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Wireless Networking Hardware

D-Link's USB-Powered Access Point 206

Roger Ryder writes "D-Link announced the AirPlus G DWL-G730AP Wireless Pocket Router/AP, a pocket Access Point for travelers. It can be powered by a USB cable and works as an 802.11g access point, client or router. A 3-way configuration switch on the bottom of the unit changes the mode of operation. In AP mode, the DWL-G730AP can be used to create a wireless network in a room where a single Ethernet port is provided. In Router mode, it can be used to share a single broadband Internet connection. The internal DHCP server automatically assigns IP addresses to ensure everyone in the room can connect to the Internet. It supports VPN Pass-through and firewall features including Network Address Translation (NAT) and MAC filtering to protect your wireless network from malicious attacks. When set in Wireless Client mode, the device allows connection to an existing wireless network, without having to install complicated drivers or additional software. For added mobility, the DWL-G730AP can be powered over USB if power outlets are not available. Similar devices are available from ASUS, SMC, Apple's AirPort Express and Netgear."
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D-Link's USB-Powered Access Point

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  • by Try to think about i ( 661547 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @08:48PM (#9996827)
    Or are you happy to see me?
  • Again? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thejoelpatrol ( 764408 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @08:51PM (#9996833)
    This looks like another ad/press release. First the Nokia phone, now a wifi product. Why are these getting approved?
    • Re:Again? (Score:3, Interesting)

      If it was an ad then there wouldn't be mention of competing products in the same post would there? I think you're looking at this the wrong way, it's more a pointer towards emerging consumer-level tech that pretty much everyone here would be interested in rather than a shameless plug.
      • but then again just by mentioning those similar products that THIS IS HARDLY NEWS.

        if it were a review for a new type of product or had something truly unique and was fresh then it would be newsworthy.

        or would you like to see cheapo nic's reviews on slashdot as well?(well, actually some that really did test performance would be quite useful..)
    • Re:Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alcimedes ( 398213 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:04PM (#9996902)
      Because new technology is interesting to geeks? This is the first (to my knowledge) USB powered access point. That's news, at least to people who travel a lot.

      Every day I get people walking into my office asking me advice about technology I personally haven't had a chance to play around with. An article like this gives me a shot to read about a cool new product that I probably wouldn't have thought to look up until a day or so before I was leaving for a trip. Dunno, I don't mind having articles posted that give out info on new tech. that has unique features.
      • Re:Again? (Score:2, Insightful)

        So I need to hook it to the the USB port on my computer and then plugin the ethernet cable into wall? IS THIS WIRELESS? Or, I need to carry this device and YAB (yet another brick). The Apple product's design is much more user friendly for travel. They should do something like that. It is easier for me to plug the ethernet into my laptop and make it into an access point.

        What is the big deal about USB power? It doesn't free you from being attached to the wall. And, if I want to share my wired conne
        • The big deal is not that it's USB power, to the discredit of the story title author, rather that this device can work without a computer (no drivers) and thus can be used with the many other sorts of wireless devices out there. Without a computer.
      • Re:Again? (Score:5, Informative)

        by jhoffoss ( 73895 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @11:10PM (#9997489) Journal
        The Asus WL330 is USB-powered. These have been out for a few months, and in fact a revised edition is available now. You can find it on Asus' website, which I will leave it to the reader to figure out.

        No one is complaining about the product posting; everyone is complaining about the lack of a story. We could all go find five hundred products that might be worth a glance, and post it to Slashdot. But "stories" like this increase the noise-to-info ratio greatly. Instead, the submitter (or michael himself) could have searched a bit for a review on the product. If none were available, perhaps the poster could have bought one, reviewed it, and posted a story to the review. At least it would provide independent and useful information about the product, rather than PR/marketing info from DLink.

  • by waynelorentz ( 662271 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @08:51PM (#9996834) Homepage
    So, when I'm on the road in a hotel I can plug this into my USB port, then plug an Ethernet cable into it and surf wirelessly? Oh... except for the Ethernet cable plugged into my USB port.
    • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:11PM (#9996931) Homepage Journal
      no, if you are holding an impromptu meeting within a hotel room, that has one ethernet jack, you can have everyone in the room, online through your connection..

      also, if you have adjoing rooms with someone travelling with you on a business trip, you can share a connection if they 1-charge for a connection per day or 2-one or the other jack is out of service.

