My Network Go-Bag

I often get teased for taking so much tech hardware with me on trips—right up until the Wi-Fi at the hotel, conference center or rented house fails. I'm currently on vacation with my family and some of our friends from Florida, and our rental home has a faulty Wi-Fi router. Thankfully, I have a bag full of goodies for just this occasion. I don't really have a set "list" of items I carry, but generally I'll have the following:

  • Several Ethernet cables, various lengths.

  • A plug-in-the-outlet Wi-Fi extender.

  • A USB-powered Wi-Fi router/bridge/AP/extender.

  • Extension cables.

  • Large external battery with USB charging port.

  • Tablet (to look for Wi-Fi SSIDs, channels and signal levels).

  • RJ-45 crimper and ends (for fixing poorly crimped cables).

The USB-powered options are really due to a single incident where I had to put a Wi-Fi repeater in the middle of a field in order to reach a remote building. I tied the repeater and battery in a double-wrapped grocery bag and charged the battery every couple days. It felt like the wild wild west of networking.

As for our current vacation, my router is working well, and the third floor of the house has Internet access thanks to the repeater I installed on the second floor. At least for the duration of this trip, I don't expect to be teased for bringing so many nerdy accoutrements.

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Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.