Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review of MiWifi usb dongle

Those of us who participated in the Miui fan meet-up in Singapore were each given a free Miwifi usb dongle as a door gift.

In case you are wondering what you could be using this for, let us consider what it is supposed to do. In short, it allows any laptop or PC to wirelessly tether and share internet connection or transfer files to and from your smartphone.

This is useful if you are a frequent overseas traveller and find yourself in a hotel room with only an Ethernet LAN connection and no wifi. For example, many local hotels in China may only offer Ethernet LAN but not wifi in your room.

Miwifi beside a Singapore $1 coin.

The Miwifi is a small usb dongle that is very handy and portable for PCs and laptops. It does not require any external power, as it draws current from the usb port.

10.8 mb Set-up file sitting on my desktop.

A small .exe set-up file (10.8mb) is required to install the driver. This is downloadable from the Miwifi website here. Look for "download"("下载") , and "xiaomi portable wifi client" ("小米随身WiFi客户端").

The set-up will require administrator rights if your laptop is a corporate piece of equipment sitting behind a firewall. Unlike software-based solutions such as Connectify which I have previously tried with limited success (possibly due to driver incompatibility or firewall issues), I did not encounter any driver issues with the Miwifi. Miwifi driver installation is very straightforward and user-friendly.

Upon installation of the driver, plugging in the Miwifi will activate the UI as shown below.

UI is well designed and sits in the task bar tray

Once the UI is activated, the Miwifi will have a secure wireless network (WPA2 PSK) and show the 8 digit pin for entry into your smartphone as the wifi password. Under settings ("设置"), the wireless network name and password can be changed and customised.

When unplugging the Miwifi, right clicking on the icon will call-up the UI and you can choose the option to ''safely unplug device" ("安全拔出设备")

Like all USB devices, don't forget to right click and stop operations before unplugging

The driver version used here is

 There is an option to connect to the Kingsoft (金山软件)-managed Kuaipan cloud storage (云U盘). However, access to Kuaipan may not be possible if there is a firewall.

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