D-Link Systems, of Fountain Valley, Calif., is shipping a new mobile Wi-Fi router that can work anywhere there is a cell signal thats data capable.
The new DIR-450 is designed to accept an EVDO card from carriers such as Sprint, Verizon or Alltel. To make it work, you plug the device into a source of 12-volt power (including from an external AC power supply) and insert the wireless data card.
Once that happens, youll have a mobile Wi-Fi network. A second version, the DIR-451, due out later this quarter, will support UMTS and HSDPA devices from Cingular, T-Mobile and others. The DIR-451 is designed to work globally.
The DIR-450 and DIR-451 will also work as a wired router if a wireless data card is not inserted. The router includes a 4-port full duplex 10/100 switch to support wired Ethernet devices in addition to Wi-Fi devices.
"Its useful for disaster recovery, construction sites or anywhere else you need a network and dont have cable or DSL coverage," said Daniel Kelley, director of marketing for D-Link. "You can take that cellular card and pop it back into the back of the router."
Kelley said that there are multiple applications for the router. Some applications are transit systems, such as trains or monorails, where people can put the into the overhead and get coverage for Wi-Fi while traveling to work. "You can use it at other outdoor events such as concerts," he added.
"One of the more key resources is emergency response," Kelley explained. "You never know when communications systems can go down," he said, "having the flexibility to get a communications signal from the air and then share it so that many people get a communications link can be critical."
Kelley also mentioned that he expects to see the DIR-450 and DIR-451 used in campers, yachts or other places where you need a mini-hotspot. He said that when he traveled to CES in January, one of his colleagues had a DIR-450 in the car ahead of him. "We were sucking the signal in as we were traveling 70 miles per hour down the 15," he said.
The DIR-450 is available now for $299.99.