      • The way I read this is that you can connect it to your computer *or* to the wall ethernet jack. That's why it supports USB power but also includes a separate power supply. It looks like it does not have to be connected to your computer to act as as access point or router. Seems like a nice tool, if you ask me. I'm frequently working in server rooms, etc. that do not have a handy ethernet jack near my workspace. I carry a bulky access point around to assist, but a device that can switch from one mode to
    • Here's a biz model:

      1. Get a USB wireless hub
      2. Pay for WLAN access at Starbucks
      3. Get a seat at Starbucks and resell cheap WLAN access to other guests
      4. And the /.-mandatory: Profit
  • by jarich ( 733129 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @08:52PM (#9996838) Homepage Journal
    Cruise into an internet cafe, turn your access point, then innocent bystanders will use your access point instead the cafes.

    Hang out for an hour, record the packets, go home and extract email passwords, etc...

    This would probably work in an apartment complex, etc as well

    • by damiam ( 409504 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:02PM (#9996894)
      You don't have to be the AP to sniff wireless packets, it's quite easy to do so as a client.
    • Just put your card into promisc and run some sniff soft... ? Why bother with the ap? Or is there something an ap can do that my wifi laptop can't?
      • Or is there something an ap can do that my wifi laptop can't?

        Yeah. Man-in-the-middle attacks, DNS spoofing, probably a few others.... Well, your laptop could do DNS spoofing by spoofing the source address... but not reliably. With an AP, it no longer requires taking advantage of a race condition. :-)

        • But a laptop can be an access point too. In fact my home "access point" is none other than a pc with a dlink card and hostap [] driver. Works great!

          Now I'm not supposing most people would want to set up linux with the hostap driver, and configure their routing, etc. But with some slick Windows-based software, you could do the same thing in a more user-friendly way. Hey, they could even charge double the normal price for the pcmcia WIFI card, and call it a "special access point" card or something.

  • D-Link catching up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MerryGoByeBye ( 447358 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @08:52PM (#9996844) Journal
    Looks like D-Link's been doing its homework.

    I recently bought a D-Link 802.11g+ card. The loaf at Best Buy expressed doubts about whether D-Link's 108Mbps "protocol" (compression, etc on regular g) would work with Netgear's 108Mbps protocol and he suggested I buy the same company's brand for the entire network.

    Naturally, I ignored him. It works fine.

    If D-Link can keep making devices that perform reliably and interact correctly with those of other manufacturers, I say "Great!"
    • by Jardine ( 398197 )
      I recently bought a D-Link 802.11g+ card. The loaf at Best Buy expressed doubts about whether D-Link's 108Mbps "protocol" (compression, etc on regular g) would work with Netgear's 108Mbps protocol and he suggested I buy the same company's brand for the entire network.

      It's my understanding that they achieve (in theory) 108 Mbps by taking up two channels that don't interfere with each other and running 54Mbps over each channel.
      • There are a couple of ways to do it, hence the BB tech was probably being safe about the brand recommendation. Linksys for example, uses a different tech that doesn't use channel bonding, whereas Super-G products do. At this point it doesn't matter though, we'll have 802.11n products by this time next year.
    • You're lucky it works. There's two or three companies that make the wireless chipsets. Products from different companies using the same chipsets (like Apple and Buffalo) usually interoperate; products using different chipsets might not interoperate for things that aren't standard ("turbo" modes) or aren't common (wireless bridging).
  • by naitro ( 680425 )
    I fail to see how this is any different (from a linux geek's point of view) from using any prism2-based WLAN card with the Host AP drivers [].

    Might appeal to PHBs without the necessary 'mad skillz', though, but these are hardly Slashdot's target audience.
    • by j1m+5n0w ( 749199 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:24PM (#9996989) Homepage Journal
      I fail to see how this is any different (from a linux geek's point of view) from using any prism2-based WLAN card with the Host AP drivers.

      Well, you can use 802.11g instead of just b, you don't have to tie up a computer as a dedicated access point, you don't have to have kernel source lying around to install it, and it probably uses less power and generates less noise than a computer.

      I like hostAP, but its not the easiest or best solution in all circumstsances.


      • I like hostAP, but its not the easiest or best solution in all circumstsances.

