Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi router review (UK version) en

By Kiswum on Wednesday 14 May 2014 08:00 - Comments (19)
Categories: Gadgets, Review, Views: 53.049


Changelog:
12-06'14: Uploaded a new view of the review
Added new logo's. Still need to test the Network speed.
15-05'14: Changed DD-WRT into Open WRT
14-05'14: IPv6 WAN is probably supported via WAN!
14-05'14: ADQ thank you for the corrections that you gave to me!
Changed some sentences and corrected some spelling mistakes

14-05'14: Released the initial version of this review, the review is still under construction. This is the first major release.
My story of networking benchmarks, screenshots from benchmarks, streaming information and pictures for the titles will be added this week or the week after.


This is part 1 of a bigger/full review. In the following days I will complete it with more information. All the changes will be reported in the changelog.
When everything is tested and the review is completed, then I will create a Dutch version. Meanwhile, enjoy this "preview" and you are welcome to request some tests.


contents

Introduction
Why this router
Specifications of the router
My first impression
Basic functionality of the router (work in progress)
Screenshots of the menu and basic settings
Comparison with other routers
Benchmarks (work in progress)
Additional information and links
Temporary verdict

intro

Mid November 2013, Xiaomi showed some pictures of a new router, but without many details. 1 month later, on 16 December 2013, Xiaomi announced something special. They showed us a wooden box, filled with parts to build your own wi-fi router. They only produced 500 Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi routers for very lucky beta users.
On 23 April 2014, they made the router available for everyone. The advertised price is about € 80,- and this is including a 2,5" harddisk with a storage of 1 TB.
In my review I want to focus on a average user and I want to show, what you can expect from this low-priced router. Can it be compared with commonly use products from manufacturers like Linksys(Cisco) and Netgear?
Just scroll down and read the review to know what you can expect from this router from ROM/Phone manufacturer Xiaomi.

If you are searching for a manual to configure the router in English, here you go. I have translated it with Google translate and you can download the latest version via my blog:
Tweaker Kiswum: Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi router translation



choice
I have used many routers from several brands in the past 10 years. It all started with the Asus WL500G, after this Broadband router. After that one, I have purchased a few ADSL routers from Asus, Linksys and ZTE. The last 2 routers I have purchased were the Linksys E4200 and Netgear WNDR3700.
None of the phones we used in our house supported wi-fi via the 5GHz bandwidth. So this was one of the reasons why I was not yet interested in AC routers. I wanted to update my handhelds to support the 5GHz bandwidth, before I spend my money on a new router. Last month my girlfriend received the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact which supports wi-fi 802.11 A/B/G/N/AC. I have finalized the review of this phone, but unfortunately I couldn't test wi-fi on the 802.11 AC protocol. Up to now... Times have changed.

I have won a contest from the Chinese webshop, Ibuygou! They seached for someone who wants to review this router. I've tried to prove that I would be a good candidate to review this router for them. I have showed them a few of my previous reviews. So this won't be the first time, that I would write a review in English. But it will be the first time, that I will review a home router. I hope that I don't disappoint them with this review, because I'm writing for them (and the rest of the world :))


specs

WLAN:IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 802.3/3u/3ab
WLAN Speed:2,4GHz max. 300Mbps / 5GHz max. 866Mbps
Channel 2,4 GHz:1 - 13
Channel 5GHz:36/40/44/48/52/56/60/64/149/153/157/161/165
Antenna :2X2 MIMO, Dual-band
Signal strengh modus:Wall / Standard / Energy saving
WAN:1x 10/100/1000 Mbit / Auto MDI / MDIX
LAN:2x 10/100/1000 Mbit / Auto MDI / MDIX
Network Mode:DHCP / PPPoE / Manual IP Address
Guest mode:Not available
Security:WPA / WPA 2 / None
VPN:PPTP / L2TP
SD card:No
Harddisk drive:2,5" 1 TB Toshiba /
Memory (RAM):256 MB / DDR 3 / 1600 MHz
IPv6:No
WAN MAC address cloning:Yes
USB:1x USB v2.0
Bluetooth:No
NFC:Yes
USB:1x Micro USB v2.0
Chipset:Broadcom BCM 4709
CPU:Dual-core 1 GHz
Reset button:Yes, reset button via a small pin
Power supply:Output: 12v / 2,5A
Power supply:Input: 100-240V ~ 50/60Hz 0,5A
Size:120 x 64 x 168 mm
Router OS:Linux, based on Open WRT
App Support:IOS, Android



first_impression

Unboxing video of the router, made by IBG:


The package of the router looks like the packages I've seen from Xiaomi's mobile phones. It is made out of brown cardboard with a Mi logo on top and a label with the specifications on the back. The box had a little bump in one corner, but I didn't notice it until I checked the pictures afterwards. This means that the package is strong enough to receive some beatings during the trip.
When you open the package, you will see the router wrapped in a plastic seal. Underneath it you will see the manuals and power adaptor.
I was hoping to see at least a EU connector, a network cable and a CD within the package. What I really missed was this EU connector. This router is meant for Asia and this is the reason why it is not packed with a power connector for Europe/The Netherlands. When you order this router outside China, then make sure that you ask for a converter for the power supply.

