La Fonera Unboxed
Well, that was quick. I received my La Fonera router from FON yesterday, and have taken shots of everything for you all to check out. Even though the pictures speak for themselves, my quick review will hopefully answer any questions that remain about the device and its features. So let's get started...
The box art is clean and simple...
Everything's packaged nice and neat...
Contents include the router La Fonera, power supply, flat CAT5 cable [6 ft.], quick installation guide, and software CD. [There was supposed to be two FON stickers, but they somehow failed to make it into my kit]
The CD contains the quick installation guide [pdf] and a [2 year] warranty statement.
As you can see, the antenna is the standard detachable type. [Someone was bound to ask about it]
Here's a size comparison of the access point next to the Nokia 770. [really small]
Here's an "in-the-hand" view to further show how small it is. [I think I have average size hands]
Okay, on to the main review...
Everything was pretty simple to set up. I connected it to our Linksys Compact Wireless-G Broadband Router without a hitch. I had to tweak a few security settings to get it recognized by the FON service, but nothing too heavy. The web-based configuration is clean and allows you to change various settings, but it's just as easy to change settings from the FON website. The firmware version is 0.7.0 r2 for those wanting to know.
I was surprised at the signal range of the little router. It's a bit stronger than the Linksys router that has an external antenna. The new FON router sports dual SSID and uses WPA for strong wireless encryption for the private "MyPlace" side of things and an unsecured "FON_AP" on the public access point side. The router itself is 802.11b/g at 2.4 GHz.
The people at FON might have a winner on their hands with this little guy. The build quality is good, it's simple to set up, and is amazingly compact considering it's more like two access points for a fraction of the price for just one [$5 + tax and shipping]. They may not sell a whole lot of these things as secondary wireless solutions for those that already have a wireless router, but they may have a potential market with wired network owners and small to medium sized business owners that want provide yet another service from their offerings. I could also see ISPs bundling these into their services as well. With all that said, I think FON did it right.
Well, that about covers it. All questions about the kit are welcome.
Links: [digg story]