        In fact, for small LAN requirements, I just use a 802.11b ad hoc configuration: I just need to give the win/linux clients a static IP/mask/DNS and let my laptop be the NAT router/firewall with a DSL connection to the net. All you need is the wireless tools packages that you have already installed to try out wifi.
  • by nickovs ( 115935 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @08:57PM (#9996865)
    This seems to serve the same purpose as the AirPort Express for the business traveller except that it has a separate power supply (unless you want to tether yourself to it with a USB cable). The fact that the power supply is not built in seems to me to limit its utility quite a lot. Given it costs 80% as much as the AirPort and also lacks the printer sharing (and non-sequitur music streaming) I have a hard time seeing this being a commercial success.
  • by RWaye ( 778934 ) <> on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @08:59PM (#9996875)
    The only use I see for this is LAN parties on Planes/Busses/Trains. I am sure the person in the seat next to me would enjoy it when my buddy from the back of the plane storms up and throws a glass of coke at me screaming "STOP AWPING NOOB!".
    The fact that this could also screw up plane communications and positioning equipment is irrevelant. No one ever uses that stuff anyway... ;)
    • The fact that this could also screw up plane communications and positioning equipment is irrevelant.

      Most people know how to turn their cell phones off when asked by the crew, but does anyone really know how to shut down that built-in wireless card? On many computers it is difficult to even see that it is on (Thinkpad G40) and it is enabled by default. To disable you have to go deep into Device Manager, or to play with Wireless settings.

      So chances are when you are flying, lots of passengers have 802.11 u

  • It's not that bad. I'm sure this will be useful for people who don't want to carry a router with them if they have more than one laptop or something in a hotel room, or if they go somewhere without a network yet want to use more than one computer at a time. What's so bad about a new versitile product, even if it does have a brand name on it?
  • Laptop Battery (Score:2, Insightful)

    Congrats..Your laptop battery life has just gone down from 2hrs45min to 20 minutes(10 if you're trying to achieve FP!).
    • That was my first thought as well...

      Except that in my case it would go down from 35 minutes to about 3 1/2...
      Time to upgrade my laptop I guess...
  • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:08PM (#9996916) Homepage Journal
    PCTel's Segue Soft Access Point Module (SAM) []is a clever piece of software that turns any LAN-connected PC into a Wi-Fi wireless access point. Given the low price of Wi-Fi APs (typically $60 or less), SAM might not appear to make economic sense. But SAM's price is even lower: Several motherboard and wireless chipset makers have purchased licenses to include SAM with their products, making SAM effectively free to end users. And for setting up a temporary AP in a hotel room, meeting room, or the like, it's a darn clever solution.

    • Also worth pointing out that OS X can do this out of the box. (And if XP can't, I'm surprised...)
      • actually, since reading that article in PC magazine, I've thought so as well..

        in ad-hoc mode, and with ICS (internet connection sharing) enabled, you should be able to bridge the adapters easily..

        At one of my job sites, we have a cable modem that goes into a dell low end server- this has a second ethernet card connected to a hub, which shares a lan with two other PC's..

        I have had them previously set up as bridged connections and ICS sharing enabled, and all three pc's had web access (the owner

    • If you're using a Prism-type chipset, you can either use hostap [] (for 802.11b) or the Prism54 [] drivers (for 802.11g) to run your card in "Master" (AP) mode. Instant linux-based AP.

      I play with this off and on with my laptop and the high-powered SMC-2532W-B card, which can take an external antenna. Crank up Apache, set up BIND to return the laptop's wifi IP address to every query, and away I go (hey, wifi isn't JUST for The Internet(tm) after all). Or if I feel the need I can bridge to a wired connection, b

  • built in Airport (Score:4, Informative)

    by mbaudis ( 585035 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:10PM (#9996928) Homepage
    two notes:

    1. the mobile hub feature can be useful. traveling with two powerbooks, my wife and i frequently use a single network access (dialup, ethernet) in hotels, sharing it from one machine over ad hoc wlan

    2. well, with a powerbook (or stationary mac with airport card), you get this option built in, without any hassle with a separate device or dlls from hell...

    (please insert your apple rant here:... thanks.)
    • no rant. was just about to write the same. the internet connexion sharing over the airport is great and i've used it many times for just this purpose, the ibook works the same.

      i also have a thing about d-link equipment, namely that it's pretty pants normally.
    • But how is that different from any other manufacturer's equipment? I do that all the time with my PC notebooks (and they were cheaper ;))
  • a more useful idea (Score:4, Interesting)

    by boots@work ( 17305 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:13PM (#9996938)
    would be an ethernet-powered access-point: just one plug for an Ethernet port, and it bridges and/or NATs onto that connection.

    I don't know how much power you can safely draw over Ethernet. Maybe it's not enough. But it would be cool if it worked.

