When I first read about the Huawei D100 Router on Mobile Industry Review – I was excited, it seemed like the perfect solution to a problem I have – my girlfriend doesn’t have a land line – so no dialup, or broadband. Which in my line of work is pretty essential, I did have a Three Huawei Dongle – which is superb – I might even say AMAZING . But obviously, it’s limited, by the fact it needs a USB port (my laptop has 2 – I need one for a mouse – and usually a second for my USB harddrive) so it’s pretty crowded. Also the other limitation is it can’t be shared easily – so if I needed to work, and ‘er needed to work, we’d have to do it in shifts! Also another limitation is the nature of Mobile Data itself, and the patchness of HSPDA signal – for example I get 3.5G in the Bedroom (ooooh eer!) but flaky 3G/3.5G in the kitchen (where I tend to work). So having it plugged into a router frees up a USB port, allows the connection to be shared, and also allows me to place it somewhere with a solid HSPDA signal.
The router itself is easy to set up – unbox, plug in, stick in the dongle, power up, and that is it. The wireless details (SSID and WPA key) are printed on a sticker at the base of the unit, and connecting to http://192.168.1.1 lets you alter the settings to your hearts content. It’s pretty much like a standard wireless router, but has a signal bar, and information on the network (HSPDA, 3G etc.)
You really cannot fault the unit on it’s simplcity, it really just works – which is fantastic. After setting it up I was able to connect the Wii to the network, and play a game of Mario Kart online, which I was very impressed with.
So all good then?
The genius that is Ben Smith from MIR wrote a rather scathing post about his experience with the D100, I must admit I was a little shocked, it did work for me, speed seemed okay, I was happy. That was until the next day – I logged into the Park Mobile website to activate my car parking I logged in fine – then went to the ‘Activate Parking’ page – it crawled like a bitch the bar on IE just chugged sloooooowly. Did the same in Firefox, and Chrome. Odd. Having Ben’s words echo in my head I decided to plug the dongle directly into the lappy – it loaded first time. This is something i’ve noticed, it doesn’t seem to like certain sites – no idea why! They work fine with the dongle.
I think the problem is the router is hideously ineffecient – the speed tests show that it seems to be 2/3rds SLOWER than using the dongle directly. So whilst I get speeds of 700kbs ish with the Dongle – I’m getting around 230kbs ish with the router. Not good. I’m HOPING Three /Huawai pull their fingers out and release a firmware update for it.
It’s really difficult to rate it overall, the concept is brilliant it does overcome some of the issues I have with using a dongle – but the implementation – speed wise – is just well….. erm – shit.
So as much as it pains me to say it… Three Huawai D100 Wireless Router : FAIL
N.B. Also I must point out – this unit DOES NOT have a battery – this is something Three accidently stated originally.
Huawai D100 Wireless Router