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3G router serves both wired and wireless users

Feb 11, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

NetGear announced a Linux-based 3G mobile router developed in collaboration with Ericsson. The NetGear MBRN3300E 3G Mobile Broadband Router combines an internal 3G radio, an 802.11n WiFi access point, an Ethernet swtich, and four Ethernet ports, sharing 3G bandwidth over WiFi and Ethernet, says the company.

Like the Novatel Wireless MiFi, the MBRN3300E Mobile Broadband Router is intended for sharing 3G bandwidth among wireless users, but it can also share bandwidth with wired LAN users. The MBRN3300E combines an Ericsson 3G HSPA or EV-DO mobile broadband radio with a NetGear 802.11n access point, a 10/100Mbps Ethernet switch, four Ethernet ports, and a firewall, says NetGear.

NetGear MBRN3300E 3G Mobile Broadband Router

According to NetGear, the MBRN3300E is designed for locations that lack wired infrastructure, or for customers who want a backup alternative for existing broadband networks. The technology is also said to be suitable for Internet access from trains, buses, automobiles, RVs, or boats, says NetGear. In some locations, 3G service is even competitive with other broadband options on both price and bandwidth, the company claims.

The MBRN3300E is also said to be useful for establishing temporary guest networks. With its multiple SSID feature, users can set up a dedicated network for guests to provide access to the Internet, while blocking other resources and files on the network, says NetGear. 

MBRN3300E detail

(Click to enlarge)

NetGear would not divulge the processor or internal memory specifics of the device, but a spokesperson did confirm that the device runs an embedded Linux operating system. The MBRN3300E offers four 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports, and on/off switches for both power and 3G/WiFi operation. A car-power charger and battery pack are optional.

Measuring 6.9 x 4.7 x 1.1 inches (280 x 150 x 50mm), compared to 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches for the MiFi 2200, the MBRN3300E weighs 1.3 pounds (0.6 grams), says the company. The device is said to run on 12VDC power, and operate at temperatures of 32 to 104 deg. F (0 to 40 deg. C).

Key features touted for the MBRN3300E include:

  • Live parental controls and content filtering
  • Firewall with SPI  (stateful packet inspection), VPN pass-through, and Denial of Service protection
  • Port forwarding settings and Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)
  • Remote web management, command line interface, network management and maintenance utilities
  • Guest networks (multiple SSID) capability to enable customers to set up multiple wireless networks within a home or small business
  • Automatic QoS (quality of service) for reliable video, voice and gaming
  • Broadband usage meter to measure Internet downloads, offering customized alerts when close to a monthly bandwidth threshold
  • Push 'N' Connect with industry-standard WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) for securely connecting devices at the touch of a button
  • Supports PCs, Macintosh computers, and "virtually all Ethernet devices"

While similar in purpose to the more consumer focused MiFi (pictured at right in its recent MiFi 2532 incarnation), the MBRN3300E primarily targets business and service provider customers, and offers more powerful routing and firewall capabilities. While the MiFi tops out at five users per device, the NetGear device shares a single IP address with up to 253 users. (Then again, sharing a typical 3G connection with 252 other workmates might make one pine for the good old days of 14.4K dialup.)

The MiFi is more portable, however, with an internal battery that offers four hours of active use and 40 hours of standby. Other features not found on the NetGear device include GPS, a MicroSD slot supporting up to 16GB cards, and, as of last August, an open source API set and development platform.

Then again, it would not be surprising if NetGear opened up the MBRN3300E as well. In October, NetGear announced a Wireless-N (802.11n) router supported by its open source Linux development platform and "" community. The NetGear RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router with USB (WNR3500L) offers an 802.11n WiFi access point, boasting up to 300Mbps bandwidth, five gigabit Ethernet ports, and USB storage access.

Stated Michael Clegg, VP and GM of the NetGear Service Provider Business Unit, "This collaboration furthers our position with mobile operators, and the resulting mobile platform can be migrated to higher speeds and enabled with added features going forward."

Stated Mats Norin, VP of Mobile Broadband Modules at Ericsson, "Mobile broadband connectivity over HSPA in routers opens up new opportunities in yet-untapped home, SOHO and semi-nomadic user scenarios."


The NetGear MBRN3300E 3G Mobile Broadband Router is shipping now at an undisclosed price, says the company. More information may be found here.

NetGear will demonstrate the MBRN3300EE in the Ericsson pavilion, Hall 6, during the GSMA Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Feb. 15-18.

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