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Wireless Features

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Mobile Broadband Routers and Modems

Carriers seem mostly interested in sucking up the 3G bandwidth they are rolling out with entertainment content. But it looks like someone is thinking about more mundane - or perhaps business-focused - applications for those wireless broadband bits.

Kyocera showed its KR1 router, which can use either its Passport KPC650 card or a 1xEV-DO phone connected via USB. The router supports multiple wired and wireless clients via its four 10/100 Ethernet ports and 802.11g access point.

Kyocera KR1 1xEVDO router
Kyocera KR1 1xEV-DO router
(click image to enlarge)

Routing features include what you'd expect for a consumer router - port forwarding and filtering, VPN pass-through and even domain blocking. The wireless half supports both WEP and WPA and MAC address filtering for security. The booth rep I spoke with said Kyocera was in discussions with U.S. carriers, but had nothing to announce in terms of pricing or availability.

I was surprised to see Motorola showcasing its 1xEV-DO router in the show's Wireless Home display. But when I went to the Moto booth to check it out, I got the feeling that the router with built-in radio and single Ethernet LAN port was more of a trial balloon.

Motorola 1xEVDO router
Motorola 1xEV-DO router
(click image to enlarge)

I was told that first availability was likely to be outside the U.S., but could not get further details. Note the cabled antenna in the photo, which can be stuck on a window to improve reception.

Although not present at CTIA, Vodaphone was over at CeBit showing a router to be used with their At Home Talk and Web service scheduled to be rolled out in Germany next quarter. The box connects to UMTS networks (maximum data rate of 384 kbps) and is intended to handle voice, data and fax traffic.

Vodafone UMTS At Home Talk and Web router

Vodafone UMTS At Home Talk and Web router
(photo courtesy of Digital-Lifestyles.info)

I found a few interesting things in AnyData's booth, including another 1xEV-DO router. Similar to Motorola's design, it had a built-in radio, single LAN port and built-in 802.11g WLAN. But since AnyData is an OEM / ODM, I couldn't get pricing or availability. The company also makes the guts of Proxicast's LAN-Cell routers for use on older (and slower) CDMA 1X and GPRS networks.

While voice and entertainment are the sexy part of cellular services, CTIA devoted a special area to Machine-to-Machine (M2M) cellular vendors. Multitech's booth had a display of its entire line of cellular modems in its booth, including the recently-annouced EDGE models and the new packaging shown in the photo below.

MultiTech EDGE modem

MultiTech EDGE modem

There are over a dozen models in the MultiModem line for CDMA, GPRS and now EDGE networks with RS232, Ethernet, USB and even Bluetooth device connections. MultiTech also introduced a line of modems with integrated GPS receivers.

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