Contents of the box:
  • 1 x Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi router
  • 1 x Power cable
  • 2 x Documentation


The router looks like a premium product and feels massive (in a good way). It makes you feel that you are holding a single bay NAS in your hand. This is not very strange, because the router has a harddisk built into the casing. You can't see or feel that you are dealing with a low-budget router. What Xiaomi did with the smartphones, they just did it again! They created a low-budget product with the looks of a mid-range to top-market product.
I think that the looks are fine, not to fancy or to playful. When you see the images of this router for the first time, you could think it has something to do with the Apple Mac Pro. I must admit that it does have some similarities, but there are many differences in shape and looks.

Description of the router:
On top of the router, you will find a glossy layer with the Mi logo nicely engraved on it. The rest of the router uses the same material as the Linksys routers. I think the material is called "matte synthetic". The 2 sides don't have any buttons or anything else, it's just clean.
The bottom of the router has 4 small rubber pads. If you would remove the pads, you will find a MI logo on the screws, you need to pierce it when you want to remove the screws. When the plate has been remove, then you will probably see the harddisk. On this plate, you will also see the label of the router.
The front of the router has just one LED. The LED turns orange while the router starts and changes to blue when the router is ready for usage.
The back of the router holds the important connections. Here you will find the USB, 1Gbit LAN, 1Gbit WAN connectors, reset button and the power connector.
Around the top of the router (about 1/3 of the router), there is a grate to release warm air from the router and the harddisk.




functionality

Wi-Fi:
The router is equipped with 2x2 internal dual-band antennas, which can communicate on the 2,4GHz and 5GHz range. The maximum speed is 300Mbps and 866Mbps for wireless connections. I have tested it for a week with several mobile phones and computers. I have placed the router where most people would put it, near my TV and current internet router. The router is placed in the living room on the 1st floor. I was able to pick up the 5GHz and 2,4GHz network at ~40 meters outside my home, but I haven't really tested the internet connection from that location yet. When I'm in the living room the network connection never dropped, but unfortunately the router wasn't powerful enough to provide a good connection all the time on the 2nd floor. It can work for the whole day but after a while you can notice that the connection is gone. At that moment you can't connect to the router, although you can still see the router in the Wi-Fi settings.
We experienced the same thing with our other routers. This was the reason we have installed another router/accesspoint on the 2nd floor. This means that the Wi-Fi connection is as "powerful" as the rest of my routers (ZTE H220N, Linksys E4200 and Netgear WNDR3700).
In the nearby future I will test if the results will be better, when I turn on the "wall" mode.

More details will be added soon.

Network
Under construction

I wrote that IPv6 was not supported.
I have checked the current configfile and it looks like it is support via WAN.
Here is a part of the configfile:

config rule
option name 'Allow-DHCPv6'
option src 'wan'
option proto 'udp'
option src_ip 'fe80::/10'
option src_port 'xxx'
option dest_ip 'fe80::/10'
option dest_port 'xxx'
option family 'ipv6'
option target 'ACCEPT'


The only thing I can tell for now, is that it worked without any problems. The DLNA was visible via my SmartTV, Smartphone and computer.

Streaming media
Under construction

Performance measured with multiple devices
Under construction


settings

Here are "some" screenshots which are made from my phone and pc. You can enter the router via a browser (http://www.miwi-fi.com or 192.168.31.1) or via your Android or Apple smartphone. I can tell you a lot about the settings of the webbrowser, but I think it is better to check the screenshots that I have made. Unfortunately it wasn't possible for me to translate the menu from the Android app, I hope Xiaomi will focus on extra languages for this router and the app as well.
Although I can't read or speak Chinese at all, most pictures and buttons were very clear for me. Here is a list of a few things you can do via the Android app.

