November 5, 2007 WAAV has announced the AirBox CM3, a mobile broadband cellular router engineered to maintain a broadband speed connection on the go by turning any vehicle into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. The ruggedized mobile router provides an "always on" 3G link that allows multiple devices such as PDA's, laptops and gaming consoles to be connected simultaneously.
The AirBox uses a 3G digital cellular telephone network for an Internet connection, which in most areas is an EV-DO network - a type of high-speed 3G, or 3rd generation, cellular network. The EV-DO network averages speeds of 400-800 Kbps with bursts up to 2.4 Mbps, which are comparable to an average DSL or cable Internet connection. In areas where 3G cellular signals aren’t available, the AirBox will connect to the 2G network (called 1xRTT) with speeds averaging 120 Kbps. The external cellular antenna improves cellular reception for a faster Internet connection and when multiple cell towers are available, the AirBox connects to the highest speed tower.
Passengers can connect to the AirBox using one of the two Ethernet jacks or wirelessly using Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) with no additional software required. The AirBox, which has been proven reliable at over 100mph, provides an always-on Internet connection and supports connection from multiple devices, which can then access the Internet simultaneously. Even if the vehicle is stopped, the wireless connection will remain available up to 300 feet away.
The Airbox can be powered by the car cigarette lighter and, weighing the same as a paperback book, is small enough to be placed out of the way under a car seat. The portable device can also double as a wireless router for the home with an adapter available for connecting to standard electrical sockets.
For those in remote or rural areas the unit can be connected to a larger antenna or a signal booster that increases signal strength as well as increasing the bandwidth to the user. The Airbox also has built-in security features that provide a secure connection, allowing files to be transferred in assurance that the information is protected.
The Airbox CM3 from WAAV is available now at US$499, but buyers will also need a cellular data plan.