Rise of the MiFi

verizon_mifi_1

Never find yourself in need of a WiFi hotspot again-it will be in your pocket.   The Verizon MiFi 2200 is an uber-portable (roughly the size of a credit card, about as thick as an iPod) hotspot, connecting up to 5 WiFi-enabled devices simultaneously to Verizon’s 3G network.  Added bonus–when attached to a laptop through USB it switches to the world’s sexiest broadband modem and also charges itself.  I spent a little bit of time trying out my company’s MiFi and instantly fell in love–then again anything that eases my daily three+ hours of commute by train will win my affection ;)

The MiFi sports a 4-hour charge while in WiFi use, 40 on standby.   You still have Verizon’s data plans to contend with.  The MiFi itself is $99.99 (after rebate)-$150 (full price) with a two-year data plan at either  $40 (256MB data usage) or $60 ( 5GB data usage).  Not a Verizon customer?  Sprint has their own MiFi 2200 (both are  manufactured by Novatel Wireless) with identical features and price points.

Posted in: Travel Gear, Wireless

17 comments… add one

  • Andy Chen August 18, 2009, 5:44 pm

    I have one. I love it.

    Also works with the iPod Touch. I can have my MiFi tucked in one pocket, and poke around the web on the Touch. Handy for those of us without iPhones, or when the little browser on your cell phone just doesn’t cut it.

    I also like the fact that the setup utilities are built-in. Plug it in your Mac/PC and follow the directions. No more CD’s to lose!

    1
  • Julie August 18, 2009, 5:45 pm

    I wonder how this device compares to the USB727 that I reviewed awhile back?

    http://the-gadgeteer.com/2008/11/05/verizon_wireless_usb727_modem_review/

    2
  • Andy Chen August 18, 2009, 5:46 pm

    Oh one more thing: It’s small. Imagine an Altoids tin. Now remove the lid. The lid is the same size as the MiFi.

    3
  • Andy Chen August 18, 2009, 5:47 pm

    I have the related, smaller USB dongle (model 760) and the experience is about the same.

    Of course, the advantage being that if you don’t feel like plugging it into a USB port and you’ve got WiFi, you’re good to go.

    4
  • Andy Chen August 18, 2009, 5:49 pm

    Oh!!! I just remembered ONE MORE thing! (Yes I’m gushing):

    If you’re in a fringe reception area, now you can pop this little gem further away (maybe near a window?) where cell coverage is better. Connect via Wifi from across the room, and presto.

    From the browser setup window, you can tell how many “bars” you have.

    5
  • Andrew August 18, 2009, 6:50 pm

    I used this ALL WEEKEND when traveling (14 hours in the car) and had an excellent connection the whole way – we have the Sprint version. Here’s another interesting thought, folks: When connected to this access point, the iPhone has no idea it’s on 3G. While in rural Colorado, I went through an AT&T 100% dead zone. While in that dead zone, I was getting FULL EVDO through Sprint!
    I made several calls using Skype for the iPhone through my Mifi. :)

    THAT is full of awesome.

    6
  • Tyler Onbekend August 18, 2009, 8:06 pm

    Too bad the data plans offered by mobile providers are a joke.

    7
  • Jackie Cheng August 18, 2009, 9:33 pm

    I personally use the Cradlepoint CTR500 3G Router in our mobile studio. Works great. It has USB port for the usb 3G adapters and a express card slot for those types of 3G cards. Supports Verizon, AT&T, and T-mobile.

    8
  • Fuchikoma-X August 18, 2009, 10:15 pm

    Here is a novel idea:
    1- 3G or 3GS iPHONE
    2-hack with bigboss phonetools +winpwnz or pineapple
    3-grab PDAnet via JUNEFabrics
    4- badda bing badda boom: PC+umbilical cord = win sauce.
    …. you don’t need to pay for a data line if you already own it. it’s just milking of the sheep consumer. plus that ATT uses a soft cap on their 5GB data line that 3G networks are already use, its a no brainer to to use you allocated resource to its full potential

    9
  • Fuchikoma-X August 18, 2009, 10:18 pm

    oh yeah i forgot to mention that PDSNet doubles as a router if you enable that mode. meaning that connections are unlimited from target machines within range. now you’re playing with “powah”!

    forgive my previous typos! coconut rum made me do it!

    10
  • dave August 18, 2009, 10:47 pm

    I’ve got a MiFi too, and find it’s the perfect companion to my Touch ( I have no desire to own an iPhone). My wife sewed a little bright fabric pouch for it and I place it in my shirt pocket. I’ve got internet everywhere I go. Awesome–it works flawlessly and unlike some who claim it gets hot, mine just gets warm. The monthly fee is pricey, but oh well, I can afford it.

    11
  • Charlie August 19, 2009, 1:52 am

    Sprint’s version has GPS (although not very useful since it requires the use of Sprint’s directory interface). Also, Sprint’s version requires no software installation to activate (it uses the standard Web browser interface like many AP); I read Verizon’s needs installation for initial activation.

    12
  • Charlie August 19, 2009, 1:54 am

    I’ve had mine for about a month; absolutely love it. The only complain is that it’s very particular with charging cables if you want to charge it through USB. Basically, works very well with non-data/power-only cables. Data/power combo cables don’t work as well. Boxwave has a retractable USB sync/charge cable for Palm Pre with 2 tips — one data/power, one power-only — seems to be the best solution so far.

    13
  • Andrew August 19, 2009, 11:09 am

    Charlie,
    That’s really REALLY great to know. The only issue I have with my Sprint Mifi is that when it’s plugged in via USB to my Macbook, the wifi doesn’t work (by design). Having the ability to cut off the data pins will stop this from happening.

    14
  • Scott August 22, 2009, 1:26 pm

    Charlie, you can get the mifi to charge over normal usb cables.

    1. go to your mifi config page, then settings, config

    2. download a backup of your config

    3. edit it with a text editor. change the line that says
    0 to
    1

    4. save it, and reupload it to your mifi

    15
  • Scott August 22, 2009, 1:28 pm

    Hmm, the code didn’t show up. Just google jkkmobile and mifi and the follow the instructions.

    16
  • Michael Murray January 10, 2010, 3:48 am

    I bought one of the HUAWEI’s that only does 3 WiFi connections and runs on Virgin in Australia. Outstanding for holiday use by the family.

    Michael

    17

Leave a Comment