Another dot in the blogosphere?

Trying a travel router

Posted on: December 10, 2015

If you are reading this blog entry, this means that I was able to connect to the Internet a travel router I rented from Changi Recommends. (Full disclosure: I am not receiving payment of any kind to blog about this.)

Mobile router from Changi Recommends

I normally get a prepaid SIM card from the city I land in because this is almost always cheaper than my ISP’s ridiculous roaming fees and “special” packages. But since I was due to arrive late at night and deliver my keynote the very next morning, I thought it prudent to be prepared.

Reserving the router was straightforward. I filled in this online form and got both email and SMS notifications of my reservation.

You can also call, email, or use WhatsApp to make a reservation (see bottom of this page). Call only if you enjoy an automated voice wall.

Some plus factors:

  • There are collection and return counters that are open 24 hours a day at all three airport terminals in Changi. You must choose the collection counter, but you can return the device at any counter.
  • There is no charge for the first day of rental. This makes sense as you are likely to spend much of that day travelling to your destination.
  • The routers are preconfigured. Anyone who has used a mifi device should be at home with it. Anyone who has logged in to a public wifi hotspot should be comfortable following the simple instructions.
  • The package includes an external battery pack and international travel plug to keep the device juiced up.

Some minuses:

  • The extras bulk the package a bit. I like travelling light and every bit of space counts.
  • You cannot determine which provider you are on. This could mean that there are data caps you cannot control. There might also be dead spots depending on where you are (my hotel was in a 2G zone).
  • The administration panel of the mifi device is off limits. This means you cannot read the SMS that is sent to the SIM card.

As might be expected, the connection speed was good in main city areas. Expect spotty or effectively no connection elsewhere or inside old buildings.

On a more personal note, I find that old universities house not just old school practices, they have old houses that keep wireless signals at bay. It is a challenge to model connected strategies when I barely have a basic connection to the Internet.

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