July 21, 2008

Gateway to Faster Connection

By Lim Yeh Ern

AT a passing glance, the VigSys VR20 may look like your average wireless router, but it's basically a hybrid high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA)-Wi-Fi with a built-in Ethernet port and support for both 802.11b/g wireless standards. One antenna hooks you up to the HSDPA network while the other connects you to the local wireless network.

The operation is simple enough to understand; pop the SIM card under the router, power on and connect to router, browse to router's configuration page to configure some basic log in and security settings and you're done. The configuration page is reminiscent of D- Link's routers, with a basic firewall, port-forwarding and routing. It's basic alright, but it gets the job done.

If you are only using it for basic Internet connection, the bandwidth would basically be dependant on the HSDPA network's speed rather than the Wi-Fi bandwidth. Typically, three persons could be doing some casual browsing at any one time without bogging down the entire network. The whole idea is the ease of deploying this hybrid HSDPA-Wi-Fi network - small offices or especially if you're the nomad-type that never seem to stay long at any rented premise. At RM1,250 for the router, it's obvious you need to constantly move around to be able to afford it!

VigSys VR20 Wireless Data Gateway


* Size: 132mm by 36.5mm by 134mm

* Supported bands: Tri-band 850/1900/ 2100MHz HSDPA/ UTMS and Quad-band 850/900/1800/1900MHz EDGE/GPRS.

* Wireless support: 802.11b and 802.11g

* Ethernet port: Yes

* Features: Web administration, configuration page, DHCP, port forwarding, Internet access control, MAC/IP address filtering, support for VPN pass-through for PPTP and IPSEC.

* Price: RM1,250

UNLIKE most universal serial bus (USB-HSDPA) routers, the VigSys VM10 is big and square and was apparently designed that way to avoid the unit from overheating - though it does not have any additional ventilation slots.

Tested in a cool room, the VM10 was lukewarm to the touch within just an hour's worth of downloading operation which is normal for a standard USB- HSDPA router.

VigSys also uses the Mobilink connectivity software and the setup proved to be rather simple; just install the drivers from the provided CD, plug in and connect. Sadly, unlike the Huawei approach, there's no built-in software drivers in the read-only flash memory which makes sharing your USB router a constant hassle.

If you are upgrading from the first-generation PC Card hardware that shipped with your 3G subscription, then you should be able to see an increase in connectivity time and better bandwidth, if you already own an existing USB-HSPDA router, then it makes very little point to get the VM10. The product retails at RM699.

VigSys VM10 USB Data Gateway


* Size: 99mm by 18mm by 48mm

* Supported bands: Tri-band850/1900/ 2100MHz HSDPA UTMS and Quad- band 850/900/ 1800/1900MHz EDGE GPRS.

* Features: Plug-andplay, USB self-powered

* Price: RM699

(c) 2008 New Straits Times. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.