Here’s a versatile little gizmo from Asus. The 802.11b WL-330 can fit in your pocket yet act as an access point, or using a little switch, work to connect to an existing wireless infrastructure using your Ethernet connection. The unit itself is slightly bigger than a Swan Vestas box of matches, comes with a very short Ethernet cable, and a small power supply. It also comes with a little case to bung in all of this kit if you’re wandering the planet. It weighs just over two ounces.
You can configure it to work as either a main access point connected to your Internet tap, or else you can flip a little switch at the bottom of the case, plug it into your notebook and then set it up to connect to a wireless infrastructure.
The unit comes with a multingual instruction manual and with a CD containing the software, which is Windows only, as far as we can see.
The set up software lets you configure your WL330 as either an access point or an Ethernet connection, and guides you through the configuration needed to connect.
The little light grey box has three green LEDs on the front to tell you whether you’re switched on, and/or you’re in AP or in Ethernet mode.
Configuring wireless access points can be a bit of a fiddle ? we’re still in Internet Protocol land here ? but the manual’s got enough info to make sure you don’t get into too much bother.
The Ethernet mode we tested, however, only took a jiffy to set up. If you’ve a need for an access point and a little unit to tote around with you if your notebook doesn’t have any wi-fi built in, this might be the unit for you.
The unit can also be configured to talk to wireless clients and other APs in your location, so you can integrate multiple wireless networks. You can do this by using the Access Control page, which works via a browser, and set the AP mode to hybrid active. This lets you enter the MAC addresses of the target APs you want to bridge.
Some criticisms. The build of the WL 330 is light plastic. The advantage is that makes it very portable and lightweight. But we could easily see this thing cracking if you dropped it on the floor and accidentally stepped on it. The manual assumes a certain degree of knowledge about wireless networks. As we’ve said, the Ethernet cable is very short ? about a foot or so ? again good for portability but maybe not so good under other circumstances.
But compared to the size of offerings from Belkin, Linksys or other APs we’ve seen, and its versatility, this really is a tiny little baby, and did everything we asked it to.