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  1. #1
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    Mi-Fi frustration

    Hi,

    I am using (in the UK) a Mi-Fi dongle/router with service provider Threemobile which gives me (supposedly) Internet connection for my laptop, smartphone and tablet.

    Previously, as I lived in a motorhome and now boat without a landline, I used the straightforward Threemobile dongle, which nearly always gave me reliable connection – if a bit slow at times. Had on occasion to dangle dongle in front of window!

    But now with the Huawei E586 Mi-Fi thing the connection on my Win 7 Home Premium laptop keeps dropping – or rather the Internet access does. The Wireless network still shows I am connected and, under status details, bytes continue to flow in both directions, but there is a yellow exclamation mark and message no Internet access. I click on ‘Diagnose’ and it sometimes resets the network adapter with occasional success.

    Under device manager, I have checked that all the network adapters are up to date.

    Anyone else use these things? And if so encountered similar frustrating problems (nightmare when trying to fill in credit card details etc)? Any advice greatly received.

    Tim

  2. #2
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    Hi Tim

    I'm using one most days now without any issues.

    If you are still connecting to the mifi it sounds more like a network issue.

    Might be worth a call to 3 to see what they say as I'm pretty sure they will be able to access the device from their end.

    This seems to be one of those gadgets that is fantastic when it works, pain in the proverbial when it doesn't!

    Mike

  3. #3
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    Thanks Mike. It's odd that dongle works ok, not so well the Mi-Fi. I'll try ringing Three (at a cost as my mobile is with Orange) although I've heard customer service is v poor.

    Tim

  4. #4
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    I've only ever called 3 for a telephone network issue. No problem at all with service. Has a phone call the following day to apologise and gave me a £5 refund on contract without even being prompted.

    .

  5. #5
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    Rather than dangling your dongle, which could get you arrested in some places, you might want to try something like this:



    The little WiFi type N, USB device, I'm using here, came with a 3db Gain antenna. The one shown here is a 7db gain antenna and I've recently purchased several 9db gain antennas, which are 15" long.
    This setup greatly increases my WiFi range.
    (your signal doubles, for every 3 db of gain)

    The device shown here connected to a USB port on my Netbook, is a Wireless N-300 device.
    It's backward compatible, down to "Wireless B".
    I disable the Wireless G modem inside the Netbook, to enable the USB Wireless device.
    Both wireless devices as well as the LAN port are controlled from shortcuts on the desktop.

    I know you're in the UK and I'm in the US, but there shouldn't be that much difference on how WiFi works.

    Good Luck Mate!
    The Doctor
    Last edited by DrWho; 2012-01-22 at 12:22.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  6. #6
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    I know you're in the UK and I'm in the US, but there shouldn't be that much difference on how WiFi works.
    There isn't much (if any difference), but the OP is discussing MiFi which is a proprietary mobile broadband modem and router integrated into one box. It receives the 3G or HDSPA mobile broadband signal from a service provider (in this case the UK operator Three) and routes that via an 802.11x WiFi interface to devices within range. Since the laptop is able to connect to the MiFi box, it does indeed sound like a Three mobile broadband network issue.

    As long as the laptop is connecting successfully to the MiFi box, then an increase in WiFi signal strength will have no effect.

    As an interesting side note to the MiFi issue, co-linear WiFi antennas mentioned do indeed produce very real improvements over the embedded antennas on laptops when connecting to weak signal 802.11x wireless networks.

    However, the gain quoted by manufacturers needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as they will (should) be measured in an anechoic chamber rather than when plugged into a laptop which is not a perfect groundplane. They will likely be quoted as dBi (gain over an isotropic radiator), so a 7dBi gain co-linear will achieve a real world gain of 5dB over a 1/4λ radiator. Why do they do this? Well 7db sounds better than 5dB!

