HooToo TripMate Nano travel router


I haven't seen routers mentioned much here, but some of us need to take them on trips. I'd say the most common reason is to use the Ethernet connection at lodgings and broadcast it as wifi so you can use tablets and smartphones. But there are other uses. I've been using an older Airport Express for this, but it requires an inverter and it isn't that useful now that Apple doesn't have software to configure it (tip: avoid Apple routers).

So I got this one instead, the HooToo TripMate Nano HT-TM02 travel router. Does b/g/n 2.4 ghz wifi and 100gb Ethernet, and can act as an access point, bridge or router from say a cable modem. Lots of stuff does that, but what sets this apart are the following:

It uses USB power. You can run it off your computer's USB port, or a plug into your 12v system. Or get the HT-TM01 version, which has a built in 5200mAH battery built in.

It's super small, about 2"x2"x5/8". Has one Ethernet WAN port and one micro (?) USB port for power.

It also has a USB connection port. This means you can attach storage to it: USB thumbdrive, SD card with USB reader, USB drive (with external power; not enough from the TripMate to drive HDs). It might work with cellular USB dongles, but I don't know and that's not in the documentation.

It has is an associated app from HooToo you can use with iOS or Android to access the storage that's connected to the TripMate. Super easy to use, and surprisingly useful.

It's cheap; about $25.

I found it extremely easy to use. It runs a Linux BusyBox firmware, and the web interface is very clear, with wizards for different connection types, and common settings. I think it's a better interface than my Express. The documentation is fine. You probably don't have to be extremely well versed in how to set up routers to get this going. Signal strength was impressive for such a little box. It only takes a sec to set it up to act as an access point for an Internet connection coming from Ethernet, or to connect to wifi Internet and rebroadcast it as new network in bridge mode. I couldn't find a repeater mode, but I'm working on that. It might be flashable with OpenWRT or Tomato. You can also manipulate files in attached USB storage, and download them to your computer or mobile device. The web interface has a picture viewer too.

It also has a DLNA server built in. So I moved files into a folder on my thumbdrive, pointed the server to those, and then was able to view them and play them on my PS3. Cool.

I've found some uses for this I didn't think of when I bought it. First, it's now really easy to share my pictures with pals around the campfire. Everyone can access them if I just plug the card into the TripMate. You've got your own little campfire LAN. And I have iOS devices. Unfortunately, they sorta suck in that you have to use an adapter to get at photos on SD cards, and other types of files aren't easily imported. There are some bluetooth solutions, and even some peer to peer solutions(AirDrop), but working with other mobile devices, etc often required you have cell access or a network or whatever. Now you can store maps, pdfs, photos, music and whatever in one place and everyone nearby can easily share. It's a good way I can make copies of photos without having to store them on a mobile device and yet have them easily available.

The other use is for extending range. I seem to have more devices that broadcast their own network. Think EyeFi cards, OBD readers, and most frequently, cameras. Since I can run this TripMate off a battery I can extend the reach of those devices if they play nice with a LAN, and many do (haven't tried it with the OBD readers and apps yet since I haven't really had any reason to).

I only wish it had a port for an antenna. With a directional you could snatch a public wifi signal quite a ways away and share it 'round, or get it to your more remote campsite.

Support from HooToo is pretty responsive. Better than I got with Apple for my Express.... Check these out if you need a travel router. Or heck, even if you need another access point around the house.



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