All-in-One Mobile Companion by D-Link Systems Inc.
$69.54 at Amazon.com
Here’s the most frustrating product I’ve tested in quite awhile. D-Link’s mobile companion is a pocket-sized wireless router that can connect to a wired or wireless Internet connection and create a private Wi-Fi network for friends or business colleagues. It’s an interesting concept, but poorly executed.
In principle, the Mobile Companion seems simple enough. It comes with an Ethernet connection, a USB port and of course, Wi-Fi wireless networking. I tried an Ethernet link to the Globe’s network, to see if I could share it wirelessly with my laptop. Of course, I could just as easily have plugged the Ethernet into the laptop. But with a Mobile Companion, I could let some Wi-Fi-equipped buddies share the fun.
Only there wasn’t much fun. The automatic setup procedure failed utterly. I had to phone tech support to get instructions on how to do it manually. Still, the Mobile Companion worked well enough as a personal wireless router, once it was properly rigged.
But it’s also supposed to let you plug a phone, hard drive or other device into its USB port and share the files over the personal network. I spent another hour on the phone trying to manage it. A tech told me I needed extra software to access this feature through a laptop. But the software was not included; the user manual didn’t even reveal the need for it. And when I’d tracked down and installed the software, it didn’t work. If this is D-Link’s idea of a Mobile Companion, I think I’ll keep to myself.
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