Huawei E5830 is a perfect solution for mobile Wi-Fi on site

Mobile broadband USB dongles have come on leaps and bounds since they first appeared a couple of years ago, but what if you haven’t got a USB socket to plug them into? How do you get your device to connect to the Internet then? The modem, which looks like a small silver-white pebble, works by creating a wireless hotspot and then connecting to the mobile phone network, allowing you to surf the Internet on any device that has Wi-Fi connectivity – as long as you’ve got coverage.

That means laptops, iPads, Eye-Fi SD cards, Kindles, etc will be made available.

At first glance the device is fairly nondescript in looks. The unit comes with a series of buttons down one side, a USB connector socket at the base of the unit and that’s about it. It’s simple, because it doesn’t need to be anything else. Turn it on and the black screen comes to life with five different icons hoping to tell you what’s what. There is one for the power, one for the connectivity status, one for the signal, one for whether you’ve got the Wi-Fi element turned on and finally one to tell you that you’re roaming, although surely having left the country you’d know that already. The icons themselves have different colours for different status alerts and to begin with you’ll have to consult the manual to work out what it all means. While we can understand that a red aerial means that you can’t access the network (yet you still can), we aren’t sure why a light blue „M” means you are surfing at a faster speed than dark blue „M”, but there you go.

Down the side are three small buttons: power, connect, and Wi-Fi with the latter allowing you to turn the wireless connectivity on and off to conserve battery power. Although the unit can be run from a USB cable included in the box, a benefit of the Huawei E5830 is the ability to run it from the built-in battery. That allows you to use it with any Wi-Fi-enabled device rather than just those that have a USB socket to power it from.

Turn it on, find the network, and then press the connect button, it really is that simple. Getting your device to connect to the created Wi-Fi hotspot is as easy as punching in a password (shipped with the device) and then you can connect one or more devices (up to five in fact) to the network.

The ability to connect multiple devices means that you can share your newly created connection with devices you or your colleagues own, as long as you are within coverage. We had no problems connecting devices to get access to the Internet, and there is really no software to install either.

On the performance front it comes down to a number of factors. Accessing the Internet is down to the strength of the signal you can achieve, while the more devices vying for that connection will also slow things down a bit. Needless to say in our tests the results were all positive.

Battery life was also good although it depends on how good the signal strength is and how hard the device has to work to keep you connected. You can always run it while it’s plugged in if that’s a worry on long day excursions.

Where the product really impressed however, was the ability for us to connect it to devices that didn’t have a USB socket. That for us meant an iPad and Kindle and an Eye-Fi card allowing us to save pictures to Flickr and an FTP server without having to have a computer on.

For opponents and one device for everything lovers:  of course you can use your mobile phone as an Wi-Fi access point (f.e. iPhone 4S) – but it’s better to have an alternative energy source and a Wi-Fi.

Specification: HSUPA/HSDPA/UMTS 2100MHz; GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz
Transfer rate:HSUPA 5.76Mbit/s; HSDPA 7.2Mbit/s
Interface/charging: USB
Wi-Fi:802.11b / 802.11g
Encryption: WEP / WPA / WPA2
External memory: micro SD Up to 32GB
Dimension: 95mm×48mm×13mm
Weight: 90g