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If you need to be online when you are out and about or you are a regular commuter, you need a reliable 3G (and soon 4G) connectivity. The Huawei E586 Mi-Fi allows you to achieve just that.
The Huawei E586 is just one of the dongles that can be used for this purpose allowing you to go online on your mobile device (laptop, smartphone or tablet). All you need is a data SIM card and you are away, surfing. In effect, it is having your own mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.
Why Mi-Fi? This is a moniker concocted (clumsily as you can see) to describe this type of device and it stands for 'Mobile WiFi'. Many people who do long commutes on the train or even on the bus want to use that time productively going online. It is ofcourse possible to do this on a variety of tablet devices with inbuilt 3G. The majority of tablets and almost all laptop computers do not have this as a native feature. As such, off the home or office network, connectivity has to be external. It is possible to do that by tethering your laptop or tablet on your mobile phone. However, many mobile contracts have risible data allowances (ranging from 100 to 1000Mb per month). As such, unless you are just an occasional surfer, that is unlikely to be a workable arrangement. That is, unless you want to end up with insane bills.
Using devices like the Huawei E586 is the solution for the challenge discussed above. The device is quite small, tiny even. In the box, apart from the device, there is a battery, a mains charger, a USB cable and (a very small) instructions booklet (plus a quick-start guide).
You charge the battery and insert your data SIM and that is that. Your laptop or tablet should pick it up immediately as one of the available networks. You put in the password and you are online. It is that simple. The device is simplicity itself. Apart from the front LED screen, there are only two buttons on the side; a power button (on and off) and one to press for info such as the password.
The Huawei E586 can connect up to 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices at any one time. You can therefore share that in the car if you are travelling as a family or with friends (not including the driver!). It can also tide you over if your home internet somehow goes down.
The claimed standby time when fully charged is 280 hours. That is more than 11 days. When using it continuously, the power will last 4 to 5 hours which is pretty decent. A larger battery with a longer battery life is available but this is larger and it bulks up the dinky device somewhat.
As mentioned earlier, to use this, needless to say, you need data allowance. In the UK, all mobile phone service providers now sell these data-only SIMs. You can pick a 3Gb pre-loaded SIM from 'Three' for less than 12 Pounds (US$18). You are supposed to use that within 3 months. That is a £4 per month charge for reliable, always available mobile data and, in my book, that isn't bad.
If you travel abroad, you can take this, get yourself a local provider's data SIM, pop it in and have very cheap internet while there. Bliss. All in all, a very versatile mobile internet enabler.
The Huawei E586 is also supposed to be future-proofed in the sense that it will supposedly work on 4G networks when these become widely available.