Today I updated the firmware on my GL-Inet MT-300N v2 “Mango” travel router, and while I had it out I decided to measure its power consumption.
For those who don’t know, a travel router makes it easier to securely use a temporary internet connection, like that provided by a hotel, and share it among multiple devices. The hardware specs on the GL-MT-300Nv2 are modest, but sufficient, it is compact (about the volume of a deck of playing cards), and inexpensive ($20.49 on Amazon). The firmware is based on a recent release of OpenWRT with a UI optimized for use as a travel router. For those who want it, the standard OpenWRT Luci interface is available.
I decided to test the power consumption because my tiny solar power station (~18W panel, 120Wh LiIon battery), was generating more power than it could store and I’d already finished charging my phone for the day. As I unplugged my phone’s charging cable, I noticed that the USB-powered router was right there, so I plugged it in instead and reset my USB power meter.
Once the router started up and I connected my laptop to it over wifi, I noted the power consumption was about ~1.3-1.5W. I ran an Internet speed test from my laptop and the power consumption bumped up slightly. After an hour, the cumulative power consumption was ~1.4Wh. I connected the router to ethernet to see if that made an obvious difference in the power consumption; it didn’t.
Based on these crude measurements, I think it’s safe to say that the GL-Inet GL-MT-300Nv2 uses less than 2W on average. That means that, if necessary, it could run for >3h off a typical small USB power bank, and could probably run directly off a ~$15 6-7W solar panel with USB output through most of a summer day.
I didn’t check the power consumption while using the router as a VPN gateway, which is probably the most CPU intensive use of a travel router. The manufacturer’s specs for power input are 1A @ 5v, which works out to 5W, so thats the limit on peak power draw, and would only be reached during the peaks of VPN use. Peak VPN speeds are in-turn limited by the CPU’s performance, which limits peak VPN speed to ~10Mbps.