Vodafone launches mobile Wi-Fi device


Vodafone joins Three in offering portable Wi-Fi but with added DLNA capabilities to allow file sharing between supported devices

Vodafone has introduced its own mobile Wi-Fi device that allows five Wi-Fi enabled devices to share content and access the internet via a mobile broadband connection.

The R201 is a Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) certified device that creates a Wi-Fi hotspot to allow digital content to be shared across a range of DLNA compatible devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, netbooks, TVs, radios and gaming devices.

Vodafone said the R201 can be used by small and home office workers to map network drives and share files. The operator said the R201 can also be used as a mini Linux server when an SD memory is inserted. The device supports SD memory cards up to 32GB.

The R201 features an onboard display which allows the user to monitor connectivity information, as well as battery strength, signal strength and the number of active connected devices.

DLNA is a standard used to enable the sharing of digital media between different consumer electronic devices.

The R201 is manufactured by Huawei, which also manufactures Three’s MiFi portable Wi-Fi device, and will be available across a number of international markets from September.

Three ‘s MiFi also allows five devices to connect to the internet via a local Wi-Fi hotspot, although is not DLNA certified.

A Vodafone spokesperson said the R201 will initially be targeted at key European markets such as the UK and the Netherlands, as well as other markets like Egypt and South Africa. The precise launch date of the R201 will be decided on a market-by-market basis as will cost, the spokesperson said.

Vodafone director of mobile broadband Huw Medcraft said: “By adding DLNA compatibility to the device, it becomes much more than a connection to the internet, by enabling users to connect to their other Wi-Fi enabled DLNA devices.

“We know that consumers in particular now have an array of Wi-Fi enabled devices that they use both at home and on the move.”