More Bang for Buck

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - TEST BENCH -

XiAomi is grAd­u­Ally step­ping out­side the smart­phone arena and launch­ing its ecosys­tem prod­ucts in In­dia. Af­ter air pu­ri­fiers, the com­pany has launched a smart Wi-Fi router. Amid a plethora of routers avail­able in the mar­ket, the Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi 3C stands out as an af­ford­able smart router with app con­trols. Here is a de­tailed re­view.

De­sign: The most strik­ing as­pect of the 3C is its sim­plis­tic de­sign. The router, in white, has a straight-line de­sign with four an­ten­nas at the back. Un­like tra­di­tional routers, this one is sleek and does not have any hard­ware but­ton. A blue light gets il­lu­mi­nated once con­nected. The box con­tains a router, power cable and a man­ual. You will have to buy (or search for a spare) a LAN cable to con­nect the 3C to the mo­dem to cre­ate the wire­less net­work.

Com­pat­i­bil­ity: Xiaomi claims that the Mi Wi-Fi 3C works with both ADSL and fi­bre op­ti­cal net­works. We tested it with Air­tel broad­band by con­nect­ing it to an ex­ist­ing mo­dem (with wire­less). Although I could have con­fig­ured it by vis­it­ing 192.168.1.1, I pre­ferred con­fig­ur­ing it us­ing the Mi Wi-Fi app, which is avail­able for both iOS and An­droid. Xiaomi claims that the router can work with the Mi Home app as well. It of­fers a good range, and con­nec­tiv­ity at dead spots, too. One can con­nect up to 64 de­vices in­clud­ing 20 main de­vices and IoT gad­gets.

Set-up: Set­ting up this router is child’s play. It fetches con­fig­u­ra­tion de­tails from the mo­dem, elim­i­nat­ing the need to con­fig­ure set­tings man­u­ally. Af­ter con­nect­ing the router with the mo­dem us­ing the LAN cable, I logged into the Mi Wi-Fi app us­ing my Xiaomi ac­count on the iOS app. Once the app prompted me to con­nect to the Mi Wi-Fi net­work, I was good to go.

Mi Wi-Fi App: This smart app of­fers full con­trol of the router in­clud­ing the abil­ity to change the ad­min log-in pass­word and the Wi-Fi pass­word or sched­ul­ing a re­boot. It shows a list of de­vices that are latched on to the net­work along with their cur­rent con­nec­tiv­ity sta­tus (con­nected or of­fline). Tap­ping on the de­vice shows more in­for­ma­tion, giv­ing ad­min the con­trol to deny in­ter­net ac­cess per­mis­sion, re­ceive no­ti­fi­ca­tion when the de­vice con­nects on the net­work, and more. I was able to cre­ate a guest net­work, and as­sign data limit for those I did not wish to share my Wi-Fi pass­word with. Other ad­di­tional fea­tures in­clude soft­ware up­date and fire­wall. The Wi-Fi boost op­tion checks the Wi-Fi qual­ity, sig­nal strength, band­width al­lo­ca­tion and net­work speed. If the sta­tus is poor, the app sug­gests op­ti­mi­sa­tion. I was even able to view con­nected de­vices and con­trol the router from afar, even when not con­nected to the same Wi-Fi net­work. Ad­mins can even as­sign speed al­lo­ca­tion for gam­ing, video and more. While these fea­tures are not new, the pre­sen­ta­tion and ease-ofuse are re­fresh­ing.

Bag it or junk it: A good buy if you wish to add wire­less func­tion­al­ity to your ex­ist­ing mo­dem

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