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A Real-World Test of the Verizon MiFi

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the cool-things-in-small-packages dept.

Wireless Networking 118

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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118 comments

Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (4, Insightful)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188455)

I know, it's all wow-ee-wow-oo-oo, but I'm still not impressed. 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. I just can't pay for a home plan and a wireless plan or multiple wireless plans for myself and my family. It's a luxury I can't justify.

We've got phones that are palmtop computing devices, internet access devices, phones, cameras, video cameras, and music/video players all in one. Device makers are embracing the mantra of integration. Is it that the wired arms of the telcos can't vertically integrate home and wireless access into affordable bundles due to anti-trust concerns or is it that they currently see that keeping them separate maximizes profit because the market just isn't demanding "internet anywhere" convenience at a workable price point?

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28188557)

I know, it's all wow-ee-wow-oo-oo

I was having a seizure, you insensitive clod!

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28188591)

And judging from our experience with the internet, i.e. file stealing, that "workable price point" means everyone gets internet for "free".

Fucking file sharing faggots. Oooh, I wasn't sure if collecting 6TiB of dvdrip movies was "fair use" or not. Or my neighbour did it, hacking into my wireless because WEP isn't secure.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (5, Informative)

areusche (1297613) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188789)

On a side note, WMWifirouter has been able to do this on Windows Mobile smartphones for a while now. It's constantly being worked on and the speeds are definitely acceptable. The link for it http://www.wmwifirouter.com/ [wmwifirouter.com]

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (4, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189831)

Mod parent down.

He talks about an actively-developed, real-world, useful, cheap Windows Mobile application and doesn't shit on it.

This is not the slashdot way.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

ewolfr (209134) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190889)

http://global.wmwifirouter.com/features/ [wmwifirouter.com]

Here's a dumb question though...on the features page listed above the dev only talks about 64 and 128 bit WEP. For years everyone has said, "Don't use WEP!" Do anyone feel unsafe using this program on their Windows Mobile phone because it doesn't support WPA?

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28192021)

Very cool. One teeny tiny problem: using a cell phone this way without a special (very expensive) plan is probably against your terms of service. Don't know what the odds are of getting caught, but if you are caught, you'll get a bill itemizing every packet you sent this way. We're talking thousands of dollars.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

pacinpm (631330) | more than 4 years ago | (#28193545)

Isn't simplier and cheaper to just use your cellphone as a modem through Bluetooth?

Cost? Mobile broadband cheaper than ADSL here! (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194105)

WMWifirouter works great, I got over 2mbps constant throughput with multiple laptops connecting over 1 cellphone (that's faster than the cheapest ADSL here). And an unlimited mobile data plan is less than 10 euro in the Netherlands! Only one problem though: the battery drains fast. Even when charging with USB the battery still slowly leaks to 0 and the temperature of the phone goes up. Good thing the program comes with some thermal-overload-shutdown before your phone explodes while you're browsing the internet on a hot summer day... ;-)

For Symbian phones there is also JoikuSpot b.t.w.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194155)

Or if you have a Nokia, you can get Joiku (its freeware lite version is limited to http traffic only, and it takes at least 2 minutes to first start really working -- thought I have no idea why. And on the unlimited data plan of T-Mobile it will still be slow when you're browsing with it, but it's still a nice piece of freeware to have just in case you ever in need of a hot-spot). http://joiku.com/ [joiku.com]

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (3, Insightful)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188939)

The delay in integration is because spectrum and construction costs for wireless broadband are still high enough to allow it to compete economically with wired alternatives. Wireless broadband has been and still is a product for people more concerned with ubiquity and convenience than cost or bandwidth.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 4 years ago | (#28191451)

The delay in integration is because spectrum and construction costs for wireless broadband are still high enough to allow it to compete economically with wired alternatives. Wireless broadband has been and still is a product for people more concerned with ubiquity and convenience than cost or bandwidth.

This wireless broadband service in Hong Kong:( http://www.smartone-vodafone.com/jsp/mobile/home_broadband/english/faq.jsp [smartone-vodafone.com] )is US$19/month for unlimited usage, slightly cheaper than standard ADSL services, and higher (claimed) speed.

