Image: Hugh Threlfall
December 14 2009
The ever-more innovative 3 mobile phone network has scored a first again with this from its mainland Chinese manufacturer, Huawei. MiFi is not an easy concept to get your head round, and I’m not convinced it’s an essential for everyone. But this variation on the 3G dongle might just suit your particular technology habits.
MiFi is a wireless dongle. It receives 3G broadband via its inbuilt SIM card and rebroadcasts it by Wi-Fi. So in theory you could, for instance, connect your laptop to the internet and at the same time connect your iPod Touch (or Archos 5 Internet Tablet). Or, maybe, if you were on a yacht or in a hotel suite with a decent 3G signal coming in, you could set up a little Wi-Fi network for up to five devices, all from the one 3G signal.
The snag for me is that only occasionally is even 3’s pretty fine 3G and HSDPA (high-speed download) signal strong enough to get one internet device going at a decent lick. For the moment, getting two or more sucking through the same straw is a little over-optimistic. It does work, mark you, and better than you might think, but it’s some way from mind-blowing.
The MiFi works for about five hours on a charge, which is OK, and its range as a Wi-Fi router is a few yards – enough for a small house or flat.