Getting a jump on Mobile World Congress, which takes place next week, Netgear and Ericsson jointly announced the MBRN3300, a router that allows users to connect via either Wi-Fi or 3G.
On the surface, the MBRN3300 is a standard 802.11n router, with four Ethernet ports and an AC adapter. But it also has an integrated 3G HSPA module, which would allow users to also connect to the Internet using mobile broadband, rather than Ethernet-based connectivity.
While this feature doesn’t make much sense for home use, it could come in handy for business travelers who find themselves in places– say, the occasional hotel room — where there’s no wireless or wired Internet connection or where that connection is prohibitively expensive.
Verizon and Sprint offer similar products with their MiFi modems. The MiFis turn a 3G signal into a Wi-Fi hotspot and they’re higly portable. The boon to the MiFi devices is that they require no AC adapter. The benefit of the MBRN3300 is that can also connect to cable or DSL modems via Ethernet and act like a traditional router.
Pricing for the MBRN3300, as well as monthly fees, will depend on the carriers that pick it up. For now, we don’t know who those carriers will be, though its support of HSPA means that it will only work with AT&T and T-Mobile here in the U.S.