Once you've invested in the wireless network, I think the running costs are much lower than a wired network. The legacy copper wired network becomes a liability, not an asset.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

atamido (1020905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28192459)

No, wireless broadband depends heavily on not having too dense of a user population within a cell. For instance, try using a data connection in Disneyland with thousands of phones making little data connections constantly. It just won't happen. If everyone in the area started using the service, they'd be lucky to get dialup speeds, and there's not a darn thing they can do about it. It's all shared bandwidth, and there's only so much spectrum to go around (which is why spectrum is so expensive).

Wired doesn't have the same limitations. It can cost significantly more to put a wire in place, but once it is there you are limited to the bandwidth of the wire. If capacity in the area becomes an issue, you add some switches and wires at the central office, and you're good. Wired just has the upper hand on wireless for capacity.

Wireless is amazing with convenience, quick penetration into an area, and selling unused capacity is an easy way to bump up profits. Just don't make the mistake that it is the future for connecting all of the bandwidth hungry homes of the future.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189041)

Heck with that.. I can't justify a cell phone. I have one that work supplied. The only personal use is for the occasional pick up a gallon of milk call.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189157)

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:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189479)

The daily rate is even more absurdly expensive than the subscription.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189681)

Huh? $15? If I was on a business trip, I'd spend a lot more than that just avoid having to search for a hotspot every time I needed to go online.

Yeah, it's way too expensive if you just randomly need internet access. That's not the use case. Why do Slashdotters keep insisting that what they need is all that anybody needs?

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189749)

I do it because I am ridiculously self-centered.

I agree that there are lots of situations that would justify the cost, but the cost still trips my internal "out of line with what is remotely reasonable" switch. In my personal bubble, 5 Gigabyte monthly access should cost $10 (or maybe $15). The cap should also grow rather quickly, and there should probably be something built into the system that turns off (or turns down) the metering on towers that are lightly loaded.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189893)

My data plan is $20/month for unlimited usage.
I can tether my phone via USB and use it as a modem.

I wanted to upgrade my phone recently.
Surprise surprise, they don't offer my current data plan anymore. Seems to be $25 for 5 GB and $35 for unlimited (or something). And they mention shit like "get email from up to X email addresses". Really? You mean you're going to limit (or try to?) how many email addresses I can clap on my phone?
Or is this through your shitty email software/service (as opposed to the phone's innate ability to get POP/IMAP)? I don't need push email (nor do I trust your fucking cell network) - shit can wait 5 minutes if I'm not at my PC.

Basically: Fuck em. My phone works, does what I want, and I don't pay out the ass for it.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189915)

Self- or un-self-centeredness is beside the point. This isn't about your personal issues, it's about economisc. In a market economy, $15 for something is "reasonable" if that's the right price point for maximizing profit.

I agree that the way we pay for bandwidth in the U.S. is totally insane. But that's a systemic problem, not particularly connected to this one product.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190269)

Not considering that other people have different needs and so forth is pretty well related to being self-centered.

As far as reasonable in a market economy, I wish the market was working better (and note, the company offering this product isn't making any profit on me...). One way to make the market work better is to try to get people who don't care about the money they are spending to care more about the money they are spending. Pointing out that even though the value they are receiving in exchange for the money may exceed the value they place on the money the deal may still be crappy is one way to do this (i.e., they are letting more benefit than necessary accrue to the other side of the deal).

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189787)

Here in the UK, there are 3G PAYG tariffs from 2 GBP (~ $3.30 USD) per day (with no minimum charge per month). No idea if there's a pocket router available on any of these plans, but a cheap HSDPA USB stick modem is now cheaper to use (and obviously much more flexible) than many pay per day wifi hotspots.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189869)

I'm glad my sense of what it could cost (i.e., a good bit less than $15) isn't completely broken.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28193461)

That's per day though, not per month. If you're out and about a lot - but also a bit of a facebook/slashdot/whatever addict - then you'd likely be using this more than 5 days per month, so the monthly plan is much cheaper. You seriously think that unlimited internet anywhere every month is not worth the price of ONE decent lunch at a restaurant? I think it might be you that has the warped perspective on value here ;) Mobile data prices here in the UK are just about getting to the stage where I'd be prepared to pay for them. Helps too that I have a job these days - I definitely couldn't afford them when I was a student.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189449)

Which wired arm of T-Mobile would you want to integrate their wireless service with? I don't think DT is coming to America any time soon.

Just sayin'...

