A month ago, I bought Huawei E8231 Wifi USB Modem as a backup for my bsnl broadband connection. I bought it for Rs.1799 from SnapDeal which offered the lowest price at that time. It has to be the best decision I made. Initially, I had some doubts about Huawei as I previously owned a USB modem which didn't work well and eventually I sold it.
I wasn't that tempted to buy this modem. In fact I was forced to buy Huawei Wifi modem as it was the only reliable wifi usb modem available in Indian market. Other options were to buy wingle from Idea or Tata Docomo, which restricts my freedom to switch operators. Also Idea wifi modem costs Rs.2500 which is Rs.700 more than Huawei E8231 Wifi USB Modem. So I decided to buy E8231.
Huawei E8231 Wifi USB Modem Features
- Download speed up to 21.6 Mbps on 3G network ( The maximum I got on Idea Kerala 3G network is 9 Mbps. It all depends on the network operator not the modem. )
- You can connect up to 10 devices ( I keep my Nexus 5 connected all the time and didn't get the opportunity to connect more than 3 devices )
- Plug and play ( You can plug it into your laptop or mobile charger if it comes with separate charging head and the USB cable )
- Freedom to choose any operator ( This is the main thing for me )
Plug and play, that's it you are done.Simply insert the sim card (it doesn't come with a memory card slot) and wait for 20 seconds and the device will get connected to 3G/2G network depending on the network availability. You don't need to download any settings or stuffs. Everything gets done automatically. E8231 has two LED lights. One is for Wi-fi connectivity status and the other for network. If the network connectivity LED is green, then it is connected to 2G network. If the LED is blue, it is a 3G network and if it is cyan then it is a 3G+ network. I normally get connected to 3G+ network and sometimes 3G.
The internet speeds are awesome. The best speeds I have ever experienced on any modem (It has a lot to do with the 3G+ network of Idea Kerala). The best thing about E8231 is that, you can use it anywhere. You can use it on your computer or just plug it into a USB power source. My Nexus 5 charger comes with separate charging head and USB cable, so I didn't need to buy a separate USB power source. I think you can get China made USB power source from local mobile shops for around Rs.80.
You can't expect a lot of coverage from Huawei E8231 Wifi USB Modem. It is good for two adjacent rooms and a room right below if the modem is placed on the first floor. I already have a netgear wifi range extender with me, so I had no trouble extending the range to cover my whole house. Range extenders are not an ideal solution as they are costly. You just need to live with the limited coverage of E8231. Honestly, you can't expect more from a USB modem.
Security Set Up
To set up password for your wi-fi network, you can use the Huawei web interface which opens in your browser right after the modem is connected to network. Or you can download the Huawei Mobile Wifi android app to set it up from your mobile. Even better thing is that you can track the usage, run USSD, SMS etc using both web and mobile app. You can even see the list of connected devices over wifi.
All in all Huawei E8231 is an excellent product to consider. It is really worth the money.