First Looks: ASUS WL-330NUL Pocket Router
Handy Travel Companion
ASUS might be more well-known for its computer components, notebooks and now tablets, but the company also has a very strong portfolio of networking products. For example, its RT-AC66U router was the winner of the best 802.11ac Wireless Router category in our 2013 Tech Awards.
More recently, ASUS has released what they call the world’s smallest router, the WL-330NUL Wireless-N Pocket Router. As befits its name, the WL-330NUL Pocket Router is small enough to fit your pocket, measuring just 6.5cm long and weighing just 17.5g. If you have trouble imagining just how big that is, think of it as a really big flash drive.
The ASUS WL-330NUL can be used in various ways. Obviously, it can be used simply as a router, and can be used to create a wireless hotspot with an Ethernet cable and a suitable power source. It draws its power via a USB port and can also be paired with a portable power bank. ASUS has also provided a handy wall adapter.
Alternatively, it can also be used as a USB Ethernet adapter for ultraportable notebooks that do not have a built-in Ethernet port, such as the MacBook Air. It can also be used as a wireless adapter with desktop machines that don’t have Wi-Fi capability. Finally, it can also function as a wireless bridge, thereby expanding the Wi-Fi coverage of an existing Wi-Fi network, much like a Wi-Fi extender.
The WL-330NUL is both PC and Mac compatible, but PC users are required to complete a utility install before the router will work, whereas the router will work with Macs right out of the box. Setup was really simple thanks to the user-friendly web setup interface. The various options are clearly labeled and are self-explanatory.
As for specifications, the ASUS WL-330NUL Pocket Router supports 802.11 b/g/n but only on the 2.4GHz band. ASUS claims a maximum data rate of up to 150Mbps on 802.11n standard. In our testing of its 802.11n performance, we managed to download a 1GB test file from our host machine in around 4 minutes and 35 seconds. Though this is lower than what a full-fledged router would achieve, it is respectable considering the WL-330NUL’s size.
All in all, we think that the ASUS WL-330NUL Pocket Router is useful device that is perhaps most suited for users who have Ultrabooks with no built-in Ethernet ports or for travelers. It’s small size makes it easy to carry while it ability to create and share a wireless hotspot is no doubt useful when traveling, especially if the hotel only provides a wired Internet connection. Furthermore, at S$59, it is also fairly affordable.