      The pinout for ethernet connection has grounds, and transmits and receive lines, lacking a Vcc supply. USB, PS/2 and serial have GND and +5v to supply some juice the the device.
      • I realize that standard ethernet doesn't have a VCC line. But you can be more creative: since data is transmitted by a modulated signal, you can use a DC potential between the two pairs to transmit power, or you can use the two spare pairs that are unused by most installations.

        See this diagram [].

        802.3af requires upgraded equipment which is currently rare. Therefore my question: how much load can you put on the rx pair without degrading the signal or hurting the other machine? Probably not very much, but
        • But you can be more creative: since data is transmitted by a modulated signal, you can use a DC potential between the two pairs to transmit power

          No you can't. Read your own link:

          Since Ethernet pairs are transformer coupled at each end, it is possible to apply DC power to the center tap of the isolation transformer without upsetting the data transfer. In this mode of operation the pair on pins 3 and 6 and the pair on pins 1 and 2 can be of either polarity.

          You'd need an ethernet jack that puts pow
          • My previous post said that PoE (in one mode) creates a DC potential between the rx and tx lines. This is done by applying DC to the isolation transformers. The two statements are entirely consistent.

            you can just modify a client and make it draw power from the hub/switch/jack.

            Can you? That's what I was originally asking. I don't think you can get much power that way. But anyhow, that's not how PoE works; it requries a modified hub/switch, or at least a separate unit to supply the DC voltage.
      1. I don't know how much power you can safely draw over Ethernet. Maybe it's not enough. But it would be cool if it worked.

      POE -- power over ethernet -- is used in quite a few wireless routers/aps/... . There's even a spec for it. I think 12 volts works well, though that's from memory. In most cases, that's enough to run most devices that use a power brick. The typical use for POE is to power remote APs without having to run a power cord.

      The upper limit? I don't know...though if you give your 5v dev

    • what if your laptop is the box that you want to bridge connections on... so you have this AP plugged into your rj-45, providing NAT and bridges connections from your... where, bluetooth?

      This being USB powered means I can route my ehternet connection to my USB AP, and share a connection.

  • Probably the best way to connect securely when traveling cheaply is to boot a cyber cafe computer from a Knoppix CD. That way you can be certain there are no keystroke recorders installed by some previous user. Basically, you will want to check your bank accounts and get your email from a web-based client. So Knoppix gives you everything you need: an OS and a browser.

    There might still be a problem with a hardware-based keystroke recorder, but that level of expertise is unlikely, I think. A thief who could do that could get a good job, and wouldn't need to be a thief.
  • by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:16PM (#9996957) Homepage
    Airport express is more compact (no extra crap to carry around). It also has airtunes (hopefully someone will get a driver for mac/windows/linux so it can do more than just music).

    That extra couple dollars is worth the design.
  • Kinda off-topic, but I was considering buying a DLink 514 wireless router since it's so much cheaper than the linksys equivalent. I've seen a lot of scathing reviews online, but those are mostly from the non-technical crowd (firmware update? wazzat?). I'd love to know if any /.ers have tried this out, and were successful.
    • I have the 614+, at the time it was 200, but I've seen it as low as $49, have had it for going on 2yrs now and it's been a good appliance, you need to be running windows to upgrade the firmware. Range has been over 150' using both an Orinoco Gold card and the DWL-650+ D-link card
      • The only problem I've had with my DI-614+ is that it used to lock up a lot when running eMule. It didn't like opening so many ports over NAT in such a short time. Then again, that's probably just the router side... as an AP it ought to be fine.
  • Airplane approved? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by StDave ( 13072 )
    I could see this being useful in an airplane if you wanted to game with friends or collaborate with coworkers on the same flight. Of course, it would also probably screw up the avionics and redirect the flight to Tibet. But at least you would be able to get some work or enjoyment for the long flight...

    Or it would be useful for simple impromptu networking for a quick and dirty network situations where power is at a premium (like a natural disaster). Granted, that wouldn't involve Internet access, but a s
    • I got the chance to view a presentation about shielding aircraft from travellers electronics that send out signals (cellular phones, laptops, whatever).

      They proposed installing waveguides around the cabin of the airplane. It would be too complex to surround only airplane equipment that would be affected.