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (2, Interesting)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190159)

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.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28189565)

Cradlepoint is the BEST option for most people, especially the PHS300 (I love mine). I don't travel that often but use my LG Vu for the data connection. The external antenna helps too, especially for those of us with AT&T :( but hey, connecting my netbook, Nokia N810 and the host of other junk that I use on wifi, talk about the best value per dollar...

Not having an iPhone really saves me too, the extra $30 for an iPhone (for data) is available on my LG Vu, but I get to use tethering... nice little add-on.

Re:Sounds great... if you can justify the cost (1)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190913)

I use my Sprint wireless service as an "alternate" ISP while at work. I completely avoid the company routers, etc. Sure, I'm probably violating a policy or two, but whatever. I don't surf NSFW - generally - but I also don't care to give the company a say in where I go, or let them know where I've been.

These things are great - could almost say life savers - for field service reps sent out into the wild. Try downloading a NIC driver for a NIC that's not working, yet. With my laptop and wireless modem, no problem.

I've also used e-mail while driving across the state. Yeah, I at least slow down a little while typing... ;-)

$$ Cost $$ (1)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188497)

now whats worth more, having internet outside and where the At&T network is or carrying around a small wireless router that get signals from another company? just asking...

Irony (3, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188607)

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.

How exactly is that "ironic"?

Re:Irony (1)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188717)

It's not. The submitter just doesn't understand what the term irony means. Popular misconception seems to be that people think that irony means something that is incongruent.

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28188785)

Because the submitter thinks that it's irony that iphone was actually made usable, for once??

*Ducks*

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28188825)

It's not. The submitter just doesn't understand what the term irony means. Popular misconception seems to be that people think that irony means something that is incongruent.

Which, through the sheer democratic force of usage, it will eventually actually mean. Ironic, isn't it? Well, no. Not even by its future definition.

Re:Irony (1)

austinpoet (789122) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188977)

and the sound heard round the world as logic students' heads exploded was.....

similar to the sound of a silent dog fart.

Re:Irony (3, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189275)

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?

Re:Irony (1)

superswede (729509) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189385)

Irony is not about reciprocity. If person A does thing X, and somehow it comes back and bites them in the ass, that is not ironic". Instead, "Irony is the use of words in a way to conceal true intention with literal intention. More clearly, irony is when you say one thing but mean another." [not the thing you are describing].

Source: http://www.sc.tri-bit.com/Irony [tri-bit.com]

Re:Irony (4, Informative)

uninet (413687) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190605)

Note the Oxford English Dictionary on ironic: "happening in the opposite way to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this." That a Verizon device makes an iPhone more usable than AT&T's own network is precisely that.

Re:Irony (1)

boilednut (1245008) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190781)

Note the Oxford English Dictionary on ironic: "happening in the opposite way to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this."

Although perhaps not quite as pleasing to anglophiles, Merriam-Webster also supports this sense for irony [merriam-webster.com]:

3 a (1): incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2): an event or result marked by such incongruity

Mea Culpa on Re:Irony (3, Informative)

uninet (413687) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190869)

I mean to say Oxford American English Dictionary. The grand OED itself says:

2. fig. A condition of affairs or events of a character opposite to what was, or might naturally be, expected; a contradictory outcome of events as if in mockery of the promise and fitness of things. (In F. ironie du sort.)

It goes on to note this usage has been around since at least the 17th century.

Re:Mea Culpa on Re:Irony (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194995)

I mean to say Oxford American English Dictionary. The grand OED itself says:

2. fig. A condition of affairs or events of a character opposite to what was, or might naturally be, expected; a contradictory outcome of events as if in mockery of the promise and fitness of things. (In F. ironie du sort.)

It goes on to note this usage has been around since at least the 17th century.

If it's been around that long, it's probably not irony any more. I bet it's nothing more than rustic by now.

/me ducks and runs

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28188913)

Duh, the device is made out of case iron. Making any experience with it Iron-ic.

Re:Irony (1)

Ignatius D'Lusional (1010911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190281)

Obviously, you're losing touch with popular culture. "Irony" applies to anything that is NOT ironic. See: Alanis Morisette.

Just like the word "literally" has come to mean "figuratively".

It's a world gone mad, I tell you!

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28193295)

The definition of irony is now so broad that it is difficult to use it incorrectly. It's ironic.

