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Compact Kanex MySpot extends an Ethernet network to Wi-Fi

Glenn Fleishman | Jan. 14, 2013
Kanex's $60 MySpot aims to let you easily create a secure Wi-Fi network in a hotel room or any other location where you have an ethernet port that provides automatically assigned IP addresses. This seems like a marvelous idea, but the MySpot doesn't quite live up to the promise on scrutiny.

The MySpot comes preconfigured to accept a DHCP-provided address over ethernet, and to allow Wi-Fi access without any password. Configuring the device is a bit convoluted, and the printed directions included in the box at the time of this review didn't actually work. The company provided me with updated information that was correct; a representative told me Kanex will update its website with newer screen captures, and will later update the printed details included with the MySpot.

With a MySpot connected via ethernet to an active network, the device can't be configured, even by pointing your Web browser to the address assigned by the network--a method used by many non-Apple wireless access points. Rather, one has to unplug the ethernet cable, connect your computer or mobile device to the MySpot via Wi-Fi, and then configure TCP/IP.

For example, using a Mac, I had to open System Preferences' Network pane, choose the MySpot-created Wi-Fi network, click Advanced, click the TCP/IP tab, choose Using DHCP with Manual Address from the Configure IPv4 pop-up menu, and then enter the address 192.168.1.224. I then clicked OK and then Apply. This let me connect to the MySpot via a Web browser (using 192.168.1.225 as the address) to view an abbreviated configuration page where I could set a WEP key (only using text or ASCII characters in the password), change part of the MySpot's network name, or set an IP address.

Changes don't take place immediately, and you may need to unplug the MySpot from power and then plug it back in again to get a new network name or password to work. Given that once you set a password, you may never need to modify it again, you might only go through this set of steps one time. But it could be far easier. (Once I was done, I had to switch my Mac's network settings back to Using DHCP.)

Bottom line

It's difficult to review the $60 MySpot without comparing it to Apple's $99 2012 AirPort Express, which sports simultaneous dual 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11n networking and WPA2 security. The Express is a bit larger at 4 inches square by an inch tall, is a bit heavier at 9 ounces, and requires AC power, but it also has 802.11n throughput and the advantage of range and coverage that come with multiple antennas and greater power. If your main concern is size and weight, and you want to save $40, the MySpot fits the bill, but the AirPort Express offers modern standards and easier configuration.

 

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