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Zoom 3G Wireless-N Travel Router review

Julian Prokaza
2 Sep 2010
Zoom 3G Wireless-N Travel Router
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
49.99
inc VAT

Not the fastest, but not bad value if you want a portable Wi-Fi router that can share a 3G mobile broadband connection.

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Specifications

802.11g, 1x 10/100 Ethernet ports

3G Wi-Fi routers are a great way to share a 3G mobile broadband connection between two or more computers, and battery-powered variants are a simple way to provide a 3G connection for Wi-Fi-only devices. Sadly, despite its name, the Zoom 3G Wireless-N Travel Router doesn’t quite go this far. Yes, it’s a portable wireless router that can run for a claimed seven hours away from the mains, but 3G isn’t part of the deal — you’ll need to plug in your own 3G USB dongle for that.

As a standalone device then, the Zoom 3G would appear to offer little more than internet connection sharing, like you could do with an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network. Fortunately, there is a bit more to it than that. Behind its cheap-looking plastic exterior is a full set of router of features and you’d be hard-pressed to emulate these easily with Windows’ Internet Connection Sharing.

Getting the Zoom 3G up and running is easy enough, there’s push-button WPS for easy security setup. Although, we simply made an unencrypted connection and immediately logged into the web-based admin panel for manual security configuration.

Zoom 3G Wireless-N Travel Router

The usual array of Wi-Fi router options is all present and correct, and neatly presented, too. Usefully for a device designed to share an internet connection with computers that may not be your own, the Zoom 3G has a wide selection of security settings. There’s filtering for inbound and outbound packets, domain logging and blocking by keyword, and URL-based whitelists and blacklists. The QoS settings could also come in handy when sharing a limited bandwidth, high-latency 3G connection, but this can only prioritise traffic based on IP address and port, which isn’t particularly convenient when using DHCP.

A single Ethernet port can be used for direct connection to an ADSL or cable broadband router, or to join the Zoom 3G to a wired network. The single USB port supports a very long list of USB 3G modems too (detailed on the Zoom web site), so finding one that works shouldn’t be a problem.

Sadly, the 2.4GHz N-Lite Wi-Fi performance is decidedly average and the small internal antenna limits range. Connected to our Centrino test laptop, the Zoom 3G gave speeds of around 26Mbit/s at 1m, but this plummeted to 14.5Mbit/s at 10m and the connection dropped at 20m. It’s not suitable for household use then, but its limited range isn’t a big issue when sharing 3G in say a hotel suite or meeting room.

The Zoom 3G Wireless-N Travel Router isn’t a bad option if you already have a 3G USB modem and want to share the connection with a few devices when you’re on the road. Its mediocre range and speed isn’t a huge issue for such a device, but we do feel it’s a little bit chunky, at 76x106x22mm, to always carry it for only occasional use. Its reasonably priced though, and so worth buying if you’ll get a lot of use form it, just make sure that your USB 3G dongle is compatible.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
Modem type3G
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
Draft 802.11n supportno
Draft 802.11n 5GHz supportno
MIMOno
Turbo modenone
Stated speed150Mbit/s

Security

128-bit WEPyes
WPAPSK
WPA2yes
Firewallyes
MAC address filteringyes
DMZno

Physical

Size76x106x22mm
Antennas1
Internal/external antennasExternal
Upgradeable antennano
Number of WAN ports1
Ethernet ports1
Ethernet connection speed10/100
Other portsUSB
Wall mountableno
Power consumption onN/A

Other Features

Dynamic DNSyes
Universal Plug and Play supportyes
DHCP serveryes
MAC spoofingyes
Port forwardingyes
USB device supportyes
QoSyes

Buying Information

Price£50
WarrantyOne year
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Details