Load tests? (5, Informative)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188647)

I have a treo which does 3g on AT&T's (first cingular's) network. I would use the mobile test from dslreports.com on my treo to check my speed from various locations, just to play with my new toy. I got a pretty good feel for how fast it would go at my workplace, at my favorite lunch spots, etc and in different kinds of weather. The iphone came out and i saw a 25% drop in speed, the iphone 3g came out and i saw another 25% drop in speed. It seems like on most networks, if you want to get your advertised speeds, get away from where everybody is using it and attach to a cell tower without too many people attached. While these mifi tests may test the theoretical-realistic speeds (data transfer speeds in real world situations), if this catches on, users will experience realistic-realistic speeds (data transfer speeds in real world with real world congestion).

Standard disclaimer may apply, a single user's empirical tests do not cover even a fraction of a percent of the real world. Please feel free to post your anecdotes which prove or disprove my anecdote.

Re:Load tests? (1)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188797)

On the other hand, carriers can (in most cases) reduce congestion by splitting cells when the traffic justifies it, just as they do with voice traffic.

It's dishonesty, pure dishonesty. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28191083)

Carriers don't buy enough equipment. They advertise speeds that they know they cannot deliver.

Re:Load tests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28191513)

Exactly why CDMA is so great. Longer device to tower distance. Great for uncrowded rural locations. GPRS may have higher theoretical speeds, but it works best in an urban area, where there are going to be more users per cell, and you have a fewer number of cells you can reach due to reduced distance. That is why I often see much much higher actual speed with CDMA. Of course, my comment has absolutely no relevance to yours depending on where you plan on using your service.

Re:Load tests? (1)

atamido (1020905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28192507)

No, this is all true. There is only so much spectrum to be used in a wireless cell. Go to someplace like Disneyland and the data portion of your cell phone will be entirely useless. Newer wireless technologies are working on more efficient ways of transferring large amounts of data, but I don't see any way they can keep up with the rate that data usage is increasing at.

For those who can't get cable or DSL (3, Interesting)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:For those who can't get cable or DSL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28193783)

When I used Clearwire, they blocked my Skype and bittorrent connections. I can not find it in my heart to recommend their service to other people.

OH MAN! (5, Insightful)

areusche (1297613) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188749)

Think of all the funny man-in-the-middle pranks you can play on desperate business travelers in airports with "free public wifi"!

Re:OH MAN! (1)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188853)

Um, let's see, you suggest perpetrating MITM fraud using a service that requires a 1 year subscription and a credit check in an area where "free public wifi" is already available for you to use as a backhaul?

Oh, I get it. The embedded platform of the MiFi router is easier to write MITM exploits for than your laptop.

Re:OH MAN! (1)

austinpoet (789122) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189019)

free public wifi available in an airport? in 2009?

do you actually fly?

hell, it's rare to see free wifi in a hotel...

Re:OH MAN! (1)

Buscador (1057444) | more than 4 years ago | (#28191579)

On my most recent trip, I found free wi-fi in the only two airports where I checked for it--San Diego and Phnom Penh.

Re:OH MAN! (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#28193535)

What are you talking about? Every hotel I stayed at on my trip up and down the west coast and then out from CA to TN and back had free internet wifi AND ethernet jacks in lamps in the tables, and they're all different companies!

Mmm milfs (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28188783)

Verizon's amazing MILF what?

Got one. Love it. (4, Informative)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188815)

It does exactly what it's supposed to, it's tiny, fast, and very simple to administer. It's a shame that 5GB/month costs what it costs, but if you can put out one serious server fire or interact with a customer in a way that saves a deal, it's worth every bit of what it costs.

I bought one on a Friday night, and it paid for itself and earned its monthly keep before lunchtime on Saturday.

Interestingly, it seems to be far more sensitive to Verizon's local RF signals than my phone is. Which is nice.

Re:Got one. Love it. (1)

Emphron (658969) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189471)

I agree. I'll get one when they launch in Australia. I guess the reason these 3G plans are so expensive is that business travellers are prepared to pay this much to stay in connected. If you do most of your work in the office, or at home then why bother. But if you travel for work, and can't afford to be out of connection, it is a pretty useful device. Here in Australia, 3G performance is pretty slow and unpredictable. I get pretty cranky about it, but there isn't a viable alternative.

Re:Got one. Love it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28190571)

For the same monthly cost and $100 more up front, you can get a netbook that, unless I'm mistaken, can do everything this little thing can and more...it should be possible to setup an ad-hoc wireless network and share the internet connection with other devices.

