Mobile Internet over the WLAN…
The problem is well-known, many devices have nowadays over WLAN, a corresponding preparation for UMTS is however in vain. For example, Apple is still using integrated 3G solutions on its MacBooks. But also the iPod touch or the “normal” WiFi iPad can be used only limited mobile, because unfortunately there is not everywhere a WLAN hotspot.Tethering is not a solution to this problem, since Apple or T-Mobile often does not want it and does not support it, and the transmission speed of Bluetooth limits this option all the more. Ideal for such cases is therefore the use of a mobile UMTS WLAN router. Known in insider circles and popular here is, for example, the Novatel MiFi . We also offer this model in a special version of Vodafone , especially the non-existing SIM and Netlock and the completely German configuration interface speak for this device, the price of over 200 euros rather against it. With the Huawei E5830 Wireless UMTS router exists however a similarly good device at the savings price, albeit with some special features.
What is it, anyway, a mobile UMTS WLAN router?
Firstly, the question arises as to why such a device is suitable. Simply put, this is a compact WLAN router as you know at home from the DSL or cable connection. However, this has a SIM slot like a mobile phone or smartphone and for mobility an integrated battery. So you have a personal WLAN anywhere, anytime and anywhere. There are a variety of possible applications, some of which I would like to list here:
Mobile Internet access for iPad (WiFi) or iPod touch.
Alternative to the UMTS-Stick on the MacBook or notebook (is less noticeable and increases the battery power of the computer, since only by WLAN is accessed on the net).
Also works on iPhone 3G (s) or other smartphones (can be operated in the 2G network, which saves energy effectively).
The old iPhone 2G benefits from fast UMTS connections and has to be satisfied not only with EDGE.
Combination of cheap prepaid rates and Internet flatrates (prepaid card in the free iPhone, internet card in the Huawei E5830).
(Apple iPhone 3GS, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is connected via Wi-Fi).
Since such a router as the Huawei E5830 can operate up to five devices at the same time, these scenarios can of course be combined as desired.
The test device: Huawei E5830
Currently, the British provider 3 is selling the Huawei E5830 exclusively in England and Austria, an official reference channel does not exist in Germany. You have to look for, for example, in the bay for this and currently expect an import price from the UK of about 90 to 100 euros. At this price you get a SIM and Netlockfreies device, which was originally from 3 as a prepaid solution was thought. In addition to the router, there is also a mini USB cable, a power supply and a short manual in card form included. Before the first operation, the battery should be charged for 12 hours, either via Mini-USB on the computer or via the included power supply. However, this has only a UK plug, matching and cheap adapterswork but without problems, as I could determine myself.
Commissioning and configuration
In the current version, the Huawei E5830 has a web interface in English (http: //192….), which allows the router to be largely configured. For example, you define the WLAN password, the automatic input of the SIM PIN and similar settings. However, with the firmware of netvigator no APN setting can be made. Users of an o2 flat rate does not have to worry about this further, the provider nevertheless accepts all inputs for the APN. If you are surfing via T-Mobile, Vodafone or E-Plus, APN will not be able to enter the actual, preinstalled software (Options -> Profile Management). This runs “of course” only under Windows. Alternatively, there is a second firmware version, which also makes it possible to configure the APN via the Web interface, but does not include the battery indicator within the website. For the installation, however, it needs a PC again ;-). In this blog entry you will find numerous information about both firmware updates.
Once the configuration of the Huawei E5830 has been completed, there is nothing to prevent.Devices connect to the Huawei in the usual way and can now access the Internet connection.Who wants to configure the Huawei fully automatic, ie the router independently builds the WLAN and UMTS connection, on request can be switched on and off by a button. The five LED info buttons inform you about the quality of the network, the battery power, whether WLAN is on or off, and the connection type (green = GPRS, blue = UMTS). The battery always held in my test at least between three and four hours, it is advisable to connect the Huawei only if a connection is actually needed. If you take this into consideration, the router can certainly use over several days in time.
The Huawei E5830 accomplishes its task almost perfectly, only the commissioning could be somewhat complicated for pure Mac users. However, since this configuration is usually carried out only once, this little inconvenience can easily be averted. A mobile UMTS router is in practice a true Universaltalent what one would not want to miss any more. Tethering and UMTS sticks are for me personally snow of yesterday!
PS: Yes, as we can see in the video, we are already owned by iPads at Cyberport-probably not a German device. In the next few days, I will certainly be back with this or that interesting article.
Update from 17.05.2010: The Huawei E5830 now also in Germany in the form of its successor Huawei E5 over o2 to refer. We (Cyberport) will also offer and sell the device. The main difference is mainly the new dot matrix display. See my latest blog entry for the Huawei E5.