There is a happy ending to the saga – it’s due to the arrival of the Netcomm MyZone.
In Australia it’s currently only available via the Apple online store or at any of the Apple retail stores.
It costs $299 (Australia) and for the price it is very effective at what it does.
So what is it?
The MyZone does two things, firstly a portable wifi device that allows up to 10 simultaneous wifi connections (read: iPhone, iPad, all of those iPod Touch users that have been crying out of internet access out of the home).
Secondly it is a 3G modem. So instead of using one of the many USB stick devices to get mobile 3G the MyZone does the job for you over wifi instead.
It is the saviour I have been looking for to get mobile with my wifi only iPad.
Setup of the device is _really_ simple, I purchased a Telstra pre-paid sim (ok the Telstra part was 2 phone calls and a bit of messing around but we can’t blame the MyZone for that), once the sim was activated it was a matter of inserting it into the MyZone and it just worked.
Like any wireless access point you do want to spend some time putting a good strong password on it, both to access it over wifi and replace the standard admin:admin username and password. This is all managed with a great web interface.
There are two versions of the web interface. One that lets you do the above basic setup, then an advanced interface that lets you really get under the bonnet, you can configure DHCP, NTP, NAT, routing and many other similar options. While I want to have all of that on an office or home access point I haven’t really tinkered with it on this, although I am sure some users will want to play with these.
So it does actually give you an option when thinking about an iPad purchase. You could buy the 3G model and have wireless while out and about, or stick with the wifi only model and hook it up to the MyZone. The later does have the advantage in that you can share the 3G connection with other devices like a laptop or iPhone.