Beyond the $100 difference in initial price, what advantages does this thing have over the netbook? It would seem to me that the netbook is more convenient to bring with you wherever you go than both this device and a laptop to hook it up to and for those times that you do have your normal notebook too, it can work just like this thing does.

Re:Got one. Love it. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194951)

Beyond the $100 difference in initial price, what advantages does this thing have over the netbook?

I have no interest in using a netbook most of the time. I can grab my wife's if I need it, but would usually rather use a beefier machine. And of course, MUCH better battery life running this little WiFi bubble for those other devices, since we're not running a whole computer, with display and storage, just to bridge 3G to WiFi.

Nothing new (3, Interesting)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188837)

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.

Re:Nothing new (3, Insightful)

darjen (879890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190651)

It's the size and convenience. None of your mentioned solutions offer anything close to the MiFi form factor. Try fitting your Soekris board in your pocket.

Re:Nothing new (1)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 4 years ago | (#28191805)

Actually you're mistaken. The program I referred to, ICScontrol, runs on my Samsung Saga. My Saga is about the size of the MiFi (if not smaller). Also if I'm going to use the MiFi, I'm going to have a computer with me anyway (otherwise there's no point). So both solutions (running the Internet sharing app directly on my phone or tethering then sharing via Ad-Hoc) both apply.

Another Option: Kyocera KR-2 (2, Informative)

Bodero (136806) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188889)

Your other option instead of waiting for a Mi-Fi, or if you want the portability of a USB cellular modem, is the Kyocera KR-2 [kyocera-wireless.com] Mobile Router. I use this with Verizon and it has the added benefit of being network-neutral, and also allowing for using another (faster) network and reverting to the cellular connection as a backup. The downside? Not as portable.

Call me when the price drops. (4, Interesting)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#28188979)

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

Re:Call me when the price drops. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28189227)

A lot of people like you probably wouldn't be happy unless it was free, unlimited and magically faster than the speed of light.

Re:Call me when the price drops. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189777)

Yeah, with averaging only 160MB a day, seven days a week, there's just no way you could run some RDP sessions, check your mail, do some business, upload some JPGs to Grandma, read the news, and call it an hour's work until you get back to a WiFi hotspot of your home/office broadband. Yes, just plain useless. None of that is "using the internet," huh.

Re:Call me when the price drops. (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195493)

No, that was the Internet 5 years ago. Now I need to be able to watch streaming videos and and do all those things. Devices like the iPhone have shown that people aren't interested in using the mobile internet for 1 hour/day while on a bus. They want to use it all the time, everywhere they are. I don't want there to be a distinction between "crappy internet on the go" and "home/office internet". I want everything everywhere. That's the world we're moving into, and I'm not interested in settling.

I don't understand why you guys are so interested in settling. "Guess this is the best Internet we can get. Well I guess I'll fork over lots of cash. Are they sure they couldn't get the price a little higher?"

I won't be happy until I keep getting more service for less money, not less service for more money. The former is how the market is supposed to work. The latter might happen for a short time with a new service, but as people use it the price should go down. Something that doesn't seem to happen currently.

I'm honestly not saying that I couldn't be happy with 160MB/day, today. But I'm happy with crummy cell phone network speeds today. We're getting richer and richer hand held devices, and more and more interesting music and video services over the net. The "new" services can't be a little bit better with a huge price tag. To keep the economy humming and innovation we need huge advances with the same price tag.

Anyone know its international coverage? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Anyone know its international coverage? (2, Informative)

Manacit (1519711) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189265)

According to T-Mobile's site, You'll be able to use your phone in Japan, South Korea and Mexico just fine, T-Mobile has a presence in Europe, so it'll work fine there too. It'll cost you an arm and a leg++ to do anything, but it will work. Check http://www.t-mobile.com/International/RoamingOverview.aspx?tp=Inl_Tab_RoamWorldwide&WT.mc_n=ILDCoverage&WT.mc_t=onsite [t-mobile.com] to see the prices of any country you want. As for the phone, T-Mobile happens to sell the G1, which has many excellent programs for email access, and a very find physical keyboard. You can even use it as a wifi router with http://code.google.com/p/android-wifi-tether/ [google.com] if you choose to check email or type on a laptop.

