Since June 2013, I had used the D-Link DWM-156 modem for my mobile data connectivity whilst at University. The modem was cool, until I started using it on Windows 10 (the software was blocked by Windows 10). After renewing my mobile data contract with Cell C, I received the Huawei Wingle E8231 Modem. This modem is a USB 3G / HSPA modem with Wi-Fi connectivity – allows a maximum of 10 users.

Huawei Wingle Packaging
Huawei Wingle Packaging

Getting Everything Set Up

What I love about this modem is that you don’t need to set it up the traditional way – this being installing bulky connectivity software. You can set up the device via Wi-Fi (simply use the default password), or you can connect the device to your computer, and access the web interface from there. No software is installed by the device – everything is done through its web interface software.

It is easy using the web software – if you are familiar with configuring your ADSL router via the web (http://10.0.0.2), you will see how easy it is to set everything up. Changing Wi-Fi settings, the APN (I use the unresticted APN for my data needs) and the WPS key, took me +- 1 minute. Once everything is set up, and you are in an area with network coverage, you will be connected to the internet.

For those who have not used ADSL modems, setting things up won’t be a train smash – everything is laid out nicely.

Setting up Wi-Fi on my 3G modem
Setting up Wi-Fi on my 3G modem

Features and Additional Software

Features

I was surprised seeing the advanced features this modem offers. I honestly did not expect so much from a 3G Wi-Fi modem. Here are some of things I have seen:

  • MAC Address Filtering – you can block or allow certain addresses from using your Wi-Fi (I probably will not use this feature – a strong password is enough for me).
  • Virtual Server Setting – Allow external devices to use services within your LAN (I might use this in the near future)
  • UPnP Settings
  • Firewall and LAN Settings
  • DHCP Settings

You are also able to send / receive SMS’s, as well as use USSD codes (these vary depending on your mobile network).

Additional Software

If you have an Android or iOS smartphone, you can download Huawei’s HiLink app. This app lets you manage your modem, from your smart device. To manage the modem, your device has to be connected to the modem via Wi-Fi – this is great, but it would have been greater if users were able to manage their devices from an external network (ie: their 3G / LTE connection, or some Wi-Fi network). I have the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 LTE, so I installed the Android app.

The mobile app has all the features and functionality you would expect from the modem’s web interface. The mobile app is visually pleasing, and easy to use. You can view how much data has been consumed, view connected devices, set a monthly limit on your device, check your messages, and so much more.

The Landing Screen with the amount of data I have consumed.
The Landing Screen with the amount of data I have consumed.

Performance

The modem has worked fine without issues – The Wi-Fi is accessible all over my house, with a decent speed of 72Mbps. It only takes a couple of seconds for the modem to be ready for business. As far as network speed goes, this is dependent on the network quality in your area. I did two speed tests (Cell C is pretty bad in East London).

Cell C Speed test 1
Cell C Speed test 1
Cell C Speed test 2
Cell C Speed test 2

Final Verdict

I am happy with this modem. What I love the most about it, is that it is not made to support specific platforms – If your computer (or smartphone / tablet) has Wi-Fi, you can easily configure and use the device. Users also have the option of configuring their modem with the mobile app. I wish this modem also supported LTE, so I could access high data speeds in the near future.