A reader wrote to ask if we'd ever heard of his dream product: a lightweight, travel size Wi-Fi AP router: Willie travels a lot and often meets with employees in a hotel room. He'll connect his Mac to the wired network and share the connection wirelessly with his workers. But that tethers his Mac. The AirPort Extreme Base Station would work perfectly for his needs, but it's too big and requires a large power adapter--inconvenient when on the road.
His ideal product would be travel size and act as a router and preferably as a bridge (wired to wireless). It should have at least one LAN port and a WAN Ethernet port.
The wired-to-wireless bridging function is important for Willie because it makes it possible to use certain file sharing functions, like the Mac's Rendezvous services, with other users who are on the wireless and wired networks. Some wireless gateways support wired users through a built-in Ethernet switch, but they don't necessarily create a single logical network. Some offer this as a checkbox option in configuration.
He tried the Netgear WRG614 recently and while it is compact it doesn't work as a bridge and apparently self-destructed after 12 hours of use. The Netgear router had a tiny power adapter, which Willie found to be an ideal yet rarely found item.
Willie supposes and we agree that he can't be the only one who would find his ideal product useful. Does anyone know of anything like this that’s available or in development?
Update: We have some candidates.
Ken Burner suggested the APC Wireless Mobile Router 802.11b, which can be powered via an APC USB adapter, which is part of their very cool TravelPower Case. The product was announced in Nov. 2003, but I can't find a place to buy it in the US, only Australia.
There's the ASUS WL-330 Pocket Access Point, which has most of the necessary features and costs just $70 via ESC Technologies.