Re:Anyone know its international coverage? (2, Informative)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#28189539)

Apparently pre-paid data SIMs in Europe don't really exist. They bill you up to $31/MB in equivalent charges, which empties your pre-paid pretty quick. Not to mention crossing borders and finding out your pre-paid is all of a sudden 'foreign' and charging you for incoming calls. Darn.

Damn, but it figures. Even the Europeans see data as a cash cow. And they are so right. Plan on using hotel WiFi and putting up with marginal service and no VOIP.

Re:Anyone know its international coverage? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 4 years ago | (#28192879)

I thought a quad-band phone would work in pretty much any country (with a functioning GSM and/or 3G network, of course), and that it was more of a question of unbelievably high roaming charges. I dunno about Japan, but Europe is no problem. Most Southeast-Asian countries have perfectly normal GSM networks too.

Nevermind.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28189135)

I was just about to pull the trigger on ordering one to replace my company supplied Verizon usb dongle, until I found out it cost $399 without contract (since the dongle and contract is company owned, I can't go messing with it).

Stupid carriers mark up the prices and then subsidize them at the price they should be at un-subsidized. The hell this thing cost $400 to make/market/support.

ARGH!

Isn't this what bluetooth was supposed to handle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28189977)

Didn't Verizon cripple its bluetooth phones by disabling certain data communications?
You should be able to share the internet with your laptop through bluetooth.
I stress SHOULD...
This should have been available years ago using hardware that already existed. They just couldn't figure out how to bill people for it.

Re:Isn't this what bluetooth was supposed to handl (1)

RAVasquez (318309) | more than 4 years ago | (#28191603)

The Dial-Up Networking profile on most current VZW phones is enabled, so in theory you should be able to set up a connection through Bluetooth. This isn't officially supported, though, which means you're on your own setting it up. There's a BT profile compatibility chart at http://www.verizonwireless.com/bluetooth [verizonwireless.com].

Re:Isn't this what bluetooth was supposed to handl (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195447)

AFAIK, that only lets you use dial-up - I have a Verizon phone with no data plan, and on the few occasions I need to get to the network & have no WiFi access, I use it. I get 14.4kbps, so it's pretty painful, but it does work. Tethering to the 3G network is a whole different deal, and they're going to charge you for it.

Have this as well - it is an outstanding product (5, Informative)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190095)

As others point out, it isn't a revolution in communication. It is, however, a very elegant implementation of a useful service at a price that is (for my needs) reasonable.

I've been using it a week or two now, here's what my take:

Summary: It does what it says it does, in the way it promises, without the slightest hassle. For electronics, that's a hell of an endorsement.

The GOOD:

1. Size - it's damn easy to carry It really is as small as the ads make it look.
2. Replaceable Battery - I have a spare right with it (spare was just under $40)
3. Runs on USB charger, laptop USB, or Battery
4. Good - maybe not amazing - battery life (2-3 hours in reality)
5. Micro-usb connector is compatible with my phone charger so I carry fewer blocks
6. Performance -> It out performs the EVDO Rev A. Mini-PCI card that I had in my laptop.
7. Reception -> Better than my best cell phone ---- Also, in poor reception areas like some hotel rooms, I can put it over by the window where the signal is good, and use the network anywhere in the room!
8. Ubiquity -> I don't have to pick what device I bring with me based on my connectivity needs.
9. Multi-Device support -> Laptop, Hand-held game, netbook, kid's laptop in the car, etc.
10. No need to use the crappy Verizon connection software on the laptop (or worse, Dell's bastard stepchild version)

Less Good / Room to Improve

1. It needs a signal level indicator on the outside surface. To check signal, you have to hit the router's config page with a browser.
2. The data sheet on this says it has a connector for an external antenna. I have yet to see such a thing. Maybe it is hiding.
3. It seems to be powered up any time you plug it in to charge. No way to charge with the wifi part off (you can tell it not to connect to the cell network)

Overall, I'm really impressed with this thing.

Sure, I could run a linux vm on my laptop and share the internal card over the wireless; I could get a router that's compatible with another evdo card, or some other solution -- but this just works and works well.

