uses their fingers to manipulate a rope around a sculpture but with InteraXon the player can use their mind to control the game. You can see this in Andy’s video or the original is here. At the end of the game, you can get a report about how you were able to focus or relax.

Ariel also mentions some of the possible medical benefits which are potentially available now that you have a portable EEG system. It uses both Bluetooth or Wifi to communicate from the headband to mobile devices.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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HSTi’s Wireless Media Stick

HSTi‘s Wireless Media Stick is a Wifi dongle that converts almost anything that can read USB storage into a media streamer. Instead of reading files direct from the disk, the files from network shares are read as if they were local.

It’s perhaps easier if you think of an example. Let’s say you’ve got a PVR or DVD player that has a USB port into which you can plug a memory stick and play .mp4s or .avis.  You have to go upstairs, turn on your PC, figure out what movies or video you want to watch, wait for them to be copied over to the memory stick, trot downstairs and plug it in.

With HSTi’s Media Stick, you leave the Stick in the PVR and the files in shared directories appear as if they were plugged in locally. Select the one you want to watch as normal and the file is streamed over your wireless network to the PVR. Much easier.

The Media Stick is basically a wireless bridge with an SMB client built-in and it doesn’t do anything much beyond that.  So there’s no video transcoding or anything fancy like that.  But it potentially has lots of uses – you could use it to transfer digital photos to a USB-enabled picture frame.

v2 costs $119 and is shipping worldwide now.

HSTi has also introduced at CES an Android app that streams media from the smartphone to the Media Stick, making it very easy to show photos or videos stored in the phone on a TV or PC.  Apparently Blackberry and iOS versions are being developed as well. Available from the Android Market at the end of January.

“We all create memories, and document our experiences with our smartphones. They do a great job of consolidating our lives into one device. But when it comes to sharing it back from our phone, options are limited,” says Ramesh Uppal, HSTi President and CEO. “People want to share their experiences, whether its photos or videos from a trip, or just music selections. The Wireless Media Stick is the natural extension of their smartphone or tablet making it a must-have accessory for everyday life.

TRENDnet Concurrent Dual Band Router

At CES in Las Vegas today, TRENDnet will be showing off the first concurrent dual band wireless 11n router.  This is the first router on the market that can offer full 450 Mb/s by using both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio bands.

With advanced MIMO (Multiple In, Multiple Out) antenna technology and three streams per antenna, the concurrent dual band technology can generate a maximum theoretical throughput of 450 Mb/s and much improved coverage.

The router also comes with gigabit Ethernet ports to ensure high performance on the wired connections, making this an ideal partner for high-definition video streaming from NAS.

“A true 450Mbps concurrent router will provide networking enthusiast with another great option,” stated Sonny Su, Technology Director for TRENDnet. “With the proliferation of so many wireless networked devices, performance matters more than ever before.”

Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) also makes connecting wireless devices straightforward.  Press the WPS buttons on each device and they connect up securely.

The TEW-692GR will be available this coming April for $249 from online and retail TRENDnet partners.

Side note: the Wifi standards 11b and 11g use the 2.4 GHz frequency and 11a uses the 5 GHz frequency.  However the latter never gained widespread adoption. 11n can use both frequencies, though until now most 11n wireless equipment used either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz but not both.

Buffalo AirStation Wireless-N Review

In a little bit of a UK scoop, the folks at Buffalo lent GNC three of their latest wireless “n” products for a first review.  The three AirStation devices were announced and covered by GNC back in October, so we’ll skip the usual pleasantries and get down to business.

First up, was the AirStation N-Technology USB2 adapter (WLI-UC-GNM) which is as small as it looks in the picture.  Installation is very straightforward – run the installation CD first to install the drivers, pop the adapter into a spare USB port and job done.  I was able to connect to an existing 11g network and the 11n network without any problems at all.  There’s also a little application installed which allows selection between the 20 MHz and 40 MHz bandwidths which equates to the 75 Mb/s and 150 Mb/s settings.   There’s more on the real-world data transfer rates later.

Next was the AirStation N-Technology 150 Mb/s router (WCR-GN).  This is actually smaller in real life than the picture would suggest, being only 11 cm high, excluding the aerial.  After connecting the router to the network via an ethernet cable, the installation program allows the user to choose from two different possible scenarios – router or bridge.  Once selected, the installation program finds the router and configures it.  The user is asked to set a device password and to give the device an IP address.  Although a configuration program is included, I found it easiest to use the router’s web interface to set things up.

The configuration for the wireless side was pretty impressive, with support for multiple SSIDs, including one that was passed directly out over the WAN and was unable to access the LAN.  This caters for legacy devices such as media streamers or games consoles that only support unsecure WEP.

The WCR-GN supports WPS and AOSS, Buffalo’s equivalent. Frankly, I could never get the AOSS pairing to work. It’s so little effort to put in an encryption key, I’ve no idea why anyone bothers with these user-friendly time savers, because they never are and never do.

To give the 11n devices a proper evaluation, I carried out some data transfer rate testing using LAN Speed Test for TotuSoft.  The table below gives the nominal and measured data rates for different connection types.

Connection Nominal Data Rate Measured Data Rate
LAN 100 Mb/s 65 Mb/s
11g 54 Mb/s 20 Mb/s
11n @ 20 MHz 75 Mb/s 34 Mb/s
11n @ 40 MHz 150 Mb/s 44 Mb/s

Bear in mind that with all the encryption on the wireless transmissions, the measured data rate will be much lower than the nominal data rate.  These figures are broadly in line with other data rates reported on the Internet.  HD video requires a minimum sustained data rate around 25 Mb/s, so it looks to me that the 11n data rates are good.  Microsoft have an article on HD formats which is worth a read.

Finally, I got out the Nfiniti Dual-Band Wireless-N Ethernet Converter (WLAE-AG300N).  I was most interested in this as it promised to be convertible between an access point, extender and bridge, and a full 300Mb/s device.  The Converter has two ethernet ports meaning that things like Bluray players and IP TVs can connect through the bridge back to the Internet.

As before, the installation was a breeze and in the first instance, I set up the Converter as an access point.  This worked great and I was able to get data throughput in the 44Mb/s range.  Remember that although this was a 300Mb/s device, the USB adapter on the laptop was only a 150Mb/s device so the data rate was limited by the USB adapter.

Setting the WLAE-AG300N as a bridge back to the WCR-GN Router was less successful.  Although I was able to get the two devices to connect, I was never able to establish a 11n level connection; it only connected as if it were an 11g network and throughput was around 20 Mb/s.  I worked with Buffalo’s tech support to try and get a resolution but it wasn’t sorted by the time I returned the device.

Overall, the USB2 adapter and the 150Mb/s router worked well and I think they’re good value for money at RRPs of £19.99 and £29.99 respectively.  Judgement is reserved regarding the Ethernet Converter (£39.99) as it worked well as an access point but the bridging was poor.  If you were only setting up a 150Mb/s network, a pair of WCR-GN routers would actually be a cheaper way of establishing a connection from ethernet-only devices.

Thanks to Buffalo for the loan.