Monday, August 7, 2017

Xiaomi Mi USB Wi-Fi Internet Sharing

Good evening everyone. So to add more ways of sharing the internet now I'm going to write about a small product that can be used to create an easy Wi-Fi access point to share internet with Wi-Fi enabled devices very easily.
Scope of use:

The device that I'm talking about is this one, Xiaomi Mi Portable Wi-Fi. There are other devices on the market like a simple USB Wi-Fi dongle that can do what it does which is creating a Wi-Fi access point but what good about this product is the software that has made this product very easy to use.

So like I said this product can be used to create an access point. All you need to do is find a computer or laptop with internet and free USB port. By simply installing the provided application you can turn that system into an access point. It doesn't matter how that computer is getting internet from, could be wired LAN, could be wireless LAN, could be 3G/4G modem etc.

Components needed: 

1. Working computer with internet and the software installed.
2. Mi Portable Wi-Fi.

This is what I got in the box or package. Obviously I ordered the black one.




And yes the manual provided here is in Chinese.

How to use: 

First you need to download the software and install it. Installation process is very simple so I'm not gonna go over it but I will put a link to the software down below. You can use this device in two ways, either as AP or as an USB dongle for your system. Let's go over them real quick.

1. Using it as AP.

First open up the MiWiFi application. It should ask you to connect the device.



As soon as you connect the device, you will see it has by automatically created an access point. You can change the name and the password from the main window or from the settings menu. It is a Wi-Fi n device so USB 2.0 port would be enough to handle the speed.


You can see no device is currently connected to it.From your phone or any other Wi-Fi enabled device you can connect to it and use internet.


These are two screenshots from my phone which shows the connected state and the speed you can expect from it. To remind you though the Portable Wi-Fi device is connected on the front panel USB 3.0 port of my desktop and I'm sitting next to it and yet you can see it is not getting full signal. From the PC you can see the 1 device is connected.

The button on the right side of the number of devices connected open up device management window from where you can limit speed for any device, blacklist it or make it administrator.


This is the speed that my computer gets which is directly connected to the router via Ethernet cable. So yes your are losing out on speed while using this particular device.


Sorry about the black bars though.

2. Use as an USB Wi-Fi dongle

The second thing that we can do with this device is simply use it as a Wi-Fi dongle. To do so we have to press the menu button and click IDS_SWITCH_MODE_STATION. (Marked with Red on the picture)


Upon confirming it should automatically switch and now you will be able to see nearby Wi-Fi access points and connect to them if you want to.



If you want to go back to the AP mode simple click on the menu button and change it back to AP.


There are other clever things that could be done with it which I might write about in the future including how to use it with Linux and Raspberry Pi.

Pros: 

1. Price - This is a very cheap product. I paid about half of what an USB Wi-Fi n dongle would cost me here.
2. Size - Very compact.
3. Very easy to use.
4. Speed - Although the connection speed kept on fluctuating I didn't find any problem using internet on my phone through this AP or using it on my PC when it was on simple Wi-Fi dongle mode.

Cons:

1. Bad design - Hard to get it out of the the cover and hard to get it out of the USB port if the port is in awkward place.
2. Unstable connection - Fluctuates a lot. Even on ideal condition it keeps on varying from 6.5-72Mbps.
3. Wi-Fi standard - This is a Wi-Fi n device, so if you need high speed Wi-Fi, this one is not for you.
4. Range - One small room, that's pretty much the usable range of this product.

Links:

1. Link to the software.
2. Link to the official device page.

3. Visit my full blog. 



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