As far as the cost: If you travel on business and end up paying for hotel wifi, this quickly pays for itself. Better yet, is the ability to pop open the laptop or handheld pretty much ANYWHERE and pretty much ANYTIME and get connected. Airport baggage claim, taxi cab, doctor's waiting room, and most important at the park waiting for one of my kids to finish soccer practice. You could just find an open wifi, but I like knowing what I'm connected to.

microusb vs miniusb (1)

namalc (66960) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190775)

Regarding the microusb connector, my experience is the opposite. The MiFi is the first device I've had using this connector. In comparison, my phone, my cameras, my GPS's, etc all use the miniusb connector. I must have two dozen of these cables lying around. Meanwhile, I now have to remember to pack the "special" microusb cable for the Mifi.

(And, size-wise, I don't see any reason why they couldn't have used miniusb instead of microusb)

Re:microusb vs miniusb (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 4 years ago | (#28191039)

As it happened, I bought the MIFI at the same time I gritted my teeth and dove in headfirst on the BB Storm (which it turns out, I actually like -- though I can see where others may not). Both use the new Micro-USB connectors, and I'd purchased a car charger and second home charger for the phone (I keep one in my briefcase for travel). Now, between the two devices I have cables and plus wherever I need them. Synergy working for me for a change.

Re:Have this as well - it is an outstanding produc (1)

cshuttle (613776) | more than 4 years ago | (#28194725)

10. No need to use the crappy Verizon connection software on the laptop (or worse, Dell's bastard stepchild version)

Less Good / Room to Improve

As far as the VZ software goes, I learned from a board a long while ago that you can setup a dial up connection (dialing *777) through the WWAN modem, and it will connect over a standard DUN. Thankfully, I was able to do this and avoid installing the VZ/Smith Micro abomination they have.

This is great... (3, Interesting)

duplo1 (719988) | more than 4 years ago | (#28190167)

Now it can do what my Nokia N95 (or nearly any S60 device) has been doing for ages through Walkinghotspot [walkinghotspot.com]

Re:This is great... (1)

thammoud (193905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28191167)

Your solution involves tethering which might be illegal with a wireless provider. Not the same.

Re:This is great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28191591)

Data traffic is data traffic. If you're drinking the carrier's Kool-Aid, then you separate it out and call it "tethering."

Re:This is great... (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 4 years ago | (#28191769)

While it may thought of like a breach of contract, I don't think your use of "illegal" is correct in this case.

Immobile phone in HK (2, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 4 years ago | (#28191417)

A similar service in Hong Kong: Vodafone's home broadband [smartone-vodafone.com], which uses a router that connects to the HSPA 3G network, combining a 4 port ethernet router, Wifi, an IP phone line. It's specifically NOT mobile, locked to a particular cell, but on paper seems good deal. HK$148/month for unlimited usage (about US$19), supposedly 7 MB/s. Just been introduced so no idea how it actually performs.

For a family on the go w/ a bunch of ipod touches, (1)

jeremie (257) | more than 4 years ago | (#28191839)

This thing is amazing, as long as the kids don't start watching youtube :)

I can't believe it's cheaper in Argentina! (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#28191909)

I live in Argentina. We have a pretty good 3G network, provided by 3 companies (Movistar, owned by Telefonica, Claro, owned by TelMEX and Personal, owned by Telecom). I have a small huawei 3G device, it's GNU/Linux and Mac OS friendly, and I only pay $31 (31 US Dollars) a month for unlimited access. It works almost everywhere. I travel a lot, and I even get signal on small towns, and even on the road (I have signal over the 400 km from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata). Speeds vary, but it's more than usabe (On my last trip I downloaded a Linux kernel 2.6.30-rc5 at a constant 60 kb/s while going 140 km/h).

Also, the unlimited access is REALLY unlimited, I keep my torrents open 24 hours a day, on the go.
On the few spots I don't get 3G, it switches automatically to GPRS, which, while slower, is good enough for SSH access, and I don't pay a single extra cent for using it.

I have virtually forgot about 802.11

iPhone = Non Verizon GSM device? (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | more than 4 years ago | (#28192305)

It is amusing that most people find it's acceptable to replace "Non Verizon GSM device with Wi-Fi capability" with "iPhone" ?

Can we get rid of the term Wi-Fi, please? (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#28195131)

The term wi-fi is a hijack of Hi-Fi. The Fi in Hi-Fi is meaningful, in Wi-Fi it's meaningless. It's just an attempt to steal recognition and to be cutesy. Calling it wireless is plenty informative. Have you seen the commercial for HD sunglasses? They go on and on about being "high definition" to borrow the name recognition of HDTV.

Off my lawn.

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