• Change the name of the router
• Change the admin password
• Change the WPA2 key
• Stream audio, video and pictures directly to your phone
• Check the amount of connected devices
• Reboot the router





comparison




benchmarks

I hope to give you these results very soon...



extra

Links
Webshop Ibuygou (IBG)
Mi Wi-Fi website
Xiaomi support site
Unofficial Multi language support site for Miui and Xiaomi devices
English manual of the router

Promotion videos
[YouTube: http://youtu.be/fp4PyuMeDYg]



verdict

I really like this router from Xiaomi. It looks good, it is cheap and has some nice built-in features. When I installed the router, I didn't have any problems configuring the router. I can imagine that you need to have a little bit of network/router experience, to make sure you can get through the menu. Although the menu is completely in Chinese, I could find my way without misconfiguring the router.
I think this router has high potential, but Xiaomi should offer the English language in the menu.
There are some "standard" features missing in the menu, like: Guest login, Bridge mode, Firewall settings, DDNS and logon via another network.
I must admit that everything Xiaomi has put in this router seems to work without issues. The router has 2 LAN ports and this isn't very much. I guess it was to difficult to build-in 2 extra LAN ports, because 1/3 of the body is used for airflow.

Controlling the router with a mobile app is great and I haven't seen this very much on other routers from the major brands (so far I've seen it on the brand new Linksys WRT1900AC).
I still have to test a few things via the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact from my girlfriend (she can connect to 802.11 AC networks). I also need to do some benchmarks and to test the networks speed. The only things I have for now are some Windows screenshots, but these are not reliable.
So, please make sure that you check the changelog at the beginning of the page and stay tuned for the second part of my review.

Is this router ready for global distribution? No, not yet, it first needs to get an option to choose for more languages. I would suggest to start with English and Spanish. The rom is based on Open WRT, so I hope this makes it easy for developers to configure the router with new features.

So far this router receives 4 stars, everything that is inside, works like a charm. I hope there will be a Multilanguage rom very soon.
4 sterren

Volgende: Xiaomi event 15 mei 2014 05-'14 Xiaomi event 15 mei 2014
Volgende: Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi router translation 05-'14 Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi router translation

Comments


By Tweakers user job_h, Thursday 15 May 2014 12:19

The rom is based on DD-WRT, so I hope this makes it easy for developers to configure the router with new features.
Ik heb op andere websites OpenWRT gelezen en dat lijkt me ook logischer. DD-WRT is een goede firmware, maar lastig aan te passen. Het is redelijk houtjetoutje ontwikkeld over de jaren, terwijl OpenWRT modulair opgezet is en betere kwaliteitscontrole op de code heeft...

OpenWRT zou dan ook logischer en makkelijker toe te passen zijn dan DD-WRT ;)

[Comment edited on Thursday 15 May 2014 12:23]


By Tweakers user Kiswum, Thursday 15 May 2014 12:35

@job_h, klopt, je hebt helemaal gelijk!
Ik zal dit aanpassen.


Stukje tekst:
基于Open Wrt开发的miwifi智能系统
Open Wrt based intelligent system developed for miwifi

By Gijs, Tuesday 3 June 2014 12:05

Bedankt voor de review! Ben je ondertussen al aan het vervolg bezig?

By Tweakers user Kiswum, Tuesday 3 June 2014 12:09

Hallo Gijs, bedankt voor je reactie :)

Ik heb de layout en foto's inmiddels aangepast, maar ik ben nog niet helemaal toegekomen aan deze review. Er kwam plotseling een Redmi 1S tussendoor. Deze heb ik vluchtig getest en hiervan komt volgende week ook een review.

Tevens wilde ik wachten op mijn nieuwe mediaspeler. Ik heb vandaag de Mi Box Pro binnen gekregen. Deze kan via 802.11 AC verbinding maken met de Mi Wi-Fi. Deze resultatten probeer ik eigenlijk ook in deze review te plaatsen.

Nog even geduld :(

By Tweakers user gijs.vdh, Tuesday 3 June 2014 12:31

In orde!

Ik heb zelf de router vandaag ontvangen. Graag zou ik een gewone openWRT versie erop willen, maar ik vrees dat die ondersteuning nog wel even op zich laat wachten. Ik zie dat je over een configfile spreekt: is het je gelukt om toegang via SSH te krijgen?

De Mi Box Pro is ook hier in bestelling, ik ben dus ook erg benieuwd naar jouw ervaringen :-).

By Tweakers user eillienroc, Wednesday 11 June 2014 22:33

Hallo Kiswum,

ik kan blijkbaar niks qua apps selecteren/vinden. Ik heb een Xiaomi account aangemaakt. en kan er via de computer op inloggen maar verder raak ik blijkbaar niet.
Is dit omdat ik me niet in China bevind of niet?

