I am seriously considering getting a VZ MiFi to use for the internet. I like that it is portable and that I can connect up to 5 devices to it at a time, but I need to know if there is anything that I should be aware of. Are there any special features that it has? Can it be used other than described? Does it work better in the city as opposed to the rural areas, as I do a lot of traveling for my job? If you could share with me the good and the bad of your MiFi experience, I would definitely appreciate it.
I got it to use when we travel and then as a backup at home if the cable goes out. On travel, I've used it in motels but also in our Van when we're on the road and it has worked fine for us and we virtually always use it in the wi fi mode rather than USB mode.
We originally had a UM175 and I had originally hoped that we could swap the MiFI with the UM175 when we wanted the advantage of an external antenna - which the MiFI has no connector for.
The physical form factor is awesome and I don't have to worry about it breaking off while plugged into the USB port like I did with the UM175.
We have simple Toshiba Vista laptops and both easily connect to the MiFi in wi-fi mode when the cable goes out but also in rooms where the wireless cable router does not reach.
I bought a separate wall charger for it so it stays connected 24/7.
It does not support an external antenna and in rural areas (when we travel) - the bandwidth is not the same as when we are in areas with more towers.
I have a Wilson antenna/amp combo and after some futzing around.. it appears to provide an improved signal - but be forewarned that a good signal strength is not the same thing as robust bandwidth. You can have a fine signal but if the tower you're connected to has heavy activity OR - for some reason it has limited capabilities either because of equipment or other issues.. your bandwidth may not be so good ( but these are issues you'd have with any cellular internet device - I think).
speedtest.net is a handy tool for determining how much bandwidth you have (or not)...
I have had nothing but positive experiences with the MIFI 2200 in the year since I got it.
Installed the VZW software on my G4 and dual G5 macs and a MacBook Pro (intel)... works well tethered or as a wireless router. Have only had to call tech support once to get the text messaging shut off for the device (they think it's a friggin' phone).
As a router, I often take it with me when I go out as the throughput is typically much higher than wifi access spots in coffee shops etc., and my iPhone friends can use it too.
The only downside is the 5G cap.
I bought it because we live in a rural area and had the worst dial-up connection possible with no DSL (thank you Verizon for such lousy land-line service) or cable available. Works great. Typically get 1-1.8 M throughput.
I have a Palm Pre Plus and I use the hotspot feature. It works really well except for 2 issues.
1) It destroys battery life. To use it without being plugged in should be in case of emergency only. You'll get maybe an hour from a fully charged battery on the Pre Plus.
What is the battery life of the MiFi? The website says 4 hours - is that true?
2) For some reason Apple devices like th iPod (3rd Gen) and iPad have rediculously slow performance. Using speedtest.net, it can be as slow as single digit kbits. It's bad. Using any other wireless device like a laptop, etc. works really well and getting 1.5mbits is easily attained.
Has anyone confirmed an apple device other than a macbook getting good performance with the MiFi devices?
Can you use the MiFi without installing the 'VZ Access Manager' software?
The only downside I see with the MiFi is there's no place to connect an external antenna. So it's pretty much useless in fringe areas. Other than that, I don't know. Usually if I need a mobile hotspot for any reason I just convert my laptop into one.