Though more hotels and airports are offering free Wi-Fi, the service is often spotty at best. These portable routers let you create wireless networks wherever you go.

VERIZON MIFI 2200 INTELLIGENT MOBILE HOTSPOT

The most compact option, this 2.5-ounce device (pictured left) can run on battery power for up to four hours of active use. It supports up to five Wi-Fi devices or users simultaneously but only within a 30-foot radius. Cost: $99, plus Verizon broadband service fees, starting at $40 a month

ZYXEL MWR222

This 6-ounce router can connect to DSL and cable lines via a modem and automatically switch to Wi-Fi if wired connections fail. It supports an unlimited number of users within 200 feet and can run on battery power for about two hours. Unlike the MiFi, it requires the use of a separate broadband card from a service provider. Cost: $299

CRADLEPOINT MBR900

This 12-ounce router, which also requires a mobile broadband card, can support up to 30 users within a 600-foot radius. Like the ZyXEL, it can connect to DSL and cable lines via a modem and has an automatic failover feature, but it does not have a battery. Cost: $150