WMWifiRouter for Windows Mobile Smartphones

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Product: WMWifiRouter
Provided By: Morose Media
Price: ~$29.98USD


Introduction:

Consumers today demand information on the go and that is where the Smartphone comes in.  Microsoft has pushed big into this market and many large companies have jumped on the bandwagon offering Windows Mobile as the phones operating system of choice.  These phones have pretty impressive capabilities but often times the cellular carrier will disable features and cripple their phones making you more dependent upon pay-per-use services and thus filling their pockets.

A few months back I picked up an HTC S640 Windows Mobile 6 Smartphone from Telus and I was eager to play around with this phone and enjoy the EVDO Rev.A connection.  It worked okay as a standalone unit, but I wanted to capitalize on the "Use as a High Speed Modem for Laptop Internet Access".  Unfortunately, Telus - like many other carriers has disabled Internet Connection Sharing so that this is not readily available even though it is advertised.  After following a quick guide, I was able to share my connection through a cable, but what if someone else wanted to use the network for a bit?  This is where it became painfully irritating - at least until I found WMWifiRouter by Morose Media.

SoltoN pointed me in the direction of this software and after the trial version expired, I gave the company a call to see if they would extend my license so I could play around with it a little more.  Morose Media came through and WMWifiRouter is now one of my favorite things.

 

About Morose Media:

Morose SoftwareMorose Media is a young dynamic company based in the Netherlands. Founded two years ago by IT veteran Jorrit Jongma and seasoned designer Werner van Alphen as a webdesign company, it has quickly grown into a full solution provider, providing complete internet solutions, custom software development and maintenance, video and animation production and editing, and consulting services.

 

What is WMWifiRouter?

WMWifiRouterWMWifiRouter instantly turns a compatible Windows Mobile phone with wifi into a wireless internet hotspot. No longer do you need an expensive PCMCIA card with an expensive separate data subscription, to get online with your laptop and other devices, like the iPod Touch. But applications can range from working online no matter where you are, to emergency internet access for companies in case the power goes down. WMWifiRouter has taken the internet by storm and in only a couple of months has already been downloaded over 100,000 times.

 

First Things First:

In order to get this software to work, you have to have a compatible device, or at the very least be able to enable ICS on your phone. Below is a clip from the guide I found over at Howard forums.  The guide was written for the Samsung Blackjack II, but the HTC S640 Iris works exactly the same in this regard.

  1. Download the package which contains the two files: BJ.WM6.ICS.Enable.cab and secpolicies.cab
  2. Transfer both of the files to the "My Documents" folder on the phone.  Do not copy to your storage card FYI.
  3. Install the secpolicies.cab file but using File Explorer located in the Applications folder.  Reboot.
  4. Install the BJ.WM6.ICS.Enable.cab file using File Explorer located in the Applications folder.  Reboot.
  5. Using File Explorer located in the Applications folder navigate to the "My Documents" folder and click on the Certs.cab file and reboot.


After following these simple steps "Internet Application Sharing" should now be visible within the Start Menu of the phone.  Connect the phone to a laptop or desktop computer using the provided USB cable, launch the application and press connect.  Your computer should now be online using the 3G or Edge services from the Blackjack II.

 

After your phone is ready, simply install the WMWifiRouter package and you're pretty much ready to go.  The package installed quickly and put a new icon on my quick launch bar.

 

Home Screen
Home Screen
Start Screen
Start Screen

 

It's almost that simple.  On the next page we'll cover some of the features and configuration settings that I found to offer the best performance and battery life on the HTC S640.


General Setup:

According to the documentation, most users are able to simply install, run and click "Connect" and they are happily sharing their EVDO, EDGE or 3G connection but I found that I had to change a couple of things in order to get things running silky smooth.  By default the WMWifiRouter creates an ad-hoc network that allows a single device to connect.  When I ran the software in this mode, the connection kept dropping and reconnecting.  I simply unchecked the "Force ad-hoc only" setting and all my problems went away.

Configuration 1
Configuration 1
Configuration 2
Configuration 2

 

Other settings of interest are the Port Mappings, Network Setup and IP Block.  You can forward specific ports for applications like FTP, Skype or games through your phone.  The network settings section allows you to change the SSID and encrypt the network using WEP if desired.  Lastly the IP Block section gives you the ability to change the network IP range that WMWifiRouter broadcasts on.  Available blocks are 192.168.0.x, 192.168.1.x, 192.168.2.x, 192.168.3.x, 10.0.0.x, 10.0.1.x, 10.0.2.x and 10.0.3.x.

Configuration 3
Configuration 3

 

Testing:

When not forcing the WMWifiRouter into ad-hoc mode I was able to connect a desktop PC, laptop and my iPod Touch all at the same time.  While the speed of the EVDO network doesn't really support major file downloading on multiple machines, I was able to surf the web on the desktop, update some applications on my iPod while running Last.FM on my laptop without any major issues.  Granted this isn't as fast as a good ADSL connection, but the other option is an EVDO air-card that will set you back at least $65 a month on a 3-year contract.  If you have an unlimited data bundle on your phone, this is a great alternative.

Connected Clients
Connected Clients

 

In the image above, I've just got my laptop and iPod touch connected to the WMWifiRouter network.

According to Telus the HTC S640 is capable of 2.4Mbps peak throughput with typical download speeds of 400-700kbps.  Upload speeds are rated at 153kbps peak with an average of 40-60kbps.  Telus says average latency should be around 150ms, so it's with these numbers in mind that we hopped over to Speedtest.net and tested out the WMWifiRouter speeds on a laptop.

Speed Test
Speed Test

 

The screenshot above shows an average speed after we ran through this test several times.  We reached as high as 1189kbps and as low as 796kbps.  Our ping was always above 150, and the upload never exceeded 140kpbs.  Regardless, this speed will help you out in a pinch and definitely provide some break to the boredom when you're sitting at an airport and want to catch up on your Youtube clips.


Final Thoughts:

WMWifiRouter is a great piece of software that has some hardware limitations and software dependencies.  However, Windows Mobile has a lot of guides, tweaks and hacks available for it so that you can run this piece of software on many devices.  By default, the enabled ad-hoc network didn't work on my device and the Wifi Power Boost seriously drained battery life.  Once I disabled those two settings, I had a great experience with the software and it was stable, fast and didn't affect battery life much more that surfing the net through a Wifi connection on my handset.  In the end it provides the user with a great way to use your data plan on your phone for so much more.  While I'm sure that my "unlimited data plan" would in fact become limited if I downloaded 20GB or more a month, for casual usage and for emergency use when my rural ISP goes down, WMWifiRouter is a winner.  If I wanted to get the same performance from an EVDO card, I'd be out at least $49.99 for a EVDO card and strapped to a $65/month (1GB of data) for two years.  The WMWifiRouter is like money in the bank.

Green Light:

  • Turns your Smartphone into an EVDO/EDGE/3G WiFi Router!
  • Ad-hoc or infrastructure mode for multiple connections
  • Very affordable.

 

Red Light:

  • Didn't know about this 6 months ago.

 BCCRating

 Top Pick

 

My only regret with this software is that I didn't know about it months ago.  If I had, I'd love it even more.  I'd like to offer many thanks to Morose Media for dropping WMWifiRouter our way and to SoltoN for pointing me in the right direction to begin with. Please feel free to post your thoughts, comments and questions regarding this software and our review at the "Comments" link below.