How many times have you turned up somewhere with your laptop and realized you’re short of an internet connection? The growing number of WiFi hotspots is reducing this risk – but did you know – you have a faster, less crowded and more sure router sitting right in your left pocket? WMWifiRouter takes your 3G or CDMA cellular connection and turns it into a usable WiFi network. Now you will be able to save the day and offer all your friends or associates a free WiFi hotspot wherever you are! Read on to see how the program works!
Installing is easy and can be done from plugging in and running a EXE on your PC or a CAB straight to your device. I used the EXE method however I have tried and the CAB method works just as well.
When you start the device for the first time you’re greeted with a splash screen. I found this a nice feature as it doesn’t leave you waiting while it loads. The setup takes you through a process and I recommend making sure your WiFi, Bluetooth and Data connection are turned on at this point as the program scans for these.
The application takes you through the setup process where it scans through your phones devices and lets you chose which cellular connection to use.
Here you can choose the broadcast name of your WiFi network.
You chose the name for your phones WiFi network and the password to secure it with.
WMWifiRouter does what it says on the tin, it takes your cellular connection and routes it to the WiFi. It allows connections from multiple computers (notice I said computers and not devices, I’ll get onto that later) so that you can share the connections with your friends or associates. I deem this a massive ability in itself. Not only can the device share your cellular data connection via WiFi but it can share it with a Bluetooth PAN or via a USB data cable.
Click the above image for a larger shot. You are able to select each mode from the icon-menu which appears well designed and it is easy to tell which icons to use. After you have selected an icon and the right connections are made (image on the right above), the middle icon shows your battery level, the right icon closes the connections and returns to the main menu while the left graph icon opens a statistics browser.
Several pages of statistics are shown which give varying information about your network such as IP Addresses, data sent or received and the current data transfer speed.
The first thing i noticed when using it in my first location with just one laptop connected is that speeds were quite good. I was connected to HSDPA which gave me nice toasty speeds. I was able to watch a YouTube video with no buffering. Page loads were consistent enough and quite quick, comparable to a 2Mbit/Sec DSL connection. However, in my second testing location, where my USB 3G dongle can pick up about 1.5MBit/sec, I was only crawling along on GPRS, at about dial-up speeds. This issue was more to do with my phone not being able to pick up a 3G connection, but the fact you may not ever pick up a 3G connection when you need to use the internet is something to think about.
The on-screen prompts and easy to use settings were enough for me not to need to access any help files. However if you need it, the website has a large knowledge base and some helpful documentation, as well as an FAQ which may quickly solve your problem. I didn’t encounter any problems and when I couldn’t make something work it would only take 10 seconds to fix by changing a setting. The list of settings isn’t too huge to not be able to manage without the documentation but isn’t too small that the program isn’t customizable enough.
The program has the option to be able to turn off when the battery hits a level or if the phone gets too hot. This is a useful feature as I found an hour of WiFi and cellular data usage did put some strain on the battery and some of the phones components as it did start to heat up. However the battery life of my Touch HD is good enough to not take a serious hit from the hour of browsing.
The WMWifiRouter website says you need: Windows Mobile 5 AKU 3.3 or newer or Windows Mobile 6, A WiFi and cellular connection, an installed and working version of Internet Sharing (this comes with most devices, however some operators may remove it) and 15MB of device memory. I found the program using about 9-12MB of system memory when running, however this may differ with device. The installation CAB is 1.9MB in size.
BUGS AND WISHES
Remember earlier in the review where I said connecting Computers instead of Devices? Well the wifi connection used by the program is an Ad-Hoc (computer-to-computer) network. This makes a large number of other devices incompatible. I tried a few media players such as the Archos 605 and it would not connect. This is because they only work with the Base station connection method and not an Ad-Hoc network. I think you would find this problem with lots of other devices such as games consoles and other phones too. The WMWifi Router website does report the NDS, PSP, PS3 and Wii not working. Along with older versions of the iPod Touch and Linux (unless you install a special driver).
I would’ve liked the ability to force a 3G connection, as you can do this using my 3G dongle software, it tries its best to find a 3G connection rather than using GPRS which the network can throw you onto instead of the always faster 3G.
Apart from these problems i really couldn’t find a bug or error in the program, it didn’t crash and nothing strange ever happened during my time using it. The application continued to work even with the program in the background and the device locked.
You can buy the program directly from the WMWifiRouter website – http://wmwifirouter.com/. The price is 19.99 Euros, which is roughly $26.00 USD or £18 GBP – some may feel this is expensive for software, however if you consider the price of the USB 3G dong le router that is being sold for nearly £200 here in the UK then this does work out the much cheaper option. Though I feel this program is very well plerogrammed and well worth the money.
- Share your cellular data connection with many computers
- Phone is still free to be used while you’re browsing
- A nice and easy to use GUI
- Secure networking using encryption
- Ad-Hoc connection mode makes many devices incompatible
- Cannot force 3G connection
- A bit pricey
Personally I feel that WMWifiRouter is a fantastic bit of software and does everything it says on the tin and more. WMWifiRouter is very well programmed software and can save the day in some very sticky situations! The program comes with lots of options and a very clean and easy to use GUI. I would recommend WMWifiRouter to anyone that needs to give their laptop a portable internet connection and possibly share it with others. At the end of the day its also one less cable to carry around and a lot less settings to fiddle with every time you need portable internet and to share it.