Spot the hot spot
Testing two new ways to go wireless on the road.
by Matthew Terranova, FSB Magazine

(FORTUNE Small Business Magazine) - If you travel for business as much as I do, you probably spend more time looking for a high-speed Internet connection than you do looking for your hotel.

Two new gadgets from Linksys promise to change that: the All-in-One USB Network Adapter with Wi-Fi Finder, and the Wireless-G Travel Router with SpeedBooster.

I tested them out in private and public hot spots as well as in a few hotels. Here's what I found.

The All-in-One USB Network Adapter with Wi-Fi Finder ($129.99) is a pocket-sized device designed to allow users to look for available hot spots without turning on their laptops.

If its user-friendly wireless network scanner finds one, then you can plug its USB network adapter into your PC and get connected. And it works like a charm.

The first time I used the device in New York City, it found three networks within ten seconds. The LCD display showed all the pertinent information - the networks' names, signal strength, and channels, whether they were password-protected - in an easy-to-read format, in order of signal strength, all while I was ordering my coffee.

The network adapter worked solidly but unremarkably; the connection it provided was weaker and slower than the one that I could get from my laptop's internal adapter.

The Wireless-G Travel Router with SpeedBooster ($99.99) takes a different approach. Rather than finding networks, it lets you create your own from any landline, courtesy of its Wireless-G access point and router.

I found this enormously simple to use: Just plug it in and connect it to a broadband Internet service cable. The speed is comparable to plugging directly into a broadband network.

Still, I prefer the All-in-One USB Network Adapter with Wi-Fi Finder. Turning a land-based Internet connection into a hot spot is pretty cool, but being able to find and tap into other networks - wherever you are - is downright addictive.

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Rhode Island sets out to have the first statewide wireless network. Find out more.

Will San Franciscans pay for Wi-Fi with their privacy? Click hereTop of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.