The Nintendo DS, my current favourite game console (and much to Jay’s chagrin, time-suck) has a great online service called NintendoWiFi. It’s free, and there are some great games you can play online, like Mario Kart DS, and a wierd but oddly addictive game called Animal Crossing: Wild World.
Unfortunately for me, though, their WiFi service isn’t completely compatible with the wireless router we have at home. a D-Link DI-524 (type A). Although Nintendo’s support site says the router isn’t supported, I got it to work by downgrading the transmit rate of the router to 2Mbps using the online configuration tool (on the Advanced / Performance screen). But that slows down our regular web browsing, so I had to reconfigure the router every time I wanted to play a game, which was a pain.
But something I discovered recently is that Apple’s Airport Express solves this problem for me. We have an Airport Express, and on my recent trip to New York I took it along. I figured I could plug it into the fixed ethernet in the hotel room, and then have wifi available so I could comfortably work on my laptop anywhere in the room. It worked like a dream. As a great side effect, I also noticed that I can use it to play NintendoWiFi games with my DS (which of course I bring on every business trip). I just had to configure the DS to connect to the access point created by the Airport Express.
This solves my router problem at home, too. Now, when I’m at home, I just connect the Airport Express to one of the cable outputs from the DLink router using a short ethernet cable. That means we have two access points: I just configure the DS connect to the Airport Express instead of the DLink router, and continue to use the DLink router at full speed for regular web activity. If you’re having trouble getting online with the DS this might work for you too. The Airport Express is kinda pricey though — especially compared to Nintendo’s USB-based access point — but if you don’t want to have a desktop PC running every time you play your DS online, or if you just want an Airport Express for travelling, it might be a good solution.