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Carry your own hotspot

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Gone are the days of being restricted to Wi-Fi usage in shopping centres, office blocks or even ‚”accidentally‚” using neighbours’ connections, writes DARRON SEHAYEK, after trying out Cell C’s Huawei E586 Mobile Wifi Router.

Huawei is already synonymous with great products for mobile connectivity, especially the 3G dongles used by most connected laptops in South Africa.

Its E586 Mobile Wifi Router, packaged with a cell bundle, will pleasantly surprise the user. Sure, there are other devices available that do a similar job but I do not think they’re remotely comparable.

I’ve been using an alternative router for over a year and, while it certainly served its purpose, it was neither aesthetically pleasing nor continuously reliable. In fact, it was so large, that transporting it was more of a pain than anything else and often caused me to leave the Internet at home due to the fact that it was cumbersome and unreliable.

But with today’s technological advances, it’s a minimal requirement to have both speed and reliability when connecting to the Internet. This device is not only fast and lightweight, but also houses a slot for a microSD card. A built-in (and removable) battery allows for completely cordless use.

The advantage of complete portability is that you no longer have to keep the device connected to either a USB port/power supply or 2/3 pin plug. Simply charge the device using its supplied USB data cable, which acts as a dual-purpose charger and connectivity to your computer. The charging time is quick and you’re ready to go in just under 2 hours.

My device also came with a small, practical and modern docking station, which not only keeps the router safely in place but simultaneously charges it while inside.

Incidentally, it also happens to use the same charger as a BlackBerry (and many other devices using micro-USB). So, if you have a Blackberry charger spare, my suggestion would be to use this to charge the modem via the included docking station and to keep the actual data cable with you, just in case you ever need to charge the device via USB.

The data cable also comes with a 2-pin plug adaptor, which means you can charge it anywhere with electricity. A great add-on, as many suppliers these days seem to be leaving these out of the boxes due to costs and space constraints.

The initial setup was a breeze. Simply plug the included data cable into the device, then into your computer and allow it to auto-install. Once done, go to the admin page described in the easy-to-understand instruction manual and follow a few more settings prompts such as WPA2, router name and password (recommended, else your neighbours may just use your internet connection as their own).

The device takes a full-sized SIM card (so no need to change to micro). Another great feature of this device is that it shows you (approximately) how much data you have used. No more removing the SIM card just to check the balance used/left. Simply turn on the device, allow it to authenticate and connect and you will see how much data you have used.

I got 7 hours worth of usage out of the battery before I had to charge it and since the price of data has decreased dramatically, I have no excuse for not staying online for longer.

In a nutshell: Modern looking, great battery life, truly compact, includes a handy docking station for optional use, up to five users can share one connection and real value for money at less than R1500.

It would appear Cell C is not only focusing on great service and great pricing but also introducing impressive devices that ultimately make our lives much easier and make us wonder how we ever managed without them.

My verdict: 9 out of 10.

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