Since I am a big time wireless user at home and work, this little device caught my attention. Novatel Wireless has produced a small gadget roughly the same size as an iPhone. They are calling it the MiFi, a “mobile WiFi broadcasting device.”
The device itself is sleek and thin and will fit in your pocket comfortably. The exterior is a glossy finish covered by a metallic texture on the reverse side. No cords, no modem, just charge it up and push the power button. It is an amazing device. More on this below.
What does it do?
This little gizmo is capable of producing a 15-20 foot radius WiFi bubble anywhere you take it, and it uses the same signal carried by cell phone towers. So you and up to 4 more of your buddies can connect to the internet from anywhere: Driving down the road, sitting in the park, at home, secretly at work. Whatever the case, it’s your own personal WiFi Hotspot for as long as that battery will last!
How well does it do it?
Typical speeds are running over 1.12 mbps download and .54 mbps upload. These rates vary depending on what service provider you use. Currently, it’s available through Sprint or Verizon. Security features include the typical ones you would find on any router, WEP, WPA, and WPA2. Or you can leave your network open as public, but I don’t recommend it.
The battery lasts 40 hours in standby mode, 5 1/2 hours while active.
Allows connection for up to 5 guest devices at once.
Initial setup requires you to connect it via USB to a PC or Mac.
Okay here is the important part for most people nowadays.
Sprint is currently offering the MiFi for $299.99 – $150.00 Instant Savings (great marketing eh?) Then another –$50 Mail-in Rebate, which totals it out to $99.99. But you still have to sign up for a 2 –yr contract, or upgrade your existing one. The current Sprint data plan rate is $59.99 for 5GB with no unlimited data plan currently available (bummer!)
Verizon is offering the same deal. However, there have been reports that Verizon’s network is significantly faster with the MiFi. $99.99 w/ 2 yr contract. $59.99 per month. 5GB Data Limit.
This MiFi is an amazing device, and I want one! The two yr contracts are currently a turn-away for me though at present. I believe other carriers will be offering this or a similar device soon. In the meantime, I will stick with my iPhone which has a less expensive and unlimited data plan. 5GB’s a month? Come on! Maybe if you only used this for your car, but not enough bandwidth to make it useful at home.