Travel router with rechargeable battery

I understand there is the MIFI, but this is just for 4g->WIFI, right? I would like something similar to the HooToo for the purpose of extending wifi signals: Amazon.com

Would really like to use a GL-INET product because of your use of OpenWRT.

Both the Mifi and the Mudi will do WISP Repeater/Repeater mode as well as 4G.

1 Like

Thanks, @limbot! Both of those products look great - unfortunately they’re over 2-4x more expensive than the HooToo Titan. I’m trying to figure out if there are any specs I’m missing that would justify the expense for my use-cases:

  1. home wifi-extender for 80Mb 2.4 and 5G wifi signals that degrade to about 10-15Mb when I’m on the second floor of my house away from the AP
  2. travel router wifi-extender for grabbing weak hotel signals when I take my laptop or phone to the pool or the beach near the hotel

I’m not sure I have any use for the mobile/4g features of the Mifi and Mudi, and they’ve also got weaker batteries than the Titan. The Mudi could extend the 5G signal which the Titan can’t - but my 2G signal in my house is fine. I’m careful about making sure the AP I’m connecting to is owned by the hotel I’m at, so I’m not sure I really need the VPN, either. I’m a big open source guy, so I really like the fact that Gl-Inet supports OpenWRT and OpenVPN - but besides that, can you think of any other features of these products that would be a value-add for my use-cases?

Thanks!

I have both a USB150 and a AR300M16 with the external antennas that I just plug into my USB battery. This way if the battery pack gets old, I just replace it, and not the router. I purchased a 20000mAh battery pack that can power 2 USB devices that cost about $18 on sale and can run either unit for hours. A GL-iNET Mango and an external battery is about the same price as the Titan, and comes with 2 Ethernet ports which could be handy in older hotel rooms that still have Ethernet connections.

At hotels, I always VPN to my own VPN server at my house, so it always looks like I am working from home, no matter where I am in the world, and using my GL iNET router, I don’t have to make changes to my phone or PC to use the VPN.

Thanks for the reply @eric. While your solution would bring the price down and add the value of the open source tooling, it also adds an extra device/wires, which isn’t very appealing. Since I don’t really need the VPN, I think the simpler form-factor probably wins out for me in this case, unless there are some other great features I’m missing.

@yekibud

What device do you normally use when you’re out and about? Are we talking a notebook or a tablet or phone device?

If it’s a notebook then I have often plugged my Mango straight into a USB port on my notebook to supply power hence no need for the battery pack at all :slight_smile: There’s extra draw on your notebook battery but it’s minimal. At one time I had some double sided velcro on the Mango and the lid of my notebook :slight_smile:

Like @eric I always carry an external 10k mAH battery pack with me for other devices, so it’s no biggie to power the mango that way either or when in a hotel room just a 5V/1A power adapter

If you ever need 4G, the range supports a number of 4G USB dongles as well :slight_smile:

Don’t forget too, that if you’re using a single band travel router you lose half your bandwidth. An (upsell? :stuck_out_tongue: ) option would be to go up to the Creta which is dual band. You can then Repeat on one band and then WLAN on the other band hence given you “full” bandwidth. Of course this costs more and you’d still need to power but might be worth considering for performance and futureproofing :slight_smile:

As you’ve mentioned, for me the big selling point for the Gl.iNet devices over the Hootoo or the TP-LInk travel routers (which I started with) is the OpenWRT not being locked into a proprietary firmware (which hardly ever gets updated) and the pure flexibility and ability to load OpenWRT packages (transmission, adblock, OpenVPN/Wireguard etc and the support supplied here on the forums :slight_smile:

As alway YMMV :slight_smile:

@limbot

Laptop.

The problem is I can’t take the wifi/extender device with me because I typically need it to extend the wifi signal at a midpoint between me and the origin AP (when I’m travelling). I’ve currently got an old HooToo which which I literally stash in a bush or somewhere (I think it was like the first HooToo, though, so I’m due for an upgrade).

That said, I didn’t know about the “loosing half your bandwidth” thing - I’ll have to look into that. My insufficiently informed radio/networking knowledge made me think you either had longer distance/ more “robust” 2G vs higher-speed/ shorter distance/ more “fragile” 5G. Is there some setup required on the Creta for the WLAN + repeater thing you’re talking about? Because increasing speed is obviously worth a premium - and maybe even worth carrying an extra battery brick with me (that I don’t typically use for anything else).

