Review: An afternoon with Autonet

autonet.jpg

Autonet is a 3G-enabled cellular router intended for use on the road: a mobile hotspot that provides Wi-Fi coverage for your car and anyone tailgating it.

It roams seamlessly on CDMA networks, including Evdo Rev. A: in testing, speeds generally hovered around 500 kbps, fast enough for YouTube and general web use, but not for HD streaming.

Pros:
+ It worked, without fail and without drops, throughout hilly Pittsburgh.
+ $30 a month for 3G data is cheap, though it’s capped at a gig of transfer a month. If you want more, it’s $60 a month, just like a normal 3G modem.
+ 1 year contract short by U.S. standards for CDMA carriers.

Cons:
- Takes a minute or two to activate when you turn the engine on, and has no internal battery. So it’s great for road trips, but not so much for keeping the kids busy while you zip around town.
- It’s nearly as big as the smallest desktop computers, and much uglier.
- There’s a splash page every time you hook up to it, like the free Wifi in hotels and malls.
- $400 for the machine: pricey.

Product Page [Autonetmobile]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

 

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7 Responses to Review: An afternoon with Autonet

  1. dculberson says:

    Would it be safe to assume that’s 500Kbps? Because 500Mbps for $60/month would be pretty incredible. Especially wirelessly! And a 1gb cap for $30/mo would be hilarious – used up in a few seconds.

  2. dculberson says:

    Oh, and: A splash page on something you own and pay a service contract for? That’s ugly!

  3. dculberson says:

    This is a Really Cool device, though, and has its applications. Too bad about the cap and/or price.

  4. zuzu says:

    I just want an app for my BlackBerry Bold that uses my data plan and share it over the built-in 802.11 Wi-Fi (rather than tethering with Bluetooth).

    In the car I use a power inverter with a USB port in it to charge my BlackBerry, so I’m not worried about draining my battery life then.

  5. Rob Beschizza says:

    Oop, fixed the mbps/kbps mindfart.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Not for the traveler. A call to tech support is needed every time I move more than 30 miles. Verizon locks the signal to a tower cluster. Verizon has to grant an unlock to every new tower cluster so tech support calls them every time I call. Internet is down for usually 24 hours every time I move, which is almost daily.
    My verdict is POS…

  7. n5berm says:

    I’ve been running a mobile hotspot for almost a year with Morose Media’s WiFiRouter on my HTC phone. Running wifi and 3G simult still drains the battery even when plugged in. It’s my favorite app for road trips.

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