      You all have waveguides in your house in your microwave. Go to your microwave and look in the door, see the metal grate with a pattern of holes? That's a waveguide specifically made to protect your face
  • You know.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Large Green Mallard ( 31462 ) <> on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:32PM (#9997025) Homepage
    I've been reading slashdot since 1998. These two stories from michael today have got to be the lamest entries I've ever seen on here. I'm very disappointed. At least this one isn't as bad as the Nokia one.
  • by LodCrappo ( 705968 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:46PM (#9997090) Homepage
    I would like to plug some of my company's products too.
  • Umm peer to peer? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s88 ( 255181 ) on Tuesday August 17, 2004 @09:50PM (#9997101) Homepage
    Has no one in this thread ever heard of peer to peer?
    All the examples of "I could have used this when..." could easily have been solved by simply setting your wireless cards into peer mode and making an ad hoc wireless network. This is quick and easy with every network client app I have seen; does no one use this feature or what?

    Why is this device any better than just bridging your ethernet to your wireless peer network?

    • Re:Umm peer to peer? (Score:3, Informative)

      by randyest ( 589159 )
      Why is this device any better than just bridging your ethernet to your wireless peer network?

      It doesn't require a PC or Mac, needs no drivers, and so can provide connectivity to devices such as Audrey [], ReplayTV [], TiVO [], Xbox with network connector [], or playstation2 with network connector [].
  • [] The link in the title article copy is a link to the apple store (to a timed out session)
  • The online shops have been dumping the D-LINK model DWL-122 which is a USB dongle wireless adapter (that happens to work with Linux [].) I picked up one for $29 from TigerDirect or somesuchplace. Pretty good bang for the buck: it worked plug and play without the need for additional drivers in a WinXP box I tried it with. Definitely a handy little device to have hanging around, but it doesn't do access point stuff like the current generation does. Any word on Linux-workability for the newer model mentioned
  • How about a modem? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chris234 ( 59958 )
    One of the issues I have with all these "travel" APs that I've seen is that none of them have a modem in them. Most of the places I've had to set up a temporary wireless net when travelling don't have any existing network access aside from a phone line. I wish Apple had left out the USB port and dropped in a modem instead.

    Guess the graphite Airport keeps travelling!
  • I bought a d-link switch/router/firewall nearly two years ago. A year ago, it stopped working. At least, I could not find the 'embedded homepage', where you set ip-adresses etc., any longer. Also, it worked for one attached computer but not for two or more. I mailed the kit to d-link which could not find a problem and returned it to me.

    Then a friend said the kit may have suffered from some sort of 'virus attack' which kills the kit's memory or something similar and that d-link is very well aware of this 'i
  • by Gldm ( 600518 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @03:34AM (#9998609)
    I find alot of things that are "USB powered" aren't. They usually need two ports and even then depend on out of spec power levels. For example, my Lacie 4x slimline DVD writer can't draw enough power from the two USB ports on my Toshiba M200. I tried a d-link USB2 card that was supposedly rated at 500ma per port (The spec maximum) but either that's not enough power or the Toshiba doesn't deliver enough power to the card. There's just no way to get it to work. On my desktop, plug it into 2 USB ports and it works fine.

    I'm debating either getting a small lightweight UPS around 300VA or if I'm better off cutting up some USB device or cable and wiring in a 4AA holder to put batteries in.
  • WRT54G (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Schlaegel ( 28073 )

    I bought myself a WRT54G Router (about $60) for a similar purpose. After uploaded 3rd party firmware [] It has a similar functionality (no USB).

    They both can be an access point, client or router.

    The WRT54G is bigger, needs power, but hooks up to your computer via Ethernet and requires no driver.

    I wanted a wireless client that did not use my CPU for a controller and did not taint the kernel. The WRT54G does a great job.

  • so anyone who has one of these can sit down and start acting as a dhcp server? that's going to be *marvellous* in public wifi hotspots, isn't it?
  • (Score:3, Interesting)

    by otisg ( 92803 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @08:06AM (#9999628) Homepage Journal
    This site will interest most(all?) of Slashdot readers: []
  • Why did they make this a hardware switch? Don't people learn through product testing that the more movable parts the consumer has access to, the chances of any movable part being broken from being moved back and forth rises exponentially?

    Shoulda been a software selection on an internal webpage, or maybe (heaven forbid, as this is another point of failure), a membrane pushbutton.
  • For "security reasons", I can't change any of the network properties on my work laptop, including wireless settings (such as SSID) may be able to guess which OS I am running from the need to do this.

    I can, however, run Virtual PC on my laptop, and have full control over my Ethernet NIC settings from a virtual machine...

    So I'd like to use something like the D-Link DWL-810+ (Ethernet to Wireless Bridge) for mobile wireless usage, but I would like it to be USB powered so I don't need to plug it in.


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