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Wireless Networking Communications Toys Hardware

A Real-World Test of the Verizon MiFi 118

Posted by kdawson
from the cool-things-in-small-packages dept.
uninet writes "Over the course of a few days last week, I was able to spend a good deal of time with Verizon's amazing little MiFi 3G router. It admirably performed its task of providing speedy Wi-Fi Internet to other devices via an EvDO Rev. A connection. Ironically, the device even improved the experience of using the iPhone, making it usable for surfing where its native network (AT&T) doesn't even connect."
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A Real-World Test of the Verizon MiFi

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  • by bzzfzz (1542813) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @06:09PM (#28188745)

    I'll probably go out and buy one before long. Despite the expense, the 5GB monthly cap, and the onerous contract terms, the only broadband choices where I live are EVDO and an older wireless system using Alvarion [alvarion.com] gear. I got my Alvarion setup five years ago and have been gladly paying $44 a month for, at best, 320kbps, using a rooftop parabolic antenna pointed at the nearest tower. I have a laptop with an EVDO setup but still have the Alvarion gear for other household members. I would love to get rid of it.

    Aside from people like me who can't get cable or DSL, devices like this work well for occasional users who are more concerned about convenience of installation than blazingly high speeds or the ability to download mountains of data. Clearwire [clearwire.com] has been selling similar services for quite some time.

  • Nothing new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @06:17PM (#28188837) Journal

    It's pretty cool given the size of the device, but bridging cellular and WiFi networks is nothing new. I'm sure it's been done long before; personally I recall doing this in 2006 while working at Cal-IT2 (a research institution at UCSD). I was with a group of engineers stuck in barracks at Moffett Field with no WiFi or TV. We did have a Soekris board running Debian, a Verizon PCMCIA broadband card, and PCMCIA WiFi card which worked with hostap; and we ended up with a WiFi access point serving cellular broadband.

    These days I can do the same thing using my Samsung Saga and ICScontrol to share connection over WiFi. Or I can tether to my phone to my laptop running Gentoo, place my laptop's WiFi card in ad-hoc mode.

  • by tthomas48 (180798) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @06:29PM (#28188979) Homepage

    Let's talk when this can be used for using the internet. Until the price/GB drops, this is pretty much useless.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @06:38PM (#28189047)

    I thought this would be awesome, just the device I need until I tried to get an answer out of Verizon about the international coverage. The guy on the phone didn't even know the Mifi (okay, it was a week before it was due for public release). I've now tried twice to get an email answer about international coverage.

    I'm a travel writer. I can't even seem to get anyone -- from any major carrier -- to intelligently talk about international coverage. If I'm going to be locked into a plan for 2 years, I damn well want to know if I'll be able to use it in Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Europe, and most of the US. But people just seem to turn into babbling idiots when this topic comes up. They answer "It works in our 3G network!" and you say "And does that work in Japan?" and there's a pause and then they try to explain what the 3G network is. I don't care what the 3G network IS. I just want to know if I'll be able to turn the thing on in Japan and have it work.

    I'm off topic. I should just Ask Slashdot. Perhaps I will. But if anyone out there travels a lot and can recommend a phone _and_ plan that's going to work in the maximum number of countries, and _has_ to work in all four mentioned above, I'd love to know. I don't even need a phone. I primarily need email access and a touch typeable keyboard. Hence the interest in the Mifi. But if it's going to turn into a useless piece of junk the moment I touch down in Japan...I guess I'll still just hunt for internet cafes.

  • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @06:47PM (#28189157) Homepage Journal

    If you're on the road a lot and can justify the extra cost of cellular access, yes, it's very cool. For everyone else, not so much.

    Uh, yeah. That's true for this kind of internet connection in general. That's not exactly news.

    This is one important difference: you can go on a plan where you only pay for access on the days you actually use it. That means you have to pay full price for the router, but it still would work for a lot of people who travel sporadically. Or an office where one person is often on the road, but not always the same person.

  • Re:Irony (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @06:56PM (#28189275) Homepage Journal

    Hmm. Getting a signal for one wireless network but not another may not be "ironic" but it's not exactly "incongruent" either. It's not like all networks use the same towers. I think the best we can do here is "interesting".

    Ironically, word usage is often incongruent. Isn't that interesting?

  • Which wired arm of T-Mobile would you want to integrate their wireless service with?

    And that's why I asked if there were potential anti-trust problems preventing such integration by Verizon, AT&T, etc. If they offered "internet anywhere" packages that bundled wired and wireless service, wireless providers without wired solutions could not compete on that playing field.
  • This is great... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by duplo1 (719988) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:28PM (#28190167)
    Now it can do what my Nokia N95 (or nearly any S60 device) has been doing for ages through Walkinghotspot [walkinghotspot.com]

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