By Tweakers user Kiswum, Thursday 12 June 2014 13:25

Ik bevind me zelf ook niet in China. MIjn account is inmiddels al 1,5 jaar oud. Toen ik het account van mijn vriendin, begin dit jaar, probeerde aan te maken, is het helaas niet goed gelukt. Ik weet niet waar dit precies aan ligt.
Kun je wel gewoon inloggen op je account?

http://i.xiaomi.com

[Comment edited on Thursday 12 June 2014 13:25]


By Tweakers user eillienroc, Saturday 14 June 2014 13:01

Ik kan me inloggen op het account maar ik kan geen enkel device vinden. Ik heb enkel een Router van Xiaomi, al mijn andere apparaten zijn van andere merken.

By Tweakers user Gateway999, Tuesday 15 July 2014 15:20

Bedankt voor de goeie review!

Heel interessant product, vooral ook vanwege de NAS mogelijkheden. In het ding is er vast geen plek meer voor een extra HD? Als ik 'm als NAS kan gebruiken en van afstand kan benaderen dan koop ik 'm. Wel is Engels dan echt nodig, ik heb nu ook een chinese router die ik zonder een woord chinees te spreken heb ingesteld, maar met NAS functionaliteit erbij moet er gewoon echt Engels op.

By Tweakers user Kiswum, Tuesday 15 July 2014 15:28

Ik ben een beetje traag met het testen van de laatste dingen op deze router :)
Je kunt hem nu bijna volledig bedienen met een Engelse app.
Helaas is er geen ruimte voor een 2e hardeschijf, waardoor RAID ook niet in de mogelijkheden zou vallen. Je kunt er echter wel 1 via de USB poort aansluiten.

By Tweakers user Gateway999, Tuesday 15 July 2014 15:50

nice!

En weet je ook of de HD extern benaderbaar is via een login? Dus volledig NAS functionaliteit?

En die HD die erin zit, lijkt op een 2,5inch. Klopt dat?

[Comment edited on Tuesday 15 July 2014 15:51]


By Tweakers user Kiswum, Tuesday 15 July 2014 16:02

De huidige HD is inderdaad een 2,5" model.
Ik heb nog geen externe HDD aangesloten, het kan zijn dat deze dan als backup dient of als extra opslag.
Als ik het heb getest, dan laat ik het hier wel even weten.

By Tweakers user Gateway999, Tuesday 15 July 2014 16:24

ok, ben benieuwd

gaat me dan vooral om of je buitenshuis de bestanden op de HD kan benaderen en bijvoorbeeld films streamen.

By Vivien, Monday 28 July 2014 12:12

Hi

I setup my Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi successfully with the help of the translated manual.

There is still things I am wanting to know, but will see if I can figure this one out.

I have also manged to copy about 700Gb of data on the HDD and it is easily available via the network share/DNLA. There is issue on the default created folders on the drive that it limited you to a size, but you can overcome this by making your own folders with content within.

Do you think these guys will ever release English firmware for the UI ?

Kind Regards

Vivien

By Tweakers user Kiswum, Monday 28 July 2014 12:22

The founder of Xiaomi.eu (Mark), he has developed a English version of this router. He send it over to Xiaomi, but it seems that they haven't looked into it. I really hope there will be a English version of the router, because it can much more than I could test at this moment.

By Vivien, Wednesday 30 July 2014 16:22

Yes, I agree.

Some of the guys that saw and heard about the router I bought are very interested in buying, but scared to go through the translation and guessing game.

My Router is now fully operation and implemented in my Home network.

I think, I can still tweak it to do more, but ... back to same English version story.

Please ask if you need help or want me to test something on my side for you.

I am more than willing to play around and test.

Kind Regards

Vivien

By brett hollanders, Monday 11 August 2014 21:12

hey,

heb je ondertussen al de afstand getest waar in de router voldoende blijft werken.

is er ook al een engelse update

op welke spanning werkt de router

Mvg,

Brett

By andrea, Wednesday 5 November 2014 00:43

Help i have audate the firmware to 0.8.74 and now
I can t open the mirouter interface (192.168.31.1 )

By Tweakers user sanderinozie, Wednesday 11 February 2015 22:06

Tot nu toe mooie review!

Zit te kijken voor een nieuwe router bij ons beneden en zit over deze na te denken, wacht rustig de rest van je review af om te kijken wat je er verder van vindt.

Ben erg benieuwd naar je benchmarks.

Enige idee of films die je op de HDD in de router zet direct door SmartTV's in het netwerk herkend worden?

Succes verder!

Groet,
Sander

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