USB device allows travelers to stay connected to home country

If you connect to the Internet while traveling outside the borders of your own country, you know the vagaries on international connectivity. Now, a new electronic device is available that will allow your computer to connect as though you were still within your own borders.

The first time I tried to connect to music provider Pandora while in Vancouver, British Columbia – which is practically a stone’s throw from the U.S. border – I was quite surprised to learn that Pandora was not available. While the ability to stream music is pretty low in relative importance, there are other aspects of connecting across international boundaries that are more critical to both business and personal operations.

Now, information technology startup Homing Systems has released AlwaysHome, a portable router and virtual network service that grants travelers anywhere in the world unblocked access to their home country's Internet content.

“AlwaysHome is a faster and more user-friendly alternative to virtual private networks (VPN),” the company said in an email sent to TheTravelPro. “Comparable in size and appearance to a USB flash drive, the device's WAN-optimized software makes it possible to connect to any target network at speeds on average 3 to 10 times faster than that of Internet TCP/IP protocol.”

AlwaysHome enables access to home country Internet content, but also to home network and IP address, allowing truly unrestricted access to sites that block traditional VPNs.

The device’s inventor was inspired by experiences similar to my own.

AlwaysHome USB devices in three colors
"Over years of traveling globally, it became clear to me that the Internet is still quite gapped in many parts of the world,” Derek Lui said. “Home country sites are not only slow to load, but often block you from doing everything from viewing premium content to making purchases. For example, when I'm in Hong Kong, I can't access Netflix US, Hulu or HBOGo.

The device also offers unblocked Internet access for travelers in countries with Internet restriction policies, where applications and sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Gmail, YouTube and Tinder may be blocked. In addition, AlwaysHome uses the most up-to-date security protocols and encryption standards to ensure that sensitive data cannot be stolen and Internet sessions cannot be monitored.

Lui worked in networking technology for many years and has long known that the technology was available to solve those issues but only in the last couple of years has the hardware become affordable enough that it became possible to build such a powerful virtual networking device and service and price it reasonably for consumers, he said.

“AlwaysHome is designed to bring enterprise-level connectivity to the average recreational or business traveler," he continued.

AlwaysHome can be set up within seconds with no software configuration needed, offers HD-quality video streaming without jittery video images as well as fast large-file download and upload speed, according to the firm’s marketing materials.

The device comes in threee discrete versions.

With network acceleration technology built in, the AlwaysHome Solo model is a plug-and-play device connecting to servers in different countries. The Solo package, which includes one USB device similar in size the familiar jump drive and subscription service, is available for $180 for a one-year unlimited data service subscription or $315 for a three-year unlimited data service subscription.

AlwaysHome Duo consists of two USB devices, called “dongles,” that work in pairs with a point to point connection. The traveling dongle has full access to the local area network the other dongle resides in. Users can access American home or office I
P cameras, servers, network attached storage and printers, with ease. The Duo package includes two dongles and subscription service. AlwaysHome Duo is available for $180 for a 1-year unlimited data service subscription or $315 for a 3-year unlimited data service subscription.

Small business networking solution AlwaysHome Quartet consists of four dongles. With one dongle installed in a company's home headquarters, three remote workers can access the headquarters' network from anywhere in the world. AlwaysHome Quartet is available for $340 for a one-year unlimited data service subscription, renewable at $199 per year.

AlwaysHome dongles come in the user's choice of aluminum, gold or rose gold and is available for purchase through the Homing Systems website at

Visit my main page at for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.

Photo courtesy Homing Systems
Click on photo to view larger image