Have you ever wished your router was smaller than a hockey puck? Have you ever wished you could split your hotel room’s Ethernet to multiple devices? And, have you ever wished that conference venues would simply cough up half-decent WiFi?

Well, ask and you shall receive.

TP Link nano router
(Image: TP-Link).

Features

At 2.2″ x 2.2″ x 0.7″, the TP-LINK Wireless N Nano Router is not the world’s smallest travel router, but it comes close. And for its size, it does a decent job.

On paper, the Nano doesn’t sacrifice basic features. For something that came out late 2014, its specs are standard, if a little dated. It only supports the slower 2.4 GHz WiFi band, not the increasingly common 5 GHz band. But at the $20 price tag, that may be asking too much.

The router also supports standard WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK encryptions. While for our review we only tested the device’s default Access Point (AP) mode by plugging it into our company Ethernet, you can also configure it to work in Router, Client, Bridge or Repeater modes.

 

TP-Link nano router
(Image: TP-Link).

Usage

The Nano is mainly meant for places that have spotty WiFi but give you an Ethernet cable.  This includes some hotel rooms, businesses and conference rooms, and for that, the router works fairly well.

With the Nano N connected to our company Ethernet, we were getting good speeds with just a couple of devices connected at close range.  Connecting a handful of devices or a longer range does slow it down, but not to a crawl.  It’s not meant for a multi-room space though, as walls block much of the signal.

Here are some average speeds for comparison:

Company Wifi TP-LINK Wifi
On laptop:DOWNLOAD: 87.57Mb/sUPLOAD: 63.23Mb/sPING: 0 ms On laptop: (Right beside the router)DOWNLOAD: 41.74Mb/sUPLOAD: 46.67Mb/sPING: 5 ms
On cell phone:DOWNLOAD: 13.8 Mb/sUPLOAD: 10.7 Mb/sPING: 12 ms On cell phone (right beside the router):DOWNLOAD: 33.8 Mb/sUPLOAD: 50.4Mb/sPING: 10 ms
On cell phone (15m range, mild obstructions):DOWNLOAD: 9.6 Mb/sUPLOAD: 2.6 MbpsPING:  19 ms
On cell phone (15m range, major obstructions – a couple of walls/doors):DOWNLOAD: 2.9 Mb/sUPLOAD: 1 Mb/sPING:  13 ms

Setup is also easy; it’s mostly plug and play.  The router comes pre-encrypted with an SSID and a password that is thankfully only eight characters long.  If you decide you would like to customize the network’s name and password, it’s fairly straightforward.

The package comes with an AC adapter, but the Ethernet and micro USB cables that were included were quite short.  Fortunately the device can be powered by a computer’s USB port to solve some of this issue.

However, given that it plugs into your PC, it would have been nice to have that last option of sharing your computer’s internet connection over USB.  This is offered in a couple of other travel routers that are around the same size or even smaller.

TP Link router
(Image: TP-Link).

 

Bottom line

At $20 bucks or less, the TP-LINK Wireless N Nano Router is a good value.  It’s more like an accessory to your gadgets than its own device and can easily be left in your pocket or a travel bag.  Don’t expect it to replace any full-sized routers powering your business, but it may just help you out in a pinch.

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