Alongside the feed from your broadband connection, the MSR can talk to a USB HSDPA 3G modem and connect to the internet over the cellular network, a feature that sets it well apart from other travel routers. You can tell the MSR to use HSDPA as a fail-safe in case you lose your broadband link or as your prime method of internet connectivity.
Why put these on the bottom?
That leaves the second USB port free for connecting a printer to be shared among the connected clients, for a storage device to be accessed by FTP or SMB, or for a webcam. The notion here is that you hook up a discretely placed USB camera to your MSR and, while you're away, use it to keep an eye on your home. Should Burglar Bill make off with your broadband router, the MSR can continue transmitting snaps over its HSDPA link.
The controls for all these servers are delivered through the MSR's browser-based management utility, which is surprisingly comprehensive for a device that's - nominally, at least - intended as a device you use only when travelling.
In addition to the various servers and network set-up options, the MSR will communicate with a quartet of dynamic DNS service providers so you can access the box and its connected resources remotely without having to check and remember its ISP-assigned IP address. It's UPnP compatible too.
Like a regular fixed-location router, the MSR provides network address translation (NAT) with support for a stack of virtual servers and one client exposed to the net as a DMZ. For all the other machines connected to it, the MSR runs a full firewall that's programmed against some 22 denial-of-service attacks as well as protecting network ports in the usual way.
Flip the MSR between router, access point and wireless adaptor modes
Worried about the services clients are connected to? Then filter their target IP addresses and/or URLs, and limit usage according to MAC address. All three mechanisms can be controlled using the MSR's management utility, which will also let you create and oversee user accounts to manage access to shared resources, such as connected storage.
And if you really want to feel in charge, you can have the MSR email you log reports.
Hmmm it is a bit flakey to say the very least
Just got one of these and a 9dB aerial/coupler for my under-used 3 mobile BB.
The manual is 255 pages long and I think perhaps 20 of those pages contain useful info. The rest are basically "fill this field in with the required information" whatever that may be.
The router came with the 2.1.11 firmware which disconnects every 2-3 minutes and won't reconnect without power-cycling the router, so I tried the 2.1.13 firmware. Same. Memories of Solwise SAR716 routers start to resurface :( Anyway I try 2.1.9 firmware and that seems to work - well it stays up for more than 5 minutes and doesn't lose the USB modem.
The QoS is appalling and I don't for one second believe it does what it claims - in fact I know it doesn't as I tested it. Likewise the firewall - DON'T enable the DoS attack stuff as the router seems to lose the plot entirely. I suspect its more than a little underpowered for what it tries to do. Oh and defaulting to allowing remote management via http with the usual "admin" username and password is staggeringly stupid.
Still the antenna/coupler I got from Solwise work very nicely - I'm mid-way between masts and its always been a bit of an issue. The antenna sorts that brilliantly - solid five bar signal strength. You have to love Solwise for their RF kit even if some of the networking stuff is a bit iffy at times - they do try though which is more than most do.
So I'd say a 7/10 for the router is fair. I am going to try getting it to act as failover for a Netgear ADSL router which I know isn't going to be straightforward but we'll see how it goes. Worst comes to worst the kids/wife can plug this in when the Netgear locks solid due to UKOnline's abysmal authentication servers :)
I would like it to failover automatically but I rather think that involves having the USB modem active all the time - and with a 9dB antenna attached I don't think that's the best plan ever if you're sitting in the same room most of the day ;)
According to Solwise, it comes with a UK plug and you can buy a europlug.
However, no US or Asian plugs are on offer. That's a shame, since it then requires a plug adapter to work in e.g. China or the USA. Note that it will, in fact take 100-240V in.
A full set of interchangeable tips would make up for a lot though.
I'm based in the Netherlands, and so UK is abroad for me. I know El Reg is a UK-based site, and Solwise is UK-based. But shipping rapidly becomes very expensive when you cross borders, to say nothing of e.g. RMAs (ouch ouch ouch)
My assumption was indeed that Solwise has these manufactured OEM and that they're not an original design - the question is has anyone else done so - that drastically increases my chances of finding the same features locally.
3G compatible router for £60?
Last I looked that was a pretty good buy. I think Edimax make something very similar, though not as compact, for the same money. It only seems a few months since I last looked and cheapest device was over £120.
Re: Sensible design engineer
>> The very obvious reason this is done, and should always be so, it to avoid dust or worse still any solid objects such as staples or paper clips falling into open sockets and causing damage.
Difficult to say which is the least worst place on a device like this - on the top would clearly be the worst - on the bottom makes the device unusable in some socket (e.g. ones that are close to the floor) - sticking them on the back is good, but means the device will protrude even further - sticking them on one of the sides probably wouldn't be feasible. I think if you wanted to be certain of using this device everywhere you went you would need to carry an extension lead with you. On the bottom of the device is perfect if you plug the 3G USB stick (which tend to be quite large) into a small extension cable or flexible adapter.
One more thing, you have to bear in mind that the author is clearly a Apple user (many references to Apple hardware) - therefore he is used to such niceties as a MagSafe power connectors - ofcourse, if this were Apple branded it would likely cost five times as much.
>> Shame about the plug, since I usually only travel with one adapter. The Dlink travel router can run off USB...
Looking at the photos you should only need one adaptor, looks like it has interchangeable plugs - like a travel charger.
>> I don't usually fancy ordering hardware from abroad though.
Solwise are based in the UK and this is a UK based site, so where is it abroad from?
>> Does anyone know who manufacturs this thing?
I believe most of most of the hardware Solwise sell is designed and manufactured to their specification - probably using reference designs and 3rd party manufacturers. There is a lot of stuff they sell which I have seen elsewhere - it isn't simply re-badged hardware. There are probably other companies using the same reference designs, like the Edimax device I mentioned, but it is quite different externally.