I must admit that I haven’t found a suitable use case for a MiFi device until now — where I find myself tasked with procuring a no-fuss Internet connection for visiting family. Each of the big carriers in Canada sells a personal WiFi hotspot of some sort, but being a fan of the little guy I went instead with WIND Mobile’s Huawei E583C — aka, the WINDspeed Pocket Hotspot.
As a Linux user I’ve found that many mobile broadband USB sticks — including the ones sold by WIND — don’t play well with my particular distro. In at least one way WIND’s hotspot is no different; a USB connection on my Ubuntu-powered ThinkPad offers no Internet, just a bunch of executables for Windows:
Presumably there’s another partition on this thing with setup utilities for OS X, but since I don’t have any HFS+ tools installed I can’t see them.
Fortunately for free software lovers, administering this device is a no-brainer… provided you have the necessary passwords. With a factory-charged battery and SIM card in place the Huawei powered up and connected to WIND’s mobile network straightaway, but the broadcasted signal is WPA-encrypted by default and the password to access it is not at all clear.
Thinking the passcode was specific to my account I tried my assigned WIND number (for texts) and my personal PIN. No joy.
A frantic Google search provided a clue — search for “under the battery” on this page. It eventually donned on me that the required digits weren’t there, but here:
So with a secure connection in place I immediately set about changing the details to make them more family-friendly. The admin interface for the device is — like my Linux-friendly NAS — available through any web browser at 192.168.1.1, or in this case the more memorable http://mye5.home. But here again I got stuck:
Great, another password… And I had to download the product manual from WIND to find it. You can download the same PDF here, or I can save you the grief and just give it to you: admin. Not hard to remember, but it sure would’ve been nice to have this rather critical information included in the box.
With the pocket-spot now set up the way I likes it I’m getting some decent speeds — see for yourself:
This particular Huawei allows up to five devices to connect simultaneously; for my needs there likely won’t be more than two at any given time. And for freedom beards the best part is that no tweaking of Windows or Mac computers is necessary; just hand out the password and the user does the rest.
For anyone who wants to share their mobile data connection (even with themselves) I give the WINDspeed Pocket Hotspot an enthusiastic thumbs-up — once I’m done wagging my finger at WIND for their documentation fail, of course…