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Xiaomi router 3G test review

Xiaomi WiFi Router 3G review - 2017 model

Test report prepared by Timo on January 4, 2019

The Xiaomi WiFi Router 3G is a continuing model of the 2016 released Xiaomi WiFi Router 3. What innovations the router has to offer and how it beats in practice, more in this review.

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8.1
Our rating
Specifications
Overview
Manufacturer

Xiaomi

Model

Xiaomi Mi WiFi Router 3G

Specifications

 Hardware 
CPU: MediaTek MT7621A MIPS
RAM: 256MB DDR3
NAND: 128MB Flash

 Connections 
1x Gigabit WAN
2x Gigabit LAN
1x USB 3.0
1x Power

 Network 
Protocols: IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, IEEE 802.3 / 3u / 3ab

2.4G channels: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
5G channels: 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165

2.4G WiFi: up to 300Mbps
5G WiFi: up to 867Mbps

 other 
NAS: External USB media
OS: Mod. OpenWRT
Size: 19.50 x 13.10 x 2.40 cm
Weight: 261g

First impression - Xiaomi Mi WiFi Router 3G

What's in the box

Like its predecessor, the scope of delivery only includes the router, a power supply unit with NEMA-1 plug (12V - 1.5A) and a Chinese operating manual. If you want to use the included power supply in this country, you also need an EU adapter.

Design and workmanship

Xiaomi has the case of the  3. Xiaomi routers  recycled, which is why the Xiaomi 3G router doesn't look a bit different from the previous model. The plain white case measures 19.5 cm in length, 13.10 cm in width and 2.40 cm in height. The total weight of the router is 261g. Wall mounting is not intended. Rather, the router is intended to be set up, which is why it is also equipped with four tiltable, omnidirectional antennas. All connections are placed on the back. The reset button and the power connection are also located there. There is a multi-colored status LED on the front. The processing quality is nothing to complain about. 

Xiaomi router 3G included

Hardware

Although the Xiaomi 3G router has not been visually updated, a lot has changed in terms of hardware instead. Xiaomi uses a MediaTek MT7621A System-on-Chip, whose dual-core MIPS1004Kc CPU clocks with up to 880 MHz. As a result, compared to its predecessor, which still relied on the MT7620N system-on-chip, not only has the number of cores increased, the processor is also faster, allows faster storage connections, is USB 3.0 compatible and can handle up to five gigabit Support Ethernet connections.

As a result, the Xiaomi Mi WiFi Router 3G also cuts a good figure in terms of storage facilities. The router offers a 128MB SLC Nand Flash and a 256MB DDR3-1200 RAM (model 3 only with 128MB DDR2). The connection options amount to one WAN and two LAN ports with a fast gigabit connection as well as a USB 3.0 socket. The 4 omnidirectional antennas are used by both the 2.4G and 5G WiFi. The WiFi protocols IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, IEEE 802.3 / 3u / 3ab are supported. Xiaomi specifies the maximum data transfer rate of the Xiaomi Mi WiFi Router 3G with 300 Mbps in 2.4G WiFi and 867 Mbps in 5G WiFi. Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) is not supported.

commissioning

The router's user interface is based on OpenWRT and is only available in Chinese by default. This makes commissioning seem complicated at first, but the setup is uncomplicated overall and can be carried out with the Google Translator without any problems. As soon as the router is set up, the user interface can be easily translated using the browser. Alternatively, it is also possible to flash the firmware intended for Hong Kong and Taiwan, which is also available in English. 

If you are familiar with the subject of firmware flashing and have no problem with alternative software, you can even flash the LEDE firmware, Prometheus or PandoraBox. These are open source projects, which are also based on OpenWRT and leave a significantly larger scope in terms of functions and options. Instructions for the individual projects can be found on the internet. The original firmware was left on the router for the test report.

Connectivity of the Xiaomi WiFi Router 3G

Web interface and functions

As mentioned earlier, Xiaomi uses a custom OpenWRT. There are hardly any differences between the individual Xiaomi router models. Although all Xiaomi routers receive different firmware updates, the web interface is mostly identical visually and functionally.

If you surf the web interface of the Xiaomi WiFi Router 3G, you are greeted by a detailed overview, which provides general information on the router status as well as information on the connected devices, the data throughput and the system load. The menu item for memory management explains how to connect an external medium to the router. Access from the computer is possible, for example, via the Mi WiFi Client, which is available for both Windows and OSX. For mobile devices there is the so-called Mi WiFi app (Android and iOS), which can also be used to set up a Samba server.