@yekibud

Hokay

Note my technical knowledge is a little bit "dated’ (read as I"m old :slight_smile: ) so this will not be a technical reply :slight_smile:

So consider a single band 2.4Ghz unit. If you are doing repeater mode you are connecting your router to the source on 2.4Ghz and then creating a WLAN network also on 2.4Ghz. Effectively you have half the 2.4GHz band (300Mbps/2 =150 Mbps) doing repeater duty and half doing client/WLAN duty (150Mbps)

If you have a dual band unit you can do the repeater component on one band (and get the full bandwidth of 300Mbps) and do WLAN/client on the other band (again with full bandwidth - 433Mbps).

Whether you use 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz for the repeater function will depend on your source. If you’ve only got a 2.4Ghz source then you’re “stuck” with 5Ghz for the client/WLAN component.

2.4Ghz has longer reach and better “penetration” , 5 Ghz has faster speeds but not as long a reach.

Have a look at an article I wrote here and have a look at the speed tests I did. Note that this is based on the AR750S, the big brother of the Creta (more powerful processor, external antennae, GB ports, more expensive :stuck_out_tongue: but the principle remains the same) Using one band to repeat and the other band for WLAN/Client substantially affected speeds :slight_smile:

I’m currently housesitting in a outbuilding thats 25+ metres away from the main router. I have a OpenWRT box (not a Gl.iNet box, but an old TP-LInk for power and range) running in WISP mode. For some reason it’s decided to repeat on the 5Ghz band but by turning off the 5Ghz WLAN on the TP-Link and using the 2.4Ghz for my WLAN I’m getting around 35mbps. If I use a 5Ghz WLAN on the TP-Link and connect to that I get around 17Mbps.

Of course there’s lots of other variables that also come into play (source strength, distance to source, distance to client etc )

Hope this makes (some sort of ) sense and helps :slight_smile:

Sold!

On dual band.

But there’s still the issue of the need of an external USB battery for the Creta solution, and I just found the Ravpower with dual band which also has a built-in battery. I think that’s still cheaper than the Creta + usb battery, but more importantly, it’s integrated.

So it looks like I’d need to pay about a $150 premium to stick with Gl-Inet, open-source and convenient/single-device form-factor (i.e. Mudi), vs going with the Ravpower.

Any other pros you can think of to justify the Mudi, or other cons of the Ravpower, considering I don’t get the value of 4G routers and built-in VPN @limbot? It seems like my requirements might be a gap in the Gl-Inet product line, unfortunately.

@yekibud

For your use case if 4g isn’t a major requirement I wouldn’t worry about the Mudi from a $$ perspective. As mentioned, if you really need 4G somewhere along the track you can use a cheap 4G dongle with an appropriate telco and the Creta would handle that just fine (as a primary or even a 4G backup solution). Here in Aus, you can pick one up for like $20.

VPN client is available on all Gl.iNet products either OpenVPN or Wireguard and can connect to either a commercial or personal server.

Just as a quick sizing comparison Mango , Brume(same size as Creta), Mudi. AAA battery for size reference. :slight_smile:

As far as integrated battery, sorry, for your use case I really can’t think of any driving factor to buy a MiFi or a Mudi for the additional cost. I mean I love my Mudi, but I have certain locations where I need to rely on 4G connection. I don’t know much about the RavPower units so can’t tell you how good they are from a user interface , performance or firmware upgrade perspective. Can only tell you what I know :slight_smile:

Couple of things that do stand out for me on the Amazon page:
Support to connect up to 5 phone tablet or laptops simultaneously.
Note: On bridge mode, the wifi speed the half of the original network speed. 5 GHz Radio Frequency not support Bridge Mode
From review: there are very little infor (sic) on how to use this item; and ravpower tech support, though i have contacted them numerous times on questions; were not that helpful; i had to experiment thru trial and error to get my answers.
But as we all know generally reviews only complain not compliment if things are working well :slight_smile:

I guess not being OpenWRT based, it’s no as flexible and you’ll be stuck with the firmware they give you and the functionality that they give you (no ability to add packages).

If nothing else at least I’ve got you up to an AC750 device for better bandwidth performance :rofl:

1 Like

Cool, thanks for the pics and the tips @limbot.

I remember when I got off the plane in NZ I got marketed a Spark SIM which I stuck in my dual-SIM OnePlus phone and used for a hot-spot. Maybe I just haven’t been to enough countries where wireless SIM cards are marketed that way (or maybe I haven’t seeked them out properly). In which case I guess that Mudi could add some value since I assume it would out-perform a OnePlus phone.

This is a bit of a yes and no answer :slight_smile:

The Mudi will support up to a Cat 6 LTE card, the OnePlus 6 from what I can see has a Cat 16 LTE card ( I don’t know what version you have), so depending on telco you’ll get theoretically get better LTE speeds from your phone if the Telco supports.(Depends on how much speed you really need)

The Mudi will last a lot longer on the battery and will allow more connections than the OnePlus will and have better WiFi performance.

If you have other people with you, it’s a pain in the ar$e if they connect to your phone and you have to take a phone call in another area or need to go out and they’re left with nothing (don’t ask how I know this and why I started on travel routers :rofl: )

Courses for horses @yekibud :slight_smile:

1 Like

Wow, I didn’t even know there were different LTE cards that could affect bandwidth and are based on carrier support. Thanks for the tip.

Okay, I get the value of the 4G hotspots now - needing to keep your phone with you if you’ve got other folks accessing, and even if you simply don’t have an extra SIM slot and want to keep a phone call connection to your regular carrier while connected to a different telco for the hotspot (such as when one is abroad).

Since neither of those use-cases fit for me, the 4G hotspot is an unneeded feature and just doesn’t make sense to add to the cost of the Mudi. So unfortunately it looks like Gl-Inet doesn’t have the right product for me this time around - but I’m glad I found them and will be keeping tabs for my future networking needs.

Thanks again for the tips and help @limbot!

Today I decided to connect my GL-USB150 Microuter to a 5000mAh battery and it makes a very small, portable solution, without wires. In the photo, it is next to my Kindle to give an idea on the total size. The Kindle, my phone and a PC were all connected to the internet through the USB150. The battery ran it for around 10 hours.

1 Like

@eric

Nice job! :slight_smile:

The USB150 is one Gl.iNet I haven’t had a chance to play with yet .

I have grand plans to create a geocache and use a Mango, a battery pack and a solar cell (in a waterproof box) to put a geocache out in the forest, in a tree somewhere using the captive portal page to point to the final cache location :slight_smile: Now wonder if a USB150 might be a neater solution.

Touché on getting rid of the wires, @eric :-), but @limbot already sold me on dual-band for preserving repeater bandwidth.

Let me sell you on some more then :rofl:

The AR750s and more powerful GL routers can handle a lot of clients, usually around 50 or so. In reality most people won’t use that many, so the rule of thumb is take the number than the router technically supports, divide that by 5. For the GL products it would then be around 10 clients, while the Ravpower you linked is probably just 1 or 2 clients, without issues.

I have owned a lot of Huawei mobile 4g routers and they are so slow. With one or 2 clients you can barely access the interface on them.

On top of all this, the level of customization for an OpenWRT based router is pretty insane. You have full control over the linux subsystem as well as all settings. You have access to the package manager to install any kind of server you would want. You can for example use a large SDCard or USB stick and have a “plex like” streaming server on the go.

With Huawei or Ravpower or any other brand, they usually are very basic, you have no firmware updates in the future and are stuck with what you get in the box.

OpenWRT routers are practically never going to be obsolete, there are always people tinkering even with unsupported models.

And can we sell you on the wonderful forums and friendly members that can help you? :smiley:

Just that last part should be worth the extra dollars :stuck_out_tongue:

Edited to “plex like”.

2 Likes

Those are two big selling points that make me want to find an excuse to buy a GL-Inet product, even if there is a certain amount of premium.

For the one case where I actually was in a country where it was convenient to buy a mobile-wifi SIM card (Spark SIM in New Zealand), my OnePlus phone seemed to perform pretty well as a hotspot - but maybe because it’s only ever just me and my wife connecting. So it’s hard for me to get behind the ~4x cost multiplier for the Mudi which gets me dual band, battery and uniform form-factor, but adds a premium feature I don’t seem to need (extra mobile 4g device).

If it was just a 2x premium or there was a Gl-Inet product between the MiFi and the Mudi (without the 4g), I’d be all over it.

Router with battery! How about this one

image

Battery smaller than the router. I assume it can power AR750s for 20 minutes, AR150 for 1 hour.

Heh, clever trick @alzhao, but I think I should have probably titled the post “Travel router with (integrated) rechargeable battery”. (Not sure how to update the topic in this forum, though.)