    Even though user interaction with the radiated field will change the radiation pattern from the co-linear, it will still significantly outperform the embedded antenna in the laptop because the embedded antenna is sub-optimal, typically being mounted around the inside edge of the screen. Even a 5dB (7dBi) antenna will result in much better performance as a result of both the free-space gain and the efficiency of the mounting of the antenna (not being embedded in the screen housing). Depending on location specific licence restrictions, it's possible the external usb attached antenna also transmits more power - perhaps 250mW (or more) rather than perhaps 100mW for an internal antenna. This will also increase the range to the router too.

    The length of the 9dB(i?) antennae DrWho mentions suggests that they operate in the 5GHz band. Interestingly, there are different licencing restrictions in the UK compared to the US for 5GHz, so one has to be careful when purchasing 5GHz equipment from outside the home market (in either direction).
    Last edited by Tinto Tech; 2012-01-22 at 18:48. Reason: To correct typos

  7. #7
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    Thanks doc, but as Tinto says, my problem is not with wi-fi but with the connection over the cell phone network. The wi-fi signal from my cellphone router (the Mi-Fi device) comes in loud and clear - all five bars of it - but Internet data keeps dropping out.

    As you say Tinto, it seems to be a network issue, although my previous Three dongle worked much more reliably. Maybe the MiFi device is not as efficient as the simpler dongle.

    Tim

    PS I too have a separate wi-fi antennae which proved a real boon when in France and Spain.

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    I had no problem getting the E586 to work but I am finding that it only allows me to receive mail on my Android phone and not send it - when I try and send mail it just sits in the outbox. The same thing seems to happen with using aol on our Mac Book pro.

    Any ideas?

    Also, I don't suppose anyone has managed to get it working with Linux via USB?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TIMONLINE View Post
    I had no problem getting the E586 to work but I am finding that it only allows me to receive mail on my Android phone and not send it - when I try and send mail it just sits in the outbox. The same thing seems to happen with using aol on our Mac Book pro.

    Any ideas?
    Check the SMTP settings in your android phone. They will may be set to send email through your Smartphone's service provider (Vodaphone, Orange, etc...). The E586 will attempt to send the email through Three's servers and this (probably) reject a different service provider's SMTP servers.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

  10. #10
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    @Timonline: I have no problems with mail using my Android tablet (Sony S), but then I use gmail, so perhaps not surprising.

    Interestingly I've found why my E586 had a tendency to drop connection (my original 'frustration' post) - it was overheating. Stuck at the window for a good signal, it didn't like the sun!

    Had I read the manual thoroughly I would have spotted the warning.

  11. #11
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    Thanks.

    The incoming server port is 110 and outgoing is 25 if that helps. It works fine using wifi - just not mifi.

    My wife's Mac Book Pro has the same problem using aol mail.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TIMONLINE View Post
    Thanks.

    The incoming server port is 110 and outgoing is 25 if that helps. It works fine using wifi - just not mifi.

    My wife's Mac Book Pro has the same problem using aol mail.
    Yes, the SMTP ports are standard, but it's the smtp server and it's authentication that you need to check. If you are trying to send email from say a Vodaphone smartphone through a Three E586 MiFi, you may need to use the Three SMTP servers (smtp.three.co.uk?) instead of the Vodaphone server. The same applies for AOL on the Mac if that connects to the MiFi too. You may also need to setup server authentication: for example with BT you need to authenticate a non-BT account before you can send traffic through their smtp servers - the same may apply to the MiFi service provider.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

  13. #13
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    My phone doesn't seem to like a three SMTP settings - after all the wifi connection changes regularly as I move around!

  14. #14
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    Same Issue

    Hi - I have the same mifi dongle and the same issue and its driving me insane!

    I've spoken to Three about this before and they spent 2 hours doing checks on my laptop without being able to correctly identify the problem.

    Has anyone found any other solutions to this yet just in case overheating isn't the problem in my case?

  15. #15
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    Browneyes - All I can say is that my problem definitely stemmed from overheating. My practice now is to always switch it off when I don't need to be on line and move it from a window where sun is beaming in. It's worked fine ever since except once when it had been on all day. I switched it off and after a few minutes switched back on and it worked fine.

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