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Bit of advice on MiFi limitations


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#1 Hippogriff

Hippogriff

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  • Location:Sheffield, UK
  • Local time:04:43 AM

Posted 03 January 2013 - 05:15 AM

Hi all,

For some time now, I have had a MiFi device (a Huawei E583C) provided by T-Mobile in the UK. It has served me very well, providing pretty good 3G speeds for the devices in my apartment. Just coming up to Christmas, I decided to ask my other half for a 3G Router - so we could get past the 5 device limitation (this was hitting us with 2 PCs, 2 tablets, an iPhone, a smart TV, a PS3 and a wireless printer).

So, kindly, she purchased (under my direction, I should add) a Solwise NET-3G-434T 3G router for me. The sole point of getting this was to be able to go beyond the 5 device limitation - I did not expect extra speeds to the Internet or anything like that (although, with it being N-capable, it could be good for the internal network).

Installing the NET-3G-434T was dead simple - remove the SIM from my Huawei E583C and insert into the NET-3G-434T - it did all the auto-APN thing and within minutes I was up and running.

However, things weren't great - I have 2 problems...

1) the 3G signal was not as strong on this NET-3G-434T as it was on the E583C. I spoke to the company and I was told that "The MiFi has a lower gain antenna which, believe it or not, can mean it can get a better signal where the mast is not in sight. Higher gain antenna like the one on the 434 can suffer where the antenna mast is not in sight."

The suggestions were to move it around the property - which I did - or to buy an external antenna.

2) In addition to the 3G signal issue, the wireless signal inside the property emanating from the NET-3G-434T was nowhere near as good as the little MiFi device - in certain rooms there was simply no connectivity and the end user experience was pretty poor (when browsing and things like that) - I should clarify, there is no extra load being placed on the connections - it's pretty much just as it was before.

The suggestion for this problem was to purchase a wireless range extender.

Both suggestions to make the NET-3G-434T 3G router more capable are buying hardware and throwing money at the problem.

The NET-3G-434T 3G router is disappointing me for two simple reasons - I get a worse 3G connection when compared to the Huawei E583C and I get a worse internal wireless network signal in certain rooms (even though I have managed to set it up to also use wireless N).

My question, therefore (after lots of background information), is actually quite simple... is there any way in which I could use the E583C and the NET-3G-434T in tandem to have good connectivity and allow more than 5 devices to hook up to the internal network? I also have an old D-Link DSL-G624M router and I wondered if I could somehow use that as a wireless bridge or what-have-you... this might all be pie-in-the-sky but I'm at the point where I'm torn between sticking with the Huawei E583C with its 5 device limitation but good connectivity or the NET-3G-434T with its ability to hook up more than 5 devices but its terrible connectivity (comparatively). I would like the best of both worlds.

Any advice, or even idle thoughts, would be very much appreciated.

Hippo

P.S. - for clarity, in terms of 3G, the MiFi device shows 4 to 5 bars consistently, whereas the 3G router shows 2 bars. Although the bars might not mean the same thing on different devices, the 3G router tells me it has a poor signal with a purple LED that turns blue when it has a good 3G signal (which is never).

In terms of wireless, the comparison here is down to user experience rather than anything more empirical - while browsing web pages, things hang and stick for ages, when you go into something like the Android (tablet) wireless settings, you will see the connection is rated at something like 11Mbps or even 5Mbps. When I take the SIM out and put it back in the MiFi device, this doesn't happen. Everything may stem from the poor 3G signal, though.

Edited by Hippogriff, 03 January 2013 - 05:23 AM.


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