Being a frequent traveler I was one of the first to wish for a product with which I could share a 3G connection over Wi-Fi. My first article about it is back from 2006. It took another two years until in 2008, however, before one of the first easy to setup devices, the Huawei D100 Wi-Fi access point designed to establish an Internet connection over a separate 3G USB stick appeared on the market. Fortunately I was in Austria at the time and could buy an unlocked version for a few euros. I've used it frequently since then and it has become a mandatory travel accessory for me. Now in 2013, however, i.e. 5 years later I am finally about to retire it.
Thanks to Android, Wi-Fi tethering has now become a standard feature of most smartphones and despite having limits such as the number of concurrent Wi-Fi connections it supports, it is sufficient for my use. The range of the Wi-Fi chip in a smartphone is perhaps not as good as that of the D100 but in practice the distances I need to cover in hotel and meeting rooms rooms are no problem for a smartphone. 5 years for a wireless device in use before it is retired is quite a thing. Back in 2008, the N95 was the latest and greatest in terms of technology, just to give you an idea of the timeframe we are talking about.