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Novatel Mifi 2532 Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot review

The Novatel Mifi 2532 is a USB modem that acts as a wireless hotspot for up to five devices. We get hooked up.

A separate charger is included in the box, (with a USB micro, rather than USB mini connector) and it can be plugged into a notebook to charge. However, if you do the latter, the device acts as a regular USB modem, but deactivates the Wi-Fi, so the connection can no longer be shared.

Mifi 2532 front

Initial set-up involves just popping in a SIM (we used a pre-pay O2 SIM) and turning on the device. The power light flashes a different colour depending on the quality of the connection, Green for GPRS or EDGE, blue for 3G, and violet for HSPA, and even in our office, we were able to get the latter. A small Wi-Fi indicator on the side lights up when Wi-Fi is being broadcasted.

We were immediately able to see the Mifi as a Wi-Fi hotspot on an iPhone, and connect to it without fuss. Range proved to be excellent, and even moving down three floors in our building, we were still able to stay connected and browse using the device.

Mifi back

We then followed up by connecting a Windows Mobile smartphone and a netbook, and had no problems connecting, though we immediately noticed that the connection speeds drop noticeably as three devices connected at once. It's not really suitable for five devices accessing the internet at once, but more for enabling several devices to gain access frequently and easily when they need it.

Our thoughts then turned to security, something Novatel has clearly considered. The Mifi can be set up like a regular router and by going to "http://www.mifi", you can login to a clean and neat web interface (default password is admin'). From there you can set up WEP, WPA or WPA2 protected access.

The login also gives you information about your router such as IP address, subnet mask, and connected clients. You can also setup Port filtering, and Port forwarding for services such as DNS, FTP, HTTP, POP3, and Telnet.

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