Hands On: D-Link Shareport Go III Portable Router

If you caught my Amazon Fire TV review, you may be surprised to know that I tested the hot new media player while on the road (and it performed near flawlessly) from two different hotel rooms. The only way I could have done this is with D-Link’s latest portable router model, the DIR-510L.

Hotels may offer free Wi-Fi, but in order to connect to it, typically guests must enter login information or agree to terms of service. A media player like Fire TV, a Chromecast Dongle, a Roku HDMI, or an Apple TV, can find the Wi-Fi, but has no way to navigate past the required splash page. The private network created by the DIR-510L makes it possible to finally stream in hotel (and many motel) rooms as long as you brought an HDMI cable and can access the ports on the TV in the room.

Like previous Shareport Go models, this third generation model can connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi and create a private network that shares the internet connection with other devices. Be sure to add a password to both the admin login and to keep other guests from accessing your Wi-Fi network. With the DIR-510L, D-Link has gotten it right and created a portable router that is easy to configure and works as well as your home network router.

D-Link made a number of changes in the Shareport Go III beginning with its user interface. Instead of screens filled with obscure menus, there is a graphic representing connection to the Internet, the DIR-510L, and devices.

To connect the portable router to the hotel’s Wi-Fi, first connect a laptop, smartphone or tablet to the hotel’s Wi-Fi. It may require a sign in or a splash page to agree to terms of service. Switch the network on the laptop or mobile device to the powered-on DIR-510L. Type the router’s IP address “192.168.0.1” into the web browser of the device, and the graphic appears. Click on the Internet icon and the DIR-510L automatically connects to the Internet through its connection to the laptop or mobile device. It’s ready to stream.

If you connect all your devices to the private D-Link WiFi, you can stream from one to another—a Kindle Fire HDX to the Kindle Fire TV, an iPad to an Apple TV, or from most smartphones or tablets to a Chromecast dongle. Of course, you can also stream directly to Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, or other apps on the media player.

When testing the DIR-510L, there was no degradation of Internet speed. At the Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Internet speed was a screaming 20 Mbps. I was able to stream to the Amazon Fire TV in full 1080p. At the Adoba Eco Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota the internet speeds hovered around 3 Mbps, but I was still able to stream standard-definition videos easily. Even the Super 8 in Columbus, Nebraska provided a decent 10 Mbps that was more than adequate for high-definition movies.

The Shareport Go III has a couple of other handy features. Plug in a Flash drive or external hard drive (FAT32 or NTFS, but not a Mac formatted drive), and play movies, music or view photos in the Shareport app for iOS or Android. You can also upload or download media to the drive connected to the DIR-510L. I have a flash drive filled with movies that I bring when I travel. I connected it to D-Link, and played The Secret Life of Walter Mitty on my iPad using the Shareport app. Mirroring the iPad to my Apple TV, connected to the TV to the flatscreen (hardly a big screen as it was at the Super 8), I was able to kick back and watch the movie. (And, yes, I travel with all of the smaller media players that fit into a pocket in my backpack, so I can work from the road.)

The portable router is rechargeable and has a USB port for connecting and charging mobile devices as well as running for four hours without being plugged in.

Now that all of my devices recognize the DIR-510L, it is easy to connect and start streaming when I get to a new hotel. I set up the router, and all of my devices connect to it. Not only can I connect my Chromecast, a portable Wi-Fi network eliminates the problem where some hotels limit the number of devices that can be connected from each room. The D-Link is a home run. I won’t leave home without it.

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