ZyXel Gives You 3G Everywhere; Plus More

ZyXel Gives You 3G Everywhere; Plus More

mwr222_p2Move over NETGEAR and Linksys. ZyXel (pronounced ZEE-cell) is promoting a mobile wireless router (MWR) with more options than you can shake a stick at. I think it has the potential to change the way you (and your customers) use the mobile Internet. Here's why.

ZyXel claims to have the first palm-sized portable wireless 11n device, but with a twist. It's not the typical mobile wireless router you're used to. It's equipped with two USB ports and two ethernet ports. This enables a multitude of features and configurations from LAN to WAN for airports or hotels. But the crown-jewel of these features is the ability to plug in your standard USB mobile broadband adapter and share that out to a mini WiFi hotspot. But there's more: the MWR-222 also will monitor your bandwidth usage and e-mail you when you're about to go over your monthly quota.

The ZyXel offering also lets you set up for a disaster scenario since it's also battery powered. Imagine running a mobile POS unit, or simply working at home during a storm. You've got your MWR-222 setup running as a regular WiFI router, but suddenly the power dies. Battery kicks in, and the fail-over feature on the router switches your internet from the land-line to the 3G USB device you've got plugged in. Your laptop hums away. Life is beautiful (at least for two hours).

ZyXel says that connectivity is the main theme of their device. It seems apparent. With a rubberized shell, it's built for travel, too. Worried about security? Don't be. ZyXel worked with openDNS to provide protection against phising and spam, along with a built-in firewall on the on-board software.

The MWR brand comes in a few flavors, too. Though the 222 represents the best of the best, but there's also the 211. Essentially, it's the same thing, except with only 1 USB and 1 ethernet port. Then, for the home-users, there's the 215, which acts more like a traditional router.

It'll be available to consumers and VARs alike coming Q1 of 2010. MSRP coming soon.

There's a little bit more from ZyXel also: The SHG-Family, the "smart home gateway" is similar to the MWR-222 in hardware, but under the cover it's an entirely different beast. Coming  Q2 2010, ZyXel has been working with VARs and partners for custom applications for the device. Mainly, ZyXel offered some initial health-care potentials, where the SHG can monitor blood sugar, vitals, and other important health data and communicate that securely over the internet to health care providers. They're working to integrate Bluetooth into it as well.

We'll be on the lookout for ZyXel after the Consumer Electronics Show (January 2010) to see if these products live up to their on-paper potential.

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