The idea is simple: plug in a data card into the router's USB port and it instantly creates a Wi-Fi hotspot wherever you are. At home or in office, multiple laptops can share the same data connection. You could provide wireless internet for Wi-Fi phones, iPods and tablets. On the move, your laptop and portable gadget continue to have internet access as long as your battery lasts.
It comes with a wall charger to keep plugged in at home/office. On the move, the battery is good enough to power it for a respectable 3 hours and 50 minutes (at least two devices were connected throughout this time in our testing). Aside from the portability, the biggest advantage is the savings it can offer.
Priced at 3,500, the Olive Nexus VR-9 could easily pay for itself over a few months.
Let's compare the costs involved: a 10GB nationwide plan from Reliance Netconnect Broadband Plus costs about Rs 1,200 per month (including taxes). However, if you take individual 3G SIM cards for your phone, tablet and laptop (each with a 3GB data limit per month), it will cost you Rs 950 each (including taxes) or Rs 2,850 per month. You'll get similar speeds to 3G, better and more consistent coverage (3G still has teething issues) and a saving of Rs 1,650 per month!
Another plus is that the router has surprisingly good range, despite not having an external antenna. It can easily cover a large hall (30 feet long by 40 feet wide) if there are no obstructions. But let's look at the downsides.
Initial setup for the Nexus VR-9 is a pain. For someone unfamiliar with how to set up a wireless router, setup will be very frustrating. The user manual is a PDF with a staggering 66 A4 pages of instructions. In a nutshell the process is: reset the router by pressing and holding the reset switch for 8 seconds (to clear any previous data), connect the router to a PC with an Ethernet cable, enter http://192.168.123.254 into a web browser to open the router settings and input all the necessary information (Wi-Fi network name, security protocols, Wi-Fi access passwords, dial numbers for whatever data card provider you are using, which are not provided, and your data card username and password).
Reboot the router and hopefully, it should work. If not, repeat from step 1. Some competition is Tata Photon's WiFi device, priced at Rs 6,599, it provides internet connectivity for up to 5 devices, has a 4-hour battery life and is a lot smaller than Olive's VR-9. Another option is Vodafone's R201 'MyFi' which costs Rs 5,500 and claims a battery life of 4 hours.
Apart from the lower cost, the Olive still gives you the advantage of choosing between a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, or just taking the USB data card and plugging it directly into a laptop.
Olive Nexus VR-9
Price: Rs 3,500
* 802.11b/g EVDO/HSPA router
* USB 2.0 port, multi user connectivity
* 1700mAh battery, carry case included
* Pros: Inexpensive, good range
* Cons: Frustrating initial setup process