What Is a Travel Router?

No power source? No problem

A travel router is a category of broadband routers designed for people who are on the go and need to connect to the internet when they are away from a power source.

Characteristics of Travel Routers

Travel routers (often called mobile hot spots) typically possess several characteristics that distinguish them from other broadband routers:

  • Compact size – Many travel routers are only a few inches wide and can easily slip into a pocket. Their small size makes them convenient to carry from place to place.
  • Battery powered – Good travel routers feature a built-in rechargeable battery that allows the router to be used for at least a few hours without being connected to an electrical outlet.
  • Tethering capability – To supply online connectivity when wireless hot spot services aren't available, a travel router accesses the internet via a tethered cellphone. High-end mobile routers incorporate a built-in cellular modem that eliminates the need for tethering.
  • Wi-Fi client support – Advanced travel routers can join hot spots as a Wi-Fi client and share the connection out to other clients via its own built-in access point.

Common Uses for Travel Routers

A mobile router can be used to:

  • Reach the internet in areas where there is only cellular service
  • Help a family share one paid internet connection at a hotel
  • Allow business travelers to easily share files with one another
  • Stay connected while hiking or boating outdoors

    Many manufacturers of full-size traditional routers also make mobile hot spots. They include Novatel, Huawei, Netgear, and Linksys. Cellular providers often sell travel routers under their own brand names.

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