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The EyeFi X2 Pro has three network modes: private, direct, and "hotspot". The hotspot mode is part of a previous offering where they had a deal with AT&T and others to allow use of various commercial wifi services; that's actually discontinued and isn't really relevant. Of the others, "private" lets you provide a list of named wifi networks with credentials, and the card will connect to those. And "direct" means that the Eyefi card itself acts as an "access point", providing an ad-hoc wifi network (but, of course, one that isn't routed anywhere else).

My use case is simply wanting to do selective uploads of some of my pictures — if I'm out with my camera and take a nice photograph which I'd like to share, I currently have the option of waiting until I get home, or attempting to convey the gist of the image by taking a snapshot with my phone cam. I've even resorted to taking pictures of images in review on my LCD screen.

So, I got the EyeFi in an attempt to address this. I could use the direct mode, which would give a workflow like this:

  1. Configure the phone to connect to the EyeFi card's network
  2. Transfer photos
  3. Disconnect from the EyeFi network, and probably tell my phone to forget it so it doesn't connect to it inadvertantly.
  4. Now, upload the selected photos to where I want to share them.

This seems somewhat painful, so instead, I'm planning to use my phone's hotspot capability, and configure the card to know about that as a "private" network. That way, I'll just need to turn on the hotspot and transfer photos, skipping all of the reconfiguring, and leaving my phone actually connected to the cell network at the same time.

I'm concerned, though, that rather than sending the files point-to-point to my phone once set up this way, it actually uses some sort of remote service. That would cause the files to go to my phone over wifi, up to the remote service over cellular, and then back to my phone over cellular as well. It doesn't do that, does it?

It sounds like a silly concern, but the EyeFi in general has invested a large amount into making the whole thing seem like magic, where devices are abstracted out, and I'm worried that this design was chosen towards that end (to avoid dealing with, for example, wifi networks which do not allow peer-to-peer connectivity). I found the whole setup process to be completely confusing and convoluted, with some of the most befuddling software with the weirdest user experience decisions. And you need to have a centralized EyeFi account and register the card using the software for it to work — which implies a centralized system of some sort.

Does anyone know how this actually works?

  • This whole thing is kind of a mess. I would have named what they call "private" just networks, called "direct" hotspot, and "hotspot" wifi providers, or something. I'm clearly not the only one confused, as the newer-generation "Mobi" cards only offer the "direct" mode, and now they don't have to name it anything. – mattdm Apr 13 '15 at 22:23
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    Interesting question - I'll try and do some investigation with my card if I get a chance. I would say though, that if mobile data is turned off for the Eye-Fi app it won't be allowed to use cellular data... – Boris the Spider Apr 14 '15 at 21:32
  • Dpreview uses the words "peer-to-peer" describing the Mobi transfers, and directly compares it with the Pro X2's "Direct Mode": connect.dpreview.com/post/6461183345/eye-fi-mobi-hands-on. Don't know if that actually means anything. My guess would be "Direct mode" is peer-to-peer simply from the speed of the transfer to my incredibly slow-as-molasses iPodTouch (4th gen), but that's only a guess. – inkista Apr 14 '15 at 22:23
  • @inkista Yeah, my guess too. But if peer-to-peer is direct, does that mean that private isn't? – mattdm Apr 14 '15 at 22:25
  • @mattdm Again, my guess is similar to yours: "private" is a connection to a private network, and not peer-to-peer. – inkista Apr 14 '15 at 22:47
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In regards to paragraph 4 where you ask:

Can I use my phones wifi and cellular data to upload data as photos are also being transfered?

  • The answer is yes you can with an iPhone 6. Possibly others too.

In paragraph 5 you mention concerns of photos at your phone being uploaded to a remote service:

  • This will happen unless you choose to disable the feature in the EyeFi App. When disabled in the app you will get photos from the card, but no cellular data is used to upload photos to the cloud. Obviously no photos will make it to the cloud with these setting either, only stored locally on your phone. You can use your phone as normal during this time.

I also want to mention that there is no need to setup the EyeFi card to connect to your phone's hotspot, instead use your phone as a client to connect to the EyeFi card through wifi. Your phone will know the EyeFi card network does not have an internet connection and will use your cell network for internet data connections, messaging, etc.

More info: How it worked for us unfortunately realizes your fears

  • I recently used this card on a shoot and it worked as you described to receive photos from the card as well as upload them to the cloud all at once, but only by using the phone's cellular data and receiving photos from the card on the wifi connection. We also tried other configurations using a hotspot and computer, but the phone wifi/cellular data method was the best option for us when uploading simultaneously.

  • Your best option would be to have two connections if you want to avoid cellular data usage. I believe this is beyond the scope of your question. Look here for more info on that: Super User: When a PC has both a wired and a wireless connection, how is information transferred?

Hope that helps, if you need me to run a test for you with our card let me know and I'd be happy to set it up and report back.

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