The WLANs can be managed within the general router settings. In addition to the typical configuration of the SSID, the password and the encryption, it is also possible to adjust the transmission power and the WiFi channel can be freely selected. The 2.4G and 5G networks are configured separately. It is interesting to have the option of creating a completely independent guest WLAN that operates separately from the "main WLAN". There are other setting options for DHCP, DNS and the white or blacklist.

In the sub-item of the extended settings, QoS can be configured, DDNS can be added, port forwarding rules can be created, a PPTP or L2TP VPN can be preset and there are settings for UPnP.

Xiaomi Mi WiFi App

The Xiaomi Mi WiFi app is available for Android and iOS mobile devices. In contrast to the router's standard Chinese web interface, the app is also available in English. Functionally, the app offers the same functions that are also available via the web interface. In addition, it is possible to install various plugins via the app, such as an ad blocker, a firewall or a Samba server. However, many plugins are primarily intended for the Chinese market.

Xiaomi Mi WiFi PC Client

The PC client is officially only available in Chinese. In contrast to the app and the web interface, the PC client mainly serves the simplified transmission of data. For example, you can start downloads that are made directly through the router and stored on the connected media. As an alternative to the HTTP or FTP download, it is also possible to use the Mi WiFi client to download torrents.

Practical test of the Xiaomi WiFi Router 3G

The Xiaomi router 3G was tested in the LAN with a Realtek 8111D network card and in WLAN with an Intel chip Wireless-AC 8260 module. The connected storage medium was a Toshiba STOR.E Basics USB 3.0 hard disk.

Signal strength WLAN

The WLAN built up by the router is convincing both in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz network with a constant signal with a long range. In terms of data throughput, the router cannot quite match the much more expensive one  Xiaomi R3P  keep in mind, however, the Xiaomi router 3G shows above-average performance in view of the price. The transition between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz is fluent.

NAS function and data throughput

In contrast to its predecessor, the Xiaomi Router 3G is equipped with USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.0. The connected storage medium is managed via the Mi WiFi app. The file management via the app is clear and downloading and uploading works without any problems. If you activate the Samba server plug-in via the app, you can also conveniently create a network drive via the PC and access the storage medium.

If you want to use the USB 3.0 function, it has to be activated separately via the web interface or the app. At the same time it is pointed out that the USB 3.0 data transmission can interfere with the 2.4G WiFi. In the test, however, no differences or impairments were noticeable. Rather, the data throughput with active or deactivated USB 3.0 function was almost identical, at least in the WLAN. Only in the LAN was there a noticeable difference in speed with regard to data transmission.

Transmission in the LAN

Transmission in the WLAN

input

The power consumption of the Xiaomi WiFi Router 3G is 8.2 watts in idle. With normal use, values ​​of 10.8 watts are achieved. If a hard drive is also connected and accessed, consumption increases to 13 watts. It does not matter whether the USB 3.0 function is activated or deactivated.

rating
Positive

Design and workmanship
Dual-band AC
Gigabit WAN and LAN
signal stability
Signal range
OpenWRT possibility
USB 3.0 compatibility
Low energy consumption

Negative

No wall mounting option
Chinese user interface

Summary

Although the Xiaomi router 3G does not differ externally from the previous year's model, it offers much more powerful hardware. In the test convinced the router above all by a comparatively good data throughput, as well as a high-signal WLAN. The 100 Mbit connection, which was criticized in the previous year's model, replaced Xiaomi with three Gigabit WAN and LAN ports. At the same time, the only connection option for storage media has been upgraded to USB 3.0, which has a positive effect on the transmission speed with regard to the NAS function, at least in the LAN. The only criticism is the Chinese user interface, whose language can only be changed by firmware upgrades or modifications.

8.1
Our rating
Overview
Manufacturer

Xiaomi

Model

Xiaomi Mi WiFi Router 3G

Specifications

 Hardware 
CPU: MediaTek MT7621A MIPS
RAM: 256MB DDR3
NAND: 128MB Flash

 Connections 
1x Gigabit WAN
2x Gigabit LAN
1x USB 3.0
1x Power

 Network 
Protocols: IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, IEEE 802.3 / 3u / 3ab

2.4G channels: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
5G channels: 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165

2.4G WiFi: up to 300Mbps
5G WiFi: up to 867Mbps

 other 
NAS: External USB media
OS: Mod. OpenWRT
Size: 19.50 x 13.10 x 2.